A day at the Fair
There were many other options. I didn't get a photo of the two foot long jalapeño corn dogs, or the deep fried Pepsi or the giant Elephant ears with peanut butter, jam and bacon crumbles, or the bacon-wrapped turkey legs. If you wanted something relatively healthy, there were fruit smoothie stands - ya wimp!
Were were somewhat disappointed by the fair this year. It is greatly curtailed. There is a new fair board and they have changed things around a lot. Many of the competitions now have an entry fee (?!?) and the submission process has been completely computerized which has cut out many of the older, more experienced competitors. The knitting and sewing competitions were so shrunken. The quilts used to be displayed all around the upper reaches of the exhibit hall, two and three quilts high. this year, it was mostly pretty little wall-hangings displayed on a chicane of screens. They were beautifully done, but somehow not as heart-warming as the newlywed's first quilt made from pieces of her husband's worn out shirts and the embroidered bib off her old apron: a real scrap quilt, made for use, not display.
The photography competition used to take up an entire building, with youth, teen, adult and professional divisions. I learned a lot about photography by strolling through those displays, and always felt my eye was sharper afterwards. This year, it was all amateur, and filled half of a small room.
There were years when the small animals building was filled with furry critters on one side, and feathery friends on the other - row after row after row of myriad varieties of bunnies, chickens and ducks. This year, there were row after row of empty cages.
And in the vendor's building, it was suspiciously spacious. They had taken out two whole rows of booths and widened the aisles. Where was the guy who sells the small steel clamps and scissors and vices? Where was the guy who sells those nice leather wallets of all styles and configurations? The pearl oysters were there as usual, and I got two silver blue, and two cream pearls, between 8 and 8.5 millimeters. Yay! The mink-oil ladies were demonstrating the wonderful moisturizing qualities of their products. The cham-wow guys were still touting the wonders of their cloths, and the plastic chopper in a hopper guy was still making fresh salsa, but many, many of the weird and wonderful things you never knew you needed were gone.
If we had driven from the far corner of the state to attend the fair, I would have been darn disappointed. Where were the biggest pumpkins and the tallest sunflowers? Where were the Four-H aprons and hand-hemmed napkins that girls learn to make for their hope-chests? Where are the has of canned carrots stacked up in meticulous spirals like small red-gold coins, and the canned beans, hand selected for size and color and lined up in their jars with military precision? Where are the shelves and shelves and shelves of jam jars, sparking like jewels? What has happened to the annual flaunting of abundance and good husbandry?