Food, Ferris Wheels, and Free Verse: State Fair Introduces Arts Day

Share |
(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, August 19, 2005

For lots of people, thinking about the State Fair conjures up images of a busy, sun-drenched midway with rides, games, and lots of food.  Others think of horseracing or the livestock pavilion.  And then there are those creative and colorful county exhibits.

But have you ever heard classical music performed by members of the Sacramento Youth Symphony at the Fair?

You can hear it tomorrow… along with opera and poetry.  The California Arts Council helped plan the event, but the Council’s Mary Beth Barber says Arts Day was really the Fair's idea.

"They do a fantastic job with the agricultural parts and the entertainment parts and they wanted to expand and show off the other portions of the fair centering around the juried art show, that -- aside from the fact that you can dive into an air-conditioned building -- a lot of times was sort of ignored."

Arts Day will also include hip hop dance lessons, a puppet show with members of the Sacramento Philharmonic, and a “Chalk it Up” project giving kids the chance to create walkway murals.

Poetry plays a major role in this first annual event, and Mary Beth Barber says part of the reason for that is simply a matter of timing.

"When we were in the planning stages for Arts Day at the Fair was at the same time that Governor Schwarzenegger chose the Poet Laureate.  And it was like this is the perfect venue to introduce California to Al Young.  And so this will be his first time doing a presentation on poetry on behalf of the state of California."

Joining the noted “jazz poet” Al Young will be Sacramento’s Poet Laureate Julia Connor, and  17-year-old Poet-Laureate-in-training Lindsey Smith, who wrote her first poem when she was five.

"It’s a great way to express yourself because it’s short, but you can say so much with so few words.  It’s not easy.  But certainly it’s not as difficult as carving a marble sculpture."

Well that depends on how good you are with your hands, I suppose.  As for her way with words, Lindsey says genes might play a part.

"I kind of come from a family of storytellers, my uncle’s a drama teacher.  And you can ask him the simplest question, you know, where do I find a new lightbulb this one burned out?  And he’ll say o.k. let me tell you a story about that.  And fifteen minutes later you still don’t have the lightbulb but you have this amazing family story from him."

One of the works Lindsey will read tomorrow is a poem she wrote about a year ago, when she was keeping a big secret from her friends.

"It was driving me crazy and I felt like the secret was expanding inside of me and getting bigger and bigger until I felt like a body bag and I had a dead person inside me.  So this is an excerpt from my poem called 'Tell Me Another Fantastic Untruth.'”


High School poet Lindsey Smith reading from her poem “Tell Me Another Fantastic Untruth.”  She’ll join fellow poets Julia Connor and Al Young tomorrow starting at 11:30 on Cal Expo’s Center Stage.