Christine Ryan

At the National Heirloom Expo, you can meet an alpace... Photograph by Julie Ann Finemann.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the modern incarnation of the state fair—Led Zeppelin tribute bands aside—but come fall, we start yearning for something a little more traditional. A little more … harvesty.

... and a Silver rabbit... Photograph by Julie Ann Finemann.

So we’ll be heading to the fifth annual National Heirloom Expo at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, which runs September 8–10 (admission is $15). The heritage breeds here include not just gloriously bizarre tomatoes but also the likes of Suri alpacas, Silver rabbits, Ancona ducks, and four-horned Navajo-Churro sheep.

,,,and a giant pyramid of heirloom squash. Photograph by Julie Ann Finemann.

Plus bluegrass bands and gospel singers, an antique tractor show, a rooster crowing competition, and, of course, the return of the giant pyramid o’ squash.

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