Claremont, CA
. The Los Angeles County Fair is in full swing this month. There are carnival rides, a heart attack’s worth of fried-food options, performances by singers of questionable merit, and so on.

And, as at so many county and state fairs, part of the festivities are devoted to agriculture. Ads for the fair’s “Big Red Barn“ highlight its educational value, the way it “brings history, life science, social science, ecology, biology, earth science, and agriculture to life.”  Children who visit the exhibit are encouraged to “meet all of the animals up close” and learn “where butter and cottage cheese come from.”

This is all well and good, especially in a county where most residents live in urban or high-density suburban areas, and many children have never seen a working farm.

Yet this is no American pastoral. In a hilarious but grim (and surely calculated) turn, the animals in the agricultural exhibit aren’t sponsored at the fair by local famers or farms. They’re brought to you by … say it with me …


A walk through the barn, on a dirt-and-astroturf path, teaches children, among other things, that happy chickens become Happy Meals™.

Who would have thought that anyone would – that anyone could – make a case for the “naturalness” of something called the McNugget?

I guess in (corporate) America, anything is possible.

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture


  1. Some of my fondest memories of childhood are of visiting my grandparents on the farm. We would rise before noon to gather chicken nuggets for breakfast, washing them down with farm-fresh coffee. Good times!

  2. …and then there were the events at the county fair where we would try to catch the greased McRib. It was awesome, because once you caught it you could just slather some BBQ sauce on it and eat it right there… ’cause, hey, no bones.

  3. I remember being abruptly awakened before sunrise each morning by my father, making my way to the barn in the dark, and, half-asleep, pulling on cow teats until I had filled a bucket with ice cold Coca Cola, for breakfast.

  4. I am still kept awake at night in cold sweats, the resounding screams of the Big Macs on the eve of the annual Mac Tonight harvest still echoing in my mind.

    And the shrieks from the poor chickens that had to lay those egg-cylinders…

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