Friday, September 20, 2013

when the fair comes to town

A deep, scratchy Southern voice barks from a small speaker, "Come see the Giant River Rat! It's alive and ree-al!" (Being both of these things must be at least worth the four quarters it costs to look down into the big bin the old man guards.)

The smell of dough frying and sugar flying is almost so strong when you walk past the twinkling lights of the food carts you don't even have to buy a funnel cake to enjoy it. But you do because they're so good. And not one other person in line is going to judge you for it.

And they always set up the petting zoo right at the front entrance. This is probably the only place on earth you'll touch and feed every cute barnyard creature right before you lick your fingers clean from a delicious dipped corn dog and that sticky dessert.

My favorite ride, the Scrambler (or whatever they're calling it these days), flings you around so fast you can't help but laugh hysterically while the wind hits your face and throws you, somewhat uncomfortably actually, against the side of the car. If you're lucky, you'll still have your dinner and a smile when the ride screeches to a stop.

Bucket after brightly colored bucket fly overhead, carrying folks from one entertaining side to another. Just watching the people is worth the price to get inside the fence.

The park is barren and rocky for most of the year, but when the state fair comes to town, this place comes to life for just a little while. Everyone who walks in fits in.

You've just gotta love it.

I have a special place in my heart for the big state fair.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that years ago, my amazing mother went into labor with yours truly after an evening walking around these dusty fairgrounds.

Maybe it's the way you can truly dive into Southern, American culture by viewing prize-winning pickles or digging into a basket of fried oreos dusted in powdered sugar while watching a dance troupe of young girls clog on a metal stage. Last night I ate a corn dog while watching a sea lion show. 

Maybe it's just the entire experience.

Whatever it is, and whenever it rolls into town, the fair will always be a magical place.


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