Everybody knows that if you want to see pigs in Las Vegas, you head for a buffet line. If its chicks, take in “Crazy Girls,” and for other birdies, hit the links. This is Vegas, baby. The closest we get to cattle calls is when Southwest Airlines loads a plane at McCarran Airport.
It would be easy to believe this, but it’s not really true. Although a Stripside view might suggest that agriculture and animal husbandry are nonexistent in this region, all you have to do is head east about fifty miles to find out differently. The best time to do this is in the spring, when the hamlet of Logandale hosts the four-day extravaganza known as the Clark County Fair.
For seven bucks (more if you want to go to the rodeo), you can check out a large building full of chickens, sheep, goats, cows, rabbits, and even a few guinea pigs. Another pavilion boasts “Swifty Swine Pig Racing” and “Doggies of the Wild West,” a western-themed trained animal show. For closer encounters with animals, you can nuzzle a zebra in the petting zoo or ride a camel. Another building houses booths hosted by people hawking everything from super-duper blenders to political candidates.
As I walked from building to building and passed through the aisles of food and souvenir vendors outside, I couldn’t help noticing that something was glaringly absent from the entire event — Las Vegas. I’m not talking about the words “Las Vegas,” which were discreetly visible in places like the address on the side of a delivery truck. I’m talking about the usual evidence of Sin City’s proximity. You know — showgirls, neon, Oscar Goodman. But there was not even a faint whiff of Vegas-ness among the straw bales, even when it got dark and the midway lit up. If I hadn’t know I was in Clark County, and that the Strip lay just over a hill to the west, I could easily have thought I was in Wyoming. Even the Wayne Newton Animal Building wasn’t enough to dispel the sensation.
This is a good thing. It’s heartening to know that there’s a 4-H Club in the same county as the Bellagio, and it’s nice to see people besides Wolfgang Puck showing off their recipes. I liked hearing “The Standards,” a five-brother singing act from Idaho, and a sold-out rodeo speaks for itself. The Clark County Fair is like coming home and eating meatloaf after a week on a fancy cruise ship. Another year of sensory overload in Las Vegas, and I’ll be more than ready for another Logandale run.
For more info about the Clark County Fair & Rodeo, click here.