With hands gripped to the wheels of karts capable of cresting 45 miles per hour, up to 12 racers hum around the hairpin turns and straightaways of K1 Speed's indoor track during adrenaline-spiking sprints toward the podium. This brand of excitement can be found at all 15 locations, where racers eschew the fumes and inflammatory skywriting of gas kart exhaust for European, eco-friendly electric karts designed to instantly accelerate out of curves, which are bordered by safety barriers that absorb impacts. To keep everyone in the chase, dialed-down junior karts (available at select locations) safely carry tiny drivers between the height of 48" and 58".
Though many things have changed during the L.A. County Fair’s 90 years, the one constant has been the large crowds it attracts with the classic sights and sounds of an outdoor carnival. Lights race past as carnival rides fly overhead, and riffs from battling bands carry through the air. Stingray Island, a new attraction in 2012, brings fair-goers face to fin with octopuses, schools of shrimp, and stingrays swimming inside a 17,000-gallon salt-water tank. Inside FairView Farms, fair-goers can see firsthand what it takes to work a farm by watching live workers tend to pastures and baby animals at the nursery. In 2011, more than 1,490,000 people explored the fairgrounds, making it the second-highest attendance year recorded outside of 1991, when everyone showed up with their stunt double.
Scandia Amusement Park adds a Nordic theme to classic amusement-park rides. Towering over the park, the signature Scandia Screamer Coaster sends riders through more high-speed drops, twists, and turns than that time they tried to cartwheel down the stairs. Shrieks of excitement echo at Cliff Jumper, a 100-foot-drop tower, and the Viking Ship, which swings like a giant pendulum through the air. A kiddie section treats young visitors to less-intense rides, including a carousel and the aptly named Little Dipper Coaster.
Back on the ground, more than 12,000 vibrant flowers line two Scandavian-themed putt-putt courses. Waterfalls and trickling streams calm players as they putt golf balls through challenging obstacles such as a stone castle. The competition continues at batting cages, which hurl baseballs and scoops of ice cream at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. Aside from these everyday attractions, Scandia Amusement Park lures in visitors with birthday-party packages and a seasonal haunted house.
The annual Golf, Wine & Dine Expo enlivens golfing demos and seminars with samples from local restaurants, breweries, and wineries. Attendees can wrap their hands around golfing equipment developed by companies such as Adams, Nike, and Cobra or grasp a craft beer from 1 of the 10 booths sponsored by Budweiser. On seminar stages, speakers dispense pro advice and demonstrate advanced equipment, such as portable wormholes that transport opponents' holes in one to a patch of rough 10 years in the year 2045.
The expo's programming aims at inclusion, with a ladies' golf program targeted at women and kids' clinics to inspire tykes. A prize raffle benefits the Southern California PGA Foundation, which encourages children of all backgrounds to pursue athleticism through golf.
At Fast Lap, the shouts of competitive camaraderie drift above buzzing gas-powered engines as riders whiz through traffic and maneuver around a track designed by former racers of the International Kart Federation and driven on by the likes of Kyle Busch and Ricky Carmichael. Pedals scoot toward metal during trips around the 1,200-foot-long, 20-foot-wide speedway, and knuckles whiten in the cockpit of a Honda-powered go-kart that reaches speeds up to 50 miles per hour. For the uninitiated, Fast Lap hosts classes that teach riders how to hug turns and get a second date afterward.
Taste of the Pomona Valley brings together neighboring vendors to celebrate local cuisine, culture, and music. Toothpicks protrude from the tasty creations of area chefs, whose conglomeration of Italian, Mexican, and Peruvian dishes match with spirituous pours from a cash bar. A DJ presides over the occasion, matching nibbles to a pleasant beat, while event staffers raffle off prizes to lucky attendees. The community-oriented event allots a portion of its proceeds to benefit the Pomona Chamber of Commerce’s scholarship program.