Sometimes, the best things in life are the simple things.
In Lassen County, one of these simple pleasures is the annual Children's Fair. Held at the fairgrounds in Susanville, it holds forth on the first Saturday in May, attracting more than 10,000 people to play simple, inexpensive games, feast on dollar hamburgers and 50 cent cotton candy, and to mingle with their friends.
For the entire history of penny carnival-style event, the BLM has participated. In recent years, the Eagle Lake Field Office has offered a game where children toss Velcro sponge balls at a prize board. They take home wildlife posters, Smoky Bear souvenirs and resource conservation activity books as prizes. Everybody takes home a prize from the BLM booth!
Below, a big attraction to the BLM booth is a wild horse or burro from the Litchfield Corrals. This year, the featured animal was an adopted burro. Depot, a 6- year-old from a wild herd near Susanville, is the adopted pet of Wild Horse and Burro program staff member Videll Retterath and her family. He was curious and well behaved for the young visitors and their families.
Each year the fair's entertainment stages feature students from local music, dance and arts programs. There are bounce houses, obstacle courses and boy scout-built rope bridges to cross. The local utility company offers free rides in their towering bucket trucks, while local emergency service agencies, including BLM Fire, display fire engines, police cruisers and helicopters.
The Children's Fair was launched in 1986 by the Lassen County Office of Education as a way to encourage families to spend time together without having to worry about expenses. Community businesses, government agencies and civic organizations have been hugely supportive. They offer fee or low priced games, activities and refreshments, and have the opportunity to share information about their programs and services.
A gallery of images from this year's event is online at http://www.susanvillestuff.com/ .
- J. Fontana, 5/7/07
BLM California News.bytes, issue 280