We went to the State Fair yesterday. I’m such a fair geek that I actually bought the tickets last November when they were having a Black Friday discount. The fair is going to be something that you either love or avoid like the plague and we love it. Nothing screams summer like a trip to the fair. Yes it was hot and crowded which are things I’m not a big fan of but how often do you get to eat bad food and feed goats?
It’s a big place and we wanted to see a little dog show which was in an under visited corner of the fairgrounds so we actually ended up doing about a loop and a half. That ended up being over 13000 steps on a very hot day. Good thing there were lemon shake up booths everywhere and once you bought the souvenir cup, there were discounts on the refills. Funny thing was that we found the quality varied from booth to booth which you wouldn’t expect since it is really just lemons, sugar and water but I guess people can use different proportions. Maybe we need to standardize the lemon shake up!
I tossed in the elephant ear and funnel cakes because you see them everywhere as well. We avoided those but did have a corn dog which is another fried staple. Fairs are now know for fried everything but the one we always go for is the fried cheese. There is a booth that claims to use Wisconsin cheese and they are supposed to be famous for cheese so we like to stop there. Plus it is always in the same location year after year so it is like seeing an old friend. An old friend selling you stuff that can’t be good for you but still an old friend.
Another big attraction is the animals. Now our barns were all built long before air conditioning. Some have been updated but most can still be very hot on a warm day. Let’s also just say they don’t smell as good as the food portions of the fair. But we still enjoy walking through. It is always an interesting experience since you have to watch where you are walking and every now and then you have to yield to a cow or pig being lead to or from a show ring.
They have animals in other places as well. There are a couple of places where you can pay $2 to get a plastic bag or carrot pieces or a quarter to get some kind of pellets to feed goats or sheep or baby cows. Yes, I feed the goats some carrots. It was our first stop. Why? I like animals and it is the small things that really bring the most joy.
We skip the rides because neither one of us are into to being thrown around. Plus, if you’ve had a bunch of fried cheese and few lemon shake ups, well it might not end in a good way. I do have memories of riding the ferris wheel at our country fair at night and that was fun seeing the city come into view as you rode up the wheel and then fade as you lowered. Some people come just for the rides but that’s not us.
Despite the rides and food, fairs did start as a way of showcasing agriculture and there is still a lot of that at the fair. I think that’s a good thing. I mean you live in the city and you have stores that are stocked with food but that food didn’t magically appear on the shelves.
Couldn’t find a good picture of the really big farm equipment that they have on display. I think this back wheel is almost big enough to stand in but I know they have some that are larger. Everyone gets a picture of someone standing in the wheel (yes we’ve done that as well).
And, because my mind works in strange ways, the fair always makes me think of simpler times. Which is odd because how can you be nostalgic for a time you didn’t live through. Plus, they have a section showing a lot of how it was to actually live back then and it might have been simpler but it sure wasn’t easy. But when you find a patch of shade and can enjoy your lemon shake up on a hot day it does kind of make me wish for a slower pace in life.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to give up my phone or the connection to the wider world. I just think we’ve lost something when you have to be attached all the time. And when an event isn’t real unless you’ve done multiple Instagram/Facebook posts to document it. (Yes, I’m guilty of that as well)
Maybe that’s too deep for the fair. We are planning a return trip on Friday because there were a couple of food items I wanted to try but couldn’t get to. I convinced my wife that we should make two trips so we wouldn’t have to cram all the food items into one trip. She bought in.
And I’m leaving out another guilty pleasure which is the Salt Water Taffy!. Now this is especially odd as a fair food item since we are in the middle of the country and pretty darn far away from any true salt water. And taffy is nothing more than sugar and flavorings so maybe I only like it because it comes from the fair. Anyway, I have a box now.
So that was our Sunday. After being out in the sun for several hours, I’m a little tired today so it is also nice that I don’t have to go to work and I can just sit inside and tell you our fair story.
Summertime IS Fair time! I haven’t been in a few years but your post took me back there ~ thanks for that! -MJ
Glad I could provide some nice memories. And I didn’t even talk about the giant pig and the cheese sculpture and ….