Fair displays 'reel' science secrets

Campus Times
September 20, 2002

photo by Christian Velazco

The Los Angeles County Fair, opened Sept. 13 and will run until Sept. 29. The Topspin ride is just one of the many attractions at the Fair. Others include bumper cars, ferris wheels and a petting zoo. Tickets for the concerts are available from TicketMaster for $12.50 to $17.50. All concerts also require Fair admission.

by Jaclyn Roco
LV Life Editor

Within the expansive fairgrounds is a building that stands apart from the rest. Underneath an overly large sign that read "Lights! Camera Science!" was a wall strewn with posters depicting movie trailers from yesteryears to the present. As if one of the characters had actually come to life, a smiling, Marilyn Monroe waved to an astonished crowd.

"Who would have thought," whispered an elderly woman to her friend.

After passing by the celebrities (some of whom included actual guest stars from "Addams Family" and "The Munsters") the dazed audience was transported back to the golden Hollywood years. Zoetropes spun around and around, representing some of the first movie- making attempts made.

In another room, old movie cameras, some as big as laundry machines, were gazed upon with awe while elderly people whispered between themselves, "Remember that movie? Ah, those were the days."

Hands-on activity booths allowed guests to participate in the movie making process. Fair-goers was able to make the sound effects, known as "Foley" for last year's Disney release, "Dinosaur." The sound of the dinosaur's footsteps in the computer-animated movie was achieved by pawing a baseball glove through a box of rocks.

Rounding another corner, the audience faced an opportunity to be a part of an actual movie scene. After being chased by a dinosaur depicted on a blue screen, the audience was taken away from the future and again was placed into the movie magic of props belonging to classics like "The Egyptian."

As if all this wasn't enough, the guests were drawn into the complex world of science and its relation to the movies. Within a room haunted by pictures of Frankenstein, kids were seen attempting to make a light bulb turn on with the aid of a power-generating bicycle.

Two Smithsonian exhibits completed the overwhelming tour. After a brief introduction into the world of bats, the audience was finally taken into the "Theater of Flight." Airplane models and flight stories of women were placed collectively on the walls.

As the main attraction at the L.A. County Fair this year, it is of no surprise that "Lights! Camera! Science!" was one of the larger exhibits available.

Terry Birdsall, communications writer for the public relations department at the Fair and a University of La Verne student, said the exhibit was organized carefully. "Every year (the Fair) choose(s) a theme," Birdsall said. "This year the theme was on movies and how it relates to science."

The large amount of guests for this particular exhibit was expected, Birdsall said.

"It's successful because it has a lot of variety. It's educational as well as entertaining," she said.

The last room on the "Women in Flight" will introduce a new theme.

"It's a prelude of what's to come next year," Birdsall said.

The airplane or flight theme will tie into the anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight next year, she said.

"It's exciting because there are so many aspects of the Fair that are new this year" Birdsall said. "You gotta go"

The Fair will remain open until Sept. 29.

For more information call 909-623-3111 or visit www.lacountyfair.com.