When agreeing or planning to attending any type of county or state fair. You have to open yourself to being exposed to some outlandish and outright redneck culture. Outdated and often unsafe carnival rides that feature soundtracks from the earl 80’s. D list cover bands who haven’t updated their sets since the Reagan. Deep fried everything and of course, the occasional Trump supporter or mullet fashioned family. It’s low brow entertainment in the third degree. And like it or not. Once you enter the fairgrounds, you are a consenting, willing participant and member of its subculture. For, it is only with that acceptance and embrace, that you will truly know the pleasure of eating bacon on a stick while crowding near a pen of newborn piglets to coo and look on in awe of their cuteness without even a minute sense of irony.
Over the last two weekends, we traveled to two separate fairs. One a County fair, the other, the mighty State fair. While I avoided the rides, one of which was featured on the news due to it breaking down. I took a bunch of pictures, had the worst BBQ in my entire life and chose not to seek the answer to the question, “WTF are elephant ears, anyway?”
So go, try the bacon wrapped hot dog, mount your five year old on an unwilling sheep and ride the wooden roller coaster and have a blast. Life is short and the rewards often outweigh the risks. Worst case scenario, you end up on the news when the fire department arrives to rescue you from a ride called “Satan’s Revenge”.
Each year, Labor Day weekend comes and goes without much movement around here. The urge to go somewhere for the extended three-day weekend is often outweighed by the thought of getting caught up in the “Get outta Dodge” type traffic that seems to accompany any holiday travel. This year my wife seemed a bit more determined to do something out of the norm. Or as she put it. “Something we don’t usually do most every weekend.” As per usual, I was up for anything. (That is “Just about anything.”)
As the links and ideas began to fill my email. I began to realize just how much she wanted to do something different. We had missed some opportunities due to traffic, long lines and just a lack of any intense interest. Knowing full well my lack of flexibility and patience played a major role in these decisions and… for lack of a better word, indecision. I was willing to do anything to make her happy. To say I cringed when she sent me a link to an upcoming County fare would be an understatement for the ages. The thought of driving for two hours in order to see a cover band perform a mix of Country favorites and Eagles covers amongst the smell of fried dough and cotton candy, somehow does not appeal to me. It wasn’t until she mapped out the trip and mentioned the pig racing schedule, that I realized this was something bigger than me. So off we went.
As we arrived, all the cliques quickly fell in to place. The array of deep-fried everything that could put a lesser man into a diabetic coma. The rabid obesity and of course the cover band deep in the belly of a rousing chorus of “I got friends in low places. My mind was transplanted to that part in “Apocalypse Now” narration where (Martin Sheen) Capt. Willard says”I wanted a mission. And for my sins, they gave me one.” I was there to have fun… And dammit, whether it at my expense or someone else. I was going to have fun. For lack of a better term. Finding my way to the cow, pig and goat stables made me feel happier than a pig in shit. After some “me time” with the cows, we settled in for the pig races before heading home. I’m just glad my wife had a chance to do something different.