Jewish families of most all persuasions appeared to be represented at the first annual Jewish County Fair.
The fair was set on the wooded grounds of the Shalom Institute, high in the Malibu hills, above the thick marine layer that blanketed the rest of the city.
It was so well attended that after a harrowing drive up Las Virgenese Canyon and Mulholland Highway, drivers were directed to park with scientific precision on every available empty patch of earth.
The fairground itself easily accommodated the hundreds of families who took advantage of rides, games, kosher food and drink and information booths set up by schools and charities on Sunday, Oct. 3.
The first thing I saw when I crossed the ball field into the grounds, were the hungry fair-goers standing in line at the Takosher truck emblazoned over the windshield with the motto, "Why is this taco different from all other tacos?" a play on the first question of the Passover Seder.
The "chosen taco" looked delicious. King Solomon's Food Court also offered hot dogs and burgers, corn on the cob and chips. Vending carts sold popcorn and cotton candy. I could smell that melting sugar while trying to dig up some stories for future Studio City Patch Faith & Charity columns.
For the grownups the Kiddush Club sold fine beers and wine from around the world. The bartender was promoting JConnectLA, a networking group for young Jewish professionals.
I soon ran into my old friends from Temples Beth Hillel and Adat Ari El of Studio City and quickly made new friends at all the information booths representing dozens of Jewish day schools and charities like Jewish Big Brothers and Sisters, JCC at Milken, Jewish World Watch, and Be the Match-National Bone Marrow Donor Program. There was also a Red Cross Blood Mobile on the site.
The kiddies seemed to be enjoying the rides and games. My favorite to watch was the one wherein a tiny child was strapped into a set of bungee cords and bounced off a trampoline. Those kids went flying.
I also witnessed a couple of little girls climb a rock wall in seconds flat. The Stretch & Kvetch tent, on the way to the rock wall and the ropes course, was a surprise with its demonstrations of aerobics and yoga. You can see all the action in the accompanying video.
I did see the snakes and iguanas but somehow missed the Shemesh Organic Farm with its horses and petting zoo, tree planting and garden mitzvah projects.
Participatory demonstrations included pita and latke making and a Remo drum circle. All of the games, demos and indoor food service were manned by Shalom Institute graduates. The facility, "an experiential Jewish education center," is used year round as a camp for teens, moms and families and for organizational events.
There must have been music playing the whole time but I was too busy schmoozing (Word just automatically corrected my spelling of this Yiddish term!) to notice until it was time for Moshav to take the stage.
Those guys all seemed to have British accents, though they're from Israel. The band formed under the spiritual guidance of the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach in their musical home village, or moshav, located between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Heads crowned by kippot and dreadlocks were all bobbing to the rockin' beat.
We'll find out next year whether co-producers the Shalom Institute and Craig Taubman's Craig 'n Co. make the Jewish County Fair an annual event.