Not much has changed since I was a child, but I never get tired of ‘going to the fair’. It’s a great way to see a lot of farm animals, at rest and at work and talk to a lot of old timers and folks with ‘almost lost skills’. It’s one of the few places many of the nearly lost arts can still be experienced and appreciated.
There is so much to love about a country fair! Before you even get there, you will probably pass dozens of yard sales in the miles leading to the fairgrounds. Parking in a nearby field, you pick up on the excitement already. As soon as you open the car door, the sounds of the mid way waft across the open space. Carnival music galore and the sounds of the generators used to power the machinery and rides seem loud even at a distance. As you approach the ticket booth, twin fragrances of onions and peppers grilling and cotton candy assail you. You didn’t realize how hungry you were until right then!
Crowds of people shove through the entrance; you are buoyed along until the momentum slows enough to allow you to look around and choose a starting direction.Food stalls line alleyways, vendors selling every colorful thing imaginable. You glimpse graceful horses ridden by dressy riders in a ring nearby. Livestock barns and judging rings loom up on the horizon. A lumberman in a space ahead is carving a menacing bear from a tree trunk with a chain saw. A voice announces oxen pulling and tractor races.
A high wire is stretched above the crowd with a ballerina fearlessly riding a bike across it. Signs to 4-H exhibits and agricultural buildings point in one direction, commercial exhibits in another. Rows of tractors line the next roadway and sheep dog trials are announced overhead. Never a dull moment!
Children run by with painted faces, a woman enthusiastically clutches a quilt in one hand and a blue ribbon in another. Enormous plates of onion rings and French fries float by and a lemonade vendor calls out to passersby, “Ice cold lemonade, fresh squeezed!” Firemen are tending large pits of barbecued chicken and roasted ears of corn ahead; you can’t stand the temptation and get in line. A small child stands to one side barely balancing an impossibly huge ice cream cone.
A clown walks by and hands you a balloon. Who doesn’t love a country fair?