More Ventura County Fair photos

By George Miller

Pictures say thousands of words. More on the 2015 Ventura County Fair ….

This year’s slogan: “A country fair with ocean air”. This work below was one of many in the arts, crafts and photography exhibits, which housed everything from poorly executed banality to masterpieces. There was such variety and creativity, that I can’t even begin to describe it- and this is just one medium-sized county fair, not even situated in an art haven.


By P. Godina, Ventura, at VC Fair 2015

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Main road at 2015 VC Fair. Photo:



Artwork at 2015 VC Fair. Photo:


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Hoticultural artworks in another section of VC Fair. Photo:


Today’s big act:


Neil Sedaka “back in the day.” – Publicity photo

Former superstar Neil Sedaka is still alive and at 76, performed today at the Fair. When I was young, Neil Sedaka’s songs were omnipresent, on the radio, TV, records, movies, people singing. What I didn’t always realize is that he wrote many songs for other singers, too. Only occasionally would we be aware. He wrote for a whole generation of pop music fans, but rockers- not including hard rock, blues, soul, country, opera etc. Examples are “Oh Carol,” (for his first girlfriend, the legendary Carol King), “Breaking up is hard to do” (when she exited?), “Happy birthday sweet sixteen,” “Stupid cupid,” “Where the boys are,” Calendar girl,” “Stairway to heaven,” and many more.

When I was growing up in NY, he was that nice Jewish boy from close-by Brighton Beach, in Brooklyn. No one could figure out how he could keep coming up with so many hits, one after another. We didn’t know he had been trying since he  was 4, single-minded, dedicated, talented, went to Julliard School of Music- no kid in a garage was he. I guess there wasn’t as much competition back then, either. Later, every neighborhood had garage bands, then all kinds of ethnic music became popular, it went international and just exploded.

When I think back to what the appeal was, his music was simple, melodic, descriptive/told a story or expressed emotions, the words were easy to hear and understand, the melodies were catchy, had “hooks,” were easily mastered.  Also, it was the rock format- which ruled back then in pop music. More advanced, sophisticated, avante-guard stuff was being done by others. Sedaka survived the West Coast sound, the girl groups, even hard rock. But his undoing was the British invasion, led by the Beatles. “It wasn’t good” (for him), he told us. He said he didn’t have another big hit for 13 years, which he attributed to said invasion. In retrospect, I might assign partial blame to getting away from Rock ‘n Roll and perhaps producing more moody, melancholy music, like This: Another Side of Neil Sedaka

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Toward entrance to Pacifica Arena at 2015 VC Fair. Photo:

Sedaka said, “the Beatles came to New York, so I went to London” :-). There he found a big music guy who asked what he had written lately, picked one out and promoted it into a big hit. Sedaka was baaaack.

Neil also gave us a songwriting lesson. He said that lyrics are easy, compared to the melodies. Regarding those, he said, first you need to come up with a beat, so that people can dance to it. He did a simple beat, then experimented with variations, until he found something he liked, I think via a synthesizer. Then, he said, you need a melody — and composed  a couple on the spot, tweaked them until he was satisfied with them. They sounded suspiciously like past hits. But he didn’t tell us HOW he was able to do this- trade secret.

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A 76 year-old Neil Sedaka 8-11-15, at Ventura County Fair. Photo:



Sedaka’s music helped define an era- two eras actually. Many of us are nostalgic for those times, but also realize that times have changed. Each generation has its own music, its own beat, which is representative of that generation, but also helps define it. I can’t help that this was a gentler generation with much happier music and simple, too. Is it just me, or does a lot of today’s music sound harsher, less sane, more troubled than before? Of course we had acid rock, protest music and more back then, too.

We left happy, fully intending to come back for Chaka Khan that very night, but ran out of steam after 8 hours at the Fair and realized it was already past our bedtime. Senior day at the Fair can do that to you. On the way out, we bought a bed- I kid you not. I have the receipt.


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Sedaka can still draw a crowd. Thousands came, many from far-away places, 8-11-15, Ventura County Fairgrounds.


On to the horse arena for competition today! … One of many competitions that day:

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Horse competition at 2015 VC Fair. Photo:


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Duuuuude- coool ‘board. at 2015 VC Fair. Photo:

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In arts & crafts at 2015 VC Fair. Photo:



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Field chess at 2015 VC Fair. Photo:

Can’t get away from it, even at the Fair, where we came to escape such things ….


Politics- left, at 2015 VC Fair. Photo:



Viva Los Republicanos de Buenaventura. at 2015 VC Fair. Photo:

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Art at 2015 VC Fair. Photo:



at 2015 VC Fair. Photo:

The photography exhibit is a popular part of the Fair…


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Awards collage at 2015 VC Fair. Photo:

All photos by George Miller,, unless otherwise noted.

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George Miller is Publisher of and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

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