August 22, 2010 § 11 Comments
We went to the Washington County fair
the birds and the beasts were there…
And so was the sun, full tilt, 100 degrees (farenheit).
Pooh, said I, no hat needed.
HM had purchased our tickets online, catering to my desire for a pie-and-veggie tent at a county fair. There was in fact a long line at the ticket window. A good sign, I thought.
We watched a “washers” (kindred to horseshoes) competition. Its organization was invisible; there were dozens of competitors and it flowed right along. It was still going when we would be leaving 3 hours later.
I wore sandals. Not good for walking through the pens where the pigs were kept.
They were large (aka “fattened”), clean and cute/trusting.
One little girl sat on a footstool next to her pig, petting him with one hand, eating pizza with the other. The pig seemed to wriggle with delight at her attention. I couldn’t tell if she was comforting him, in a farmer kind of way, or if she loved him even though he was destined for….
I have sworn off bacon.
I have always liked “Babe.”
Before the huge auction started, festivities were held under the big tent. The 4-H clubs were introduced and honored with awards and rounds of applause. There were at least 300 of us seated in the crowd, on benches and chairs. Despite the heat, everyone was chatting or reading the program, eating, chillin’, looking around.
The County beauty queens were introduced and awarded flowers. Very regal, they waved to the crowd and were well acclaimed. We saw them later, eating ice cream and listening to their “wrangler” moms. The beauty knot they formed was more friendly than competitive, it seemed. They were laughing, bent over, having a good time. Likely they grew up together and maybe when they were around 10, one of them might have said, “Let’s tryout for beauty pageants!” and they all agreed and here they were, on their way.
Could it have been too hot to eat?
Yes, it was too hot to eat, especially the “deep fired Reese peanut butter cups” – see sign above. I backed down tho’ it was on my agenda to try one of those odd fried foods…
There was a “car” section and had my brother been along, heat be damned, we would have looked at every booth, and inside every car there on display. But there’s always a “fun” car and this was it!
Ben, the mule, was a sweet guy. Working animals, these are, strong and sometimes resistant. Today, Ben’s job was to “work” at the fair and put up with all of us admiting him and patting him. Of the people I observed walking by, all had to pet him. Sometimes, it’s easy to be a hero, eh, Ben?
We did finally get a little something to eat. Roasted corn. Dipped in a bucket of butter! (what? a bucket of melted butter? I have got to do that at my house.) oh, yum.
We found a picnic table with a pinch of shade and sat at that end of it. We talked and ate and looked around. Men in sneakers. Women in sandals. (oh, good, I got that right.) A fair amount of smokers. Lots of french fries being eaten. People walked through the sprinklers the fire dept had set up. No one avoided them. Everyone smiled as they did it.
A young mother (guessing 21?) came toward us pushing a stroller with two girls and being tagged up by a little boy. She came right for our table. “Here’s some shade,”she said and plunked the baby on the bench, the other little girl sat across from her and the little boy shimmied down to our end. She had burgers and fries for all of them. She didn’t say a word, just got busy spreading napkins, giving them ketchup cups, making sure they were ok.
Honestly, we haven’t shared a table with anyone since last in NYC where its common to be crammed intoseats at a table with strangers in places like the Broadway deli because it’s always a full house and empty seats are empty seats.
The boy had his face painted. He looked at us and said “I’m a cheetah. Cheetahs are fast. They are faster than race cars.” He leaned behind his sister so his mom would here him: “Will this food mess up my face paint?”
She glanced over at him as she busied herself with the girls. “No, you’re fine.”
He looked at us again. “I have to eat carefully.” He pointed at his blue painted lips. “I don’t want to mess this up.”
I knew HM wanted to laugh but he didn’t. He nodded and smiled. We carried on our quiet little conversation, reminiscing about fair food of yore.
“I’m 7 and my sister is 5 and my other sister is 2,” announced Cheetah boy to no one in particular. “And,” he growled in a funny voice which I found hysterical but didn’t laugh,” and, I can pick her up.”
He went back to smacking on his french fries.
He looked up at us again. “Am I messing this up?” He pointed to his lips.
“Nope,” I answered. “Looks fine.”
“Good. I gotta stay a cheetah.I want my Daddy to see me. You know cheetahs run faster than race cars, dontcha?”
“How did you know that?” I asked. (still mom was busy with the girls, not looking up, not saying anything.)
“Daddy. Daddy told me.”
His sisters were getting ketchup on their faces. The mom rushed to ameliorate the mess.
HM and I kept talking quietly but enjoying the family scene, too, not interfering, just being there.
“I clean up after myself. I know what to do,” said cheetah boy when he was done and swooped his paper dishes into a ball and walked over to the trash can.”Do I still look ok?” he asked, walking back.
HM assured him that his cheetah-ness was intact. Looked fine.
And mom looked over at cheetah boy and smiled. “You ready to go on the rides?”
We couldn’t imagine how the little trio would fare on those loopty-loop rides with stomachs full of french fries, but somehow we think it all worked out pretty well. ‘Specially once Daddy showed up.
Peter Frampton was playing that night at the Washington County Fair. We decided not to stay for it though we discussed at length how it would be to play the county fair circuit as a once-great rock n roller who sang “I’m in You” to screaming crowds and made his guitar talk. Not a bad gig, really, when all’s said and done. Go, Peter!
Once we climbed hills and walked down country lanes to get back to our car and were underway, we found an amazing bakery in the town and continuing in a rather “fair-ish” frame of mind (open to eating various things, yes, some of it delicious junk), we ate gorgeous icing-ed spice cake and tiny cherry cheesecakes on the way home.
I still have to find a fair, however, that has the huge grange full of prize-winning pies and squashes and sewing and etcetera. There’s something about all that, and the smell of the grain hall that is the formal herald of fall.