91st Los Angeles County Fair. (30673)

POMONA, Calif. — The 91st edition of the Los Angeles County Fair begins its 24-day run today at  Pomona’s Fairplex, with traditional attractions joined by exhibits on movie animation, “Star Trek” and sea life.

“Pencils 2 Pixels — The Art of Animation” is a collaboration involving Walt Disney Animation Studios, DreamWorks, Sony Pictures Animation and the Chuck Jones Estate.

It features what is billed as North America’s largest and fastest three-dimensional zoetrope — a device that produces the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures — with multiple planes of animation that spin at more than 30 mph.

It includes replicas of Walt Disney’s early studio offices and his backyard train track; clay production models, sculptures and other items from such films as “The Croods,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “Shrek.”

Also featured are several interactive stations featuring the animation process and the materials used to create characters and their movements; instruction on drawing favorite animated characters from a professional artist; and drawings, videos and toys associated with anime, including a huge statue of the leader of the Transformers, Optimus Prime.

“Star Trek: The Exhibition” has what is billed as the largest collection of authentic artifacts and information about the television and movie franchise ever put on display, including costumes, sets and props from all five television  series and 11 movies; an opportunity to board the bridge of the Starship Enterprise; original screenplays, storyboards, concept and poster art; and two of the original miniatures from television.

“Beneath the Sea: An Underwater Adventure” consists of a 30-minute show featuring sea lions playing in and out of the water; a 5,000-gallon tank with sharks and stingrays; replicas of reef creatures found in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and displays on coral anatomy, biodiversity on the reef and conservation; an exhibit on sea monsters, including sea dragons and sea serpents; and “Melissa the Mermaid” who swims and dives and shares a message of “saving the world’s oceans before all creatures become mystical.”

The Flower & Garden Pavilion will feature the exotic plants and animals of South America with a number of tropical birds, a sloth, emerald boas, toucans and other rainforest creatures living in the Atrium.

Returning attractions include Esmeralda’s Traveling Circus; FairView Farms, a working farm; Mojo’s African Safari, an assortment of zebras, reptiles, insects, exotic birds and monkeys; “Art Treasures From the Attic,” ordinary objects and unusual collections from the basements and attics of artists; shopping and wine tasting.

Additions to the fair’s deep-fried food offerings are waffle dogs and the Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe.

The fair’s End of Summer Concert Series begins tonight with a performance by the funk band War.

Other concert performers are Trace Adkins and special guest Kellie Pickler (Saturday); Charlie Wilson (Sunday); The Bangles, with special guests Berlin featuring Terri Nunn and Martha Davis and The Motels (Monday); Brothers Johnson, Rose Royce and The Original Lakeside (Thursday); Los Lobos & Los Lonely Boys (next Friday); Ke$ha and Semi Precious Weapons (Sept. 7); Los Tigres Del Norte (Sept. 8); The Jacksons (Sept. 12); Tower of Power and very special guest Average White Band (Sept. 13); Demi Lovato (Sept. 14); Celebracion El Grito (Sept. 15); Shinedown (Sept. 19); Lynyrd Skynyrd and special guests Outlaws (Sept. 20); Zendaya with a special appearance by Bella Thorne (Sept. 21); Ramon Ayala y Sus Bravos Del Norte (Sept. 22); and Bad Company (Sept. 29).

Horse racing will be held from next Friday through Sept. 7-22, except for Sept. 9-10 and Sept. 16-17. The first post will be at 1 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays and 4 p.m. Wednesdays.

The fair is continuing its opening weekend discounts. Admission will be $1 for people entering between between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. today and 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday through Monday.

Also during the opening weekend, the cost of regular soft drinks will be reduced to $1 from 6-9 p.m. Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturday through Monday.

Carnival rides and games will be priced at $2 from 6-9 p.m. Friday and 4-7 p.m. Saturday through Monday.

The regular weekend admission prices are $19, $15 for adults age 60 and over and $12 for children ages 6 to 12. The weekday prices are $12, $10 for adults age 60 and over and $8 for children ages 6 to 12. Children ages 5 and under are free throughout the fair.

Discounted tickets priced at $10 for adults and $6 for children ages 6-12 are available at Ralphs and Cardenas stores. A season pass is available for $29.99.

Metrolink’s San Bernardino Line will add a stop at Fairplex throughout the fair, with a shuttle bus taking passengers to the main entrance. Weekend fair admission for Metrolink riders is $10.

The fair will be open from 3 p.m.-midnight today, 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday and Sunday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday. The hours for the rest of the fair are noon-10 p.m. Wednesdays, noon-11 p.m. Thursdays, noon-midnight Fridays, 10 a.m.-midnight Saturdays and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays.

The Aug. 30 opening is the earliest in the fair’s history, one day earlier than last year’s Aug. 31 opening, which had been the earliest. It will close Sept. 29.

The fair evolved from a commercial-industrial show first held along the Southern Pacific railroad siding in downtown Pomona in 1921. It proved so successful, the businessmen who produced it held the first Los Angeles County Fair in October 1922.

The fair has been held annually at Fairplex since 1922, except from 1942-47, when the facility was being used by the U.S. Army, including as a prisoner of war camp for German and Italian soldiers and a relocation camp for Japanese Americans.

The fair’s 2012 attendance was 1,473,371, the sixth most for any state or county fair in North America, behind the State Fair of Texas; the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo; the Minnesota State Fair; San Diego County Fair and San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.

There are two reasons for the fair’s success, according to Michael Chee, its director of marketing. One is that it is only open one month a year, unlike such year-round attractions as Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.

Another is that “there are things you can see here that only come around once a year,” Chee told City News Service.

“Seeing things like baby pigs, baby miniature donkeys, animals being born and a real sustainable farm are some things that only we offer,” Chee said.

“There is still a large population (in Southern California) of children, families  and others who have never seen a farm. This is one of the only places where children can come, see and learn about how agriculture is done, how animals are farmed and raised.”