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Monday, February 21, 2011

Sweet fun at Cloverdale's Citrus Fair
CRISTA JEREMIASON / The Press Democrat Lyndy Smith, 11, left, Jalynn Smith, 8, and Ellene Vasquez, 9, of Cloverdale ride the Super Slide during the Cloverdale Citrus Fair on Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011.
By SAM SCOTT,THE PRESS DEMOCRAT, Santa Rosa, CA
Sunday, February 20, 2011
At the Cloverdale Citrus Fair, victory tastes all the sweeter for just how hard it is to attain.
The Cloverdale Lion's Club took first in the fair’s much sought-after citrus exhibit contest for creating a Mel’s Drive-in, complete with a carhop in roller skates, a top-chopped Chevy pickup and, of course, 1,041 oranges, 63 lemons and 89 limes. It probably took 1,000 man-hours to complete, organizers said.
“It’s a thrill to hear you’ve won,” said Lion’s member George “Tex” Dickens, who said design on the project began back in October. “It’s very competitive.”
There are plenty of other attractions at the 119th annual Citrus Fair, which started Friday and continues through Monday with free admission for children 12 and under. Like most fairs, the schedule includes dogs shows, live stocks contests and plenty of rides.
For many locals, however, the biggest draw is each other. As of Saturday, the event had brought in about 7,000 guests, on pace to reach the 15,000 attendees that organizers said they expected by Monday’s conclusion.
That’s just a fraction of the turnout bigger events, such as the Sonoma County Fair, attract, but the Citrus Fair’s size adds to its coziness. Dickens, for one, had a hard time walking five feet without hearing his name called, a consequence of having been to every fair since 1960.
But Doris Michalek can beat that streak. The Geyserville resident has been attending for 54 straight years. She once bought her own children, now she has great-grandchildren who go.
On Sunday, Michalek, daughter-in-law Linda Amann and granddaughter Charity Koch were all dressed up in poodle-skirts ready for the sock hop.
“We going to the dance, we’ve got to find dates,” joked Amann, sporting a pink pair of Peggy Sue glasses, apt for the fair’s “Rockin’ with the 50s” theme.
Despite the other attractions, the fair’s citrus exhibits remain the most unique aspect of the fair and the most curious considering Cloverdale is an area better known for vineyards than orange orchards.
Back in the late 19th century, however, Cloverdale seemed on the verge of a bright future as the Orange Belt of Sonoma County, which the fair was designed to promote.
A couple of killer frosts squelched that dream, although not the Citrus Fair or the drive to make the best citric exhibit possible
The Lion’s Club may have taken top honors this year, but plenty of people were impressed by effort of the Kiwanis Club of Cloverdale, which used 1,650 oranges, 100 limes and a range of food, including black beans, bread sticks and licorice, for an exhibit featuring a Baldwin junior grand piano and a giant Gibson guitar.
“It’s got more oranges, and I think it’s very creative,” said Clay Skelton, a retired builder and photographer who would have given first place to the Kiwanis.
read more at:http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20110220/NEWS/110229974?Title=Sweet-fun-at-Cloverdale-s-Citrus-Fair

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