Well, it’s over.
After ten days, innumerable judgings, more than a few meals designed to cut my lifespan into something more to my enemies’ liking, and only a couple of hot days, this year’s rendition of the 4H County Fair is in the books. It’s been a long week and a half, and here are a few random stories, thoughts, and/or observations to wrap it all up.
I am now officially Too Old to spend a week eating Fair food. My favorite moderately-lethal place from last year, the one that sold Korean tacos that could, with some imagination, be considered not entirely unhealthy, was missing this year and I was left to sample the wares of the other places. Those other places sold food that was tasty, yes indeed, but when it actually says on the menu, “Bucket o’ Nachos,” my guess is that it’s really designed for someone much younger than I.
My stomach let me know this, after a while.
First the midway, now the food court. I tell you, the Fair is getting to be downright unwelcoming in some ways.
But still quite welcoming in others. One of the neat things about living in a place for a while – especially a place that I consider to be a small town, even if the locals get kind of annoyed when this comes up – is that you run into people you know.
There were friends old and new roaming around, and it was a pleasure to see them all.
I seem to have lost my parking mojo this year, however. Last year I could count on finding spaces within a block of the entrance, but this year I had to revert back to walking.
The Fairgrounds sit in the middle of a residential neighborhood, and parking is something of a premium on regular days. Add in the Fair, and, well, it’s a good way to work off some of those nachos at least.
The problem with a 4H Fair is that 4H kids tend to be the sort of involved, active kids who do things, which means of course that if you have multiple things that need to be done there is sure to be a conflict.
We discovered this on Saturday, when Lauren needed to be in two places at once. Being married to a scientist, I know how difficult that task can be.
Since our club won the Drama Festival back in May, we were invited to perform here at the County Fair. This is a fun thing to do, since it gives you a chance to show off for your family and friends, and it provides a nice tune-up for next week’s performance at the State Fair.
Lauren has a big role in the play, as one of the four exhibitors fabricating the titular Exceptional Excuse.
Unfortunately, this year she also entered Norman the Reserve Grand Champion Turkey (yes, that’s his title now and we’re going to milk that for all it’s worth, thank you) into the Fur and Feather Sale.
The Fur and Feather Sale is basically a community auction. Kids walk by with posters for their animals rather than leading the poor beasts in through the throng (try that with a turkey sometime, go ahead), and people bid to buy the animals. The prices are always inflated, because hey – it’s for the kids – and sometimes people donate the animals back to be re-auctioned for the scholarship fund.
There were 120 animals up for sale, more or less, which meant that Lauren could be up any time between 10am and 1pm. Our Drama performance was scheduled for 11:15-11:30am. Naturally, Lauren’s slot in the Fur and Feather Sale occurred exactly at 11:20.
Fortunately Tabitha moved up to take her role, and the audience forgave her taking the script up with her because that’s what last-minute understudies have to do. Someone else stepped in to do Tabitha’s sound effects. And it all went off quite well.
Next week: the State Fair!
People still glue quarters to the ground.
Every day I must have walked past the local Republican Party booth a dozen times, and every day they ignored me. This is probably for the best, as I already had my comeback ready.
Apparently sometime this past week Governor Teabagger (a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries) went to my home town and butchered an attempt to order a cheesesteak.
First, he cut in line. He did this in South Philly. Security detail or no security detail, I’m still not sure how he managed to do that and make it out alive.
Second, he ordered it with American cheese. That’s acceptable in other parts of the city, but in South Philly the only cheese is Whiz. This is why I don’t order cheesesteaks there. Someone should have clued him in.
And third, he left his trash for others to pick up. Insert your own political analogy here.
This dimwitted sock puppet wants to be president? He’s not even qualified to order lunch.
I nearly got my garage back this afternoon. We never did have the time to clean up the temporary chicken enclosures from when we washed them right before the fair, so I’ve been parking in the street. This morning I decided now was the time, and for an hour or so I had the chance to park there.
Then it turned out that we were going to be bringing the chickens back here after the Fair to be washed again, which would save us setting up a quarantine enclosure over at the barn but meant that I had to lose my garage again.
It was worth the trade.
They’re there now, peacefully violating local ordinances, but they’ll be gone in the morning.
The turkeys we took straight back to the barn tonight. They were so glad to be home. Poor Norman would bash his face against the wires of his cage, and Maica would pace. They weren't used to being confined like that, and the Fair is a noisy place even for people. So now they're back where they belong, and they seemed as happy as turkeys could seem.
They’re really affectionate birds, especially around us. I’m going to miss them.
This was the year that Lauren really discovered the Fair. Oh she knew all about it, and had spent a lot of time there before, but this year she would set her alarm and get up early to go over for breakfast, and she is old enough now that we can let her stay there until we get there, and then let her stay there after we leave. She’s got friends there. It’s a safe place.
Tonight was load-out. This is always something of a madhouse, with people lined up all over to retrieve projects, check out animals, and so on.
It went pretty well, all things considered. The storm held off, everyone got home safely, and if we forgot a couple of claim checks, we can retrieve those projects later.
It's good to be home.