Can you believe the L.A. County Fair begins Friday? Yep, it runs Aug. 30 to Sept. 29. I preview the highlights in my Wednesday column.
Big Boy No. 4014, one of the world’s largest steam locomotives, will soon leave the Rain Giants Train Museum at Fairplex after 50 years, the topic of my Friday column. Above, Cub Scout Pack 650 from Claremont and parents pose with the engine after a recent tour. Below, from inside the cramped cab, Scouts peer into the firebox. At bottom, Bob Krave of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society, which runs the museum, talks about the Big Boy’s finer points with one of its giant wheels behind him.
A request to local librarians for information on a visit to Ontario and environs by the royal family of Thailand in 1960 turned up a different but related piece of information.
In 1962, the queen of Afghanistan visited Pomona. Why, we even have photographic evidence. (She’s the woman in the sunglasses, no doubt worn for protection against the harsh Pomona sun.)
According to Kimberley Erickson of the Cal Poly Pomona University Library’s special collections department: “Here is a photo taken Sept. 15, 1962, during the Queen of Afghanistan’s visit to Cal Poly Pomona. The Queen, Her Majesty Homaira of Afghanistan, is standing next to the Arabian stallion, Poly Royal. Immediately to her left are campus president Charles McPhee and Mrs. McPhee.”
The horse was named Poly Royal? The queen must have felt right at home among fellow royalty.
So what was with all the Asian monarchs — Afghanistan, Thailand — traipsing around out here in the Kennedy years? That I can’t answer.
Fairplex has offered me a family package (admission for four, $60 value) for its Kaboom! fireworks show, which you won’t be surprised to learn is July 4, to be given to readers in whatever fashion I choose. “The evening features monster trucks and motocross stunts as well as one of the largest fireworks displays in California,” says Heather Tanji, communications associate.
Rather than ask you to be the seventh caller to my blog, let’s do it like this: Share a favorite memory of fireworks shows past, from whatever venue, state or time of life you wish. Best story (at my discretion) gets the package. A winner will be named Friday morning.
This is new to me, too, so we’ll see if this idea goes well or goes Kaboom! Above is a 1:28 video from the 2007 show.
Downtown Pomona in the past year has created eight parklets, generally by converting a parking space into a public space by adding a bench, planters, a trash can and a bike rack. Neat idea, successful elsewhere, but the city’s efforts were overlooked by a Westways magazine feature on L.A. County parklets. Naturally, that’s where I come in, as I do with Sunday’s column.
An exhibit at the Pomona Public Library is about Mexican American amateur baseball in the region in the ’20s to the ’60s. An event at the library on Saturday ties in to the exhibit. Read about that and more in Friday’s column.
Downtown Pomona now has its own trolley bus, the subject of Friday’s column. Above, Larry Egan of the Downtown Pomona Owners Association and the trolley; photo by yours truly. Middle, a view of the old-fashioned interior, and below, I climb aboard; photos by Liset Marquez.
I’d only heard of the Japandroids, rather than having heard them, but knowing they were coming to Pomona, I bought their “Celebration Rock” CD last weekend to study up. The chance to see an acclaimed indie band on their way up, without having to drive more than a few miles from home, is too good to pass up.
It’s just two guys, but they make a mighty racket. Since January they’ve performed in England, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, North Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, both weekends of the Coachella festival and, in between, Oakland. Pomona was their last date for a month.
“Your enthusiasm is basically the only thing keeping us alive and playing at this point,” singer-guitarist Brian King said a couple of songs in.
He asked the audience to sing along during “Nights of Wine and Roses”: “If you can help us sing, it would be much appreciated. Our throats are full of Coachella dust.” As the song had been playing in my head all day, it was particularly satisfying to hear it live.
The audience loved them, and there was a lot of bumping going on near the stage. I was back along the wall or, toward the end, up on the mezzanine. It was a relatively short set, just under an hour, and with no encore. But they seemed to be giving everything they had, or everything they had left, both of them flailing away, and with King even climbing onto David Prowse’s drum kit during “The House That Heaven Built,” the closer. A fun night.