It's no secret that the Stanislaus County Fair is an economic engine for the area. The amount spent each year on corndogs alone must be staggering.
But outside the food and the community groups, there's also booming business at the annual 10-day event. Walk into the exhibit building, and you'll see folks hawking everything from jerky to Tupperware to clothes and jewelry.
I haven't noticed any pools or spas this year, but they could be on site, too. Those make sense to me. One thing that didn't seem to make sense, though, is the vendor who would sell fireplaces. It seemed to me that fireplaces would be a tough sell in the middle of a Central Valley summer.
Not the case, I was informed. One vendor told me fairs were a great place to drum up business. Maybe it's because when you're sweating on a hot July afternoon, you're dreaming of a brisk day when warming up in front of a cozy fire sounds appealing.
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So if you're headed to the fair, don't forget to check out the businesses that are out there. Even if you don't get a fireplace, you might come home with a new cookware set or tie-dyed T-shirt.