The 70th Santa Clara County Fair gets underway Thursday, so let's get the usual gripes out of the way: No, it's not the county fair many of us remember from our youths; and no, it doesn't attract the crowds, entertainment or spectacle of other summer fairs in San Mateo and Alameda counties.
Now let's talk about why you might want to get past that and spend some time at the Fairgrounds on Tully Road sometime during the four-day run.
There's plenty of music to be heard, with the Greg Kihn Band as the big headliner Saturday night, country duo Meghan Linsey and Tyler Cain onstage Friday night, and Santana tribute band Caravanserai playing Sunday night. Local bands, like the Cocktail Monkeys and the Houserockers, will be entertaining during the day, and mariachis will be strolling the grounds Sunday afternoon, starting at 4 p.m.
The fair's still in touch with the valley's agricultural roots. There are farm animals in the Expo Hall, smaller animals in the Fiesta Hall and a livestock auction Sunday morning. There are kids shows, bird shows, carnival rides, square dancing, hypnotists, a robotics exhibit and all that guilty-pleasure fair food. With a separate admission ticket, you can even enjoy wine tasting or watch a demolition derby.
That's a lot of entertainment for an event that just a few years ago seemed unlikely to make it to 70. You can see the whole schedule as well as buy discount tickets in advance at www.thefair.org.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S PIZZA: San Jose Youth Shakespeare will be getting a 10 percent cut of Wednesday's sales at Patxi's Pizza in Campbell, which is part of the pizza company's "52 Weeks of Giving" campaign.
And rather than using parchment and quill, the theater company has been getting out the word in a more 21st century way thanks to Bianca Romero, a 14-year-old currently in rehearsal for next month's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," who's been drumming up interest on Facebook.
Their show at the Historic Hoover Theatre in San Jose runs Aug. 13-17, and you can get more info on it at www.youthshakes.org.
SILVER RALLY: With the 49th anniversary of Medicare on Wednesday, dozens of members and supporters of the California Alliance of Retired Americans are planning a rally at the federal building in downtown San Jose at noon that day. Their goal is to urge the public to protect and improve Medicare coverage, and they're encouraging any community members who share their concerns to join them.