Valley News -

By Joe Naiman

SD County Fair promotions this year include exercise benefits


Last updated 6/28/2018 at 4:08pm

Last year I wrote a column noting that the San Diego County Fair offered enjoyment and education benefits to those who live in southern Riverside County as well as those who live in San Diego County. I did have some discomfort as a result of the fair last year, and this year the fair itself has addressed that - not to mitigate it but to promote the exercise benefit which caused my soreness after my final fair visits.

A few years ago, after I had tracked down the sisters who raised the champion rabbits, I said that if I can plagiarize from Bismarck anyone who likes rabbit stew or newspaper articles shouldn't watch either one being made.

The junior livestock barns are approximately half a mile from the gems, minerals and jewelry exhibition. The 4-H or Future Farmers of America member might not be at his or her livestock pen, so a few trips to the livestock barn from other exhibits were necessary last year. My stories on competitive exhibits include finding the winners from our coverage area, which means walking within the exhibit to find the gemstones, artwork, photos and other entries.

As I was working on my stories the days following my final three fair visits last year, I figured I had been putting in 11-hour days at the fair with about five hours standing or sitting. That means six hours of walking, which would equate to between 15 and 20 miles.

My stories also include performance in previous years for top competitive exhibit winners or livestock grand champions. People who don't have home offices have threatened to turn me into the television show “Hoarders,” but I have files with past winners lists and with past livestock auction catalogs including animal weight.

Those files are in boxes, and if the box for a specific year isn't on the top of the stack of boxes the boxes on top are placed temporarily on the floor so I can access the proper file. I was not just walking from my computer to my files but also stepping over boxes, so the day after my 15-20 mile walks I was rather sore.

This year the fair, in conjunction with the county's Health and Human Services Agency and the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, initiated the 10K Step Challenge. Three routes designated by color add up to approximately 10,000 steps and 4.75 miles. The 0.75-mile Green Route takes an estimated 15 to 25 minutes and 1,400 to 1,600 steps. The 1.5-mile Blue Route accounts for 2,000 to 3,200 steps over an estimated 30 to 40 minutes. The Orange Route is 2.5 miles with a time estimate of 50 to 60 minutes for 5,100 to 5,300 steps. Markers on the ground note portions of the routes.

None of those routes go into the Fun Zone or Kids Zone ride areas. They go around the exhibit buildings and barns but not in those buildings. The actual walking will likely exceed the mileage and step total for the route. In addition to the markings, the 10K Step Challenge also has a map with the reminders to grab a snack, drink water and use sunscreen. The exhibit buildings have drinking fountains, which will allow for water if one chooses not to add the carrying of a bottle to the exercise routine, but which will add even more steps to the walk.

The fairgrounds area of approximately 340 acres includes the parking lot areas. The walk from the parking lot to the fair entrance adds to the step and mileage totals regardless of whether one pays to park in the main parking lot or utilizes free parking and the free shuttle bus from Mira Costa College in Oceanside or from the horse park on the other side of Interstate 5. The walk from the shuttle stops to the fair entrance is less than the likely walk from the fair parking lot, but the walk from the shuttle stop parking to the bus is added. Some of the shuttles from the horse park are double-decker buses, so going up and down stairs could augment the walking.

Complementing the 10K Step Challenge with enjoyment of the exhibits will result in walking several miles during the day at the fair. That could cause soreness afterward even if the entire distance is shorter than my total. But it's a chance to add exercise to the fair's enjoyment and education benefits.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected]


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