Friday, August 14, 2009

I Love the Fair

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First of all, I have to tell you right off that I love county fairs. There is nothing better than going to a fair and walking around just to watch all that happens. I especially love going during the day. There is not the press of folks common in the evenings when all the city folks come to ride the rides and the boys try to win prizes and impress their gals at the midway games.

The daytime is dedicated to showing 4H animals, judging, grooming cows, sheep, goats, rabbits and chickens of every variety. Kids in blue jeans and boots move with serious dedication to their goal of herding an animal into the ring.

Today I took a long lunch to go over to the County Fair and walk through as I ate. I had a fish boat. It was filled with fried catfish, hushpuppies and French fries that I covered with vinegar. I couldn’t eat and play games, so I felt safe walking through the midway. I listened to the carneys calling to boys, “come on now, fella, win one for that pretty gal there.” Or maybe, “Hey there, everyone is a winner. Only two to play and one of the two wins a prize”.

Then I walked through Cow Barn 4. There were younger 4H kids with calves in that barn. As I walked I saw a little Jersey calf lying on a thick pile of fresh straw. She was curled up and sleeping peacefully. A little blonde headed girl of about 7 was curled right up against the calf with her head on the calf’s neck. Her hand carefully rubbed the calf’s ear as she grinned up at me.

I walked through the goat barn, the rabbit and chicken barn and stood at the side of a show ring and watched some boys and one single girl show their pigs. I have to say that I grinned constantly as I heard the pigs squeal and saw little boys trying to make their cantankerous pigs move in the right direction.

The Grange displays were full of beautiful tomatoes; gallon jars of soybeans or corn, squash, huge heads of cabbage and baskets overflowing with beans. There were jams and jellies that delighted the eye, cakes that just cried out for eating.

I believe I could live at the fair. I could eat rib eye sandwiches or butterfly pork from the Clay County Pork Producers. At lunch I would snag an ear of fresh corn on the cob covered with butter, salt and pepper. Dessert would be home made strawberry ice cream one day and maybe the thin crisp county fair waffles all covered with powdered sugar. For supper I would go into the Methodist Church Ladies Missionary Group tent and have their sit down chicken dinner.

I’d have to have a job, so I would bring back the sideshows and I would be the barker. I would be resplendent in a striped jacket with a straw hat and bamboo cane. There I would stand on a big wooden box all painted up in primary colors as I called out;

“Ste-ep right this way folks, come one come all and see the greatest show ever to grace this county fair. Perhaps the most amazing accumulation of oddities, talent and unexplainable phenomenon the world has ever seen. Come see Johnny the dog eared boy, the chicken with 3 legs, the dinky doo. Come right this way, sir and bring the little lady to see the world’s largest, yes I said the world’s largest bull, the horse faced man, see Zambina, the missing link as she changes from beautiful modern woman to gorilla. Yes, folks, I said Zambina the gorilla woman, fresh from her tour of New Orleans French Quarter.

Here it is folks. This is the real thing. Never before and never again will you see anything like this. Step right up now and see the bearded lady, the world’s largest rat. We have it here folks, all right here in your little town for this week only. Don’t go home and wonder. Don’t walk by only to dream years from now about what you missed by passing this wonderful show by.”

Published July 26, 2004

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