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Photos: A Night at the Napa Fair

On Thursday night, the Napa Town & Country Fair was filled with the usual smells of spun sugar, onion blossoms and corn dogs, plus a new additive: Eddie Money's throngs of cologned fans.

The was bursting with familiar and excited faces Thursday night.

While adults spent the evening pumping their fists in the air to the sounds of 80's crooner Eddie Money, who was singing hits like Take Me Home Tonight/Be My Baby to a huge, cologne-scented crowd at the ’s Main Stage, kids zoomed around the park in full force for Kid's Day, with kids 12 and under admitted free. 

The spinning teacups, rollercoasters and giant super slides held the longest lines. Napa elementary-schooler Becky had a particular affinity for the giant slides, screaming, "This is AMAZING!" as she flew down the slope, hands in air. 

was filled with annual arts & crafts exhibitions, including a rather large display of decorative cookies and cakes. It seems that Napa home cooks like Lee E. Dalbey are getting more inspired to take on projects featured on nationally-syndicated shows like Ace of Cakes: Dalbey's first-place “Chinese Takeout” was so impressive, there was a line to photograph her creation.  

Quilts and other decorative items adorned the walls, including “Silver Thimble” award winner Karen O’Neill’s rooster quilt. O'Neill, a member of the Napa Valley Quilters Guild, was given the Thimble award for her intricate hand-stitching, which by regulation, must be sewn in 1/8th inch segments.

Complete with hypnotist Steve Baynor and a grape-stomping competition, the fairgrounds’ Plaza and Bandstand Stages held captivated audiences throughout the night.

Adjacent to the stage, a mechanical bull-riding competition was a hub for cowboy boots and beer, with many riders holding their own and riding past the eight-second requirement.

Whether you were in the crowds at the 4-H Country Store and livestock auction, on the Ferris wheel taking in the views of the Napa Riverfront, or singing along with Eddie Money, Thursday night proved to have a feel of hometown pride—and American pride, as well: Money paid special tribute to the recent passing of Angwin soldier and 22 Navy SEAL and Air Force comrades, shot down in a helicopter while on mission in Afghanistan.

“You might think it’s hot today here—and it is—but I hear that it’s 117 degrees today in Iraq,” said Money.

“Let’s send a prayer to everyone that is with us--and everyone that is not--who is fighting for our country,” he finished.

A listening woman wiped her eyes at Money’s tribute, then hugged her boyfriend and said “Let’s put a smile on our faces. How about some cotton candy?”

Nothing like a fair to bring back the sweetness in life.

The Napa Town & Country Fair 2011 runs through Sunday,  noon - 10:00 pm. Carnival rides run noon to midnight through Saturday. Adult admission is $13, Juniors (ages 6-12) $10, Seniors (ages 60+) $10, with kids (5 & under) free.

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