Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A Fair Fair


I love the state fair. I can’t help myself. I know there are others who shall remain nameless (okay, it’s Hauf) who hate the noise and the….hmmm, I’m not sure what she hates about the fair. But the whole shebang really appeals to me. Or so I thought a short time ago when I spent five days and nights there. Then I realized there are only a few things I really like about the fair. Namely, the food, the animals and the people watching. I don’t think there’s anywhere in the world that has better people watching. As a writer I know I should say that I’m fascinated by the diverse personalities etc that manifest themselves at the fair. And that’s true. After dark those ummmm unique individuals really shine. I was helping my daughter remove her riding boots when some guy who may or may not have had a couple kegs too many came by and offered to help. Before we could decline, he was yanking at her foot like a dog on a t-bone. Interesting. There was also a eighty year old gentleman chasing a hog through the cattle barn, a vendor feeding a horse (mine actually) cotton candy, and a troop of cyclists who had dressed their bikes up like flamingos. But I must confess, it was the cowboy changing shirts by the stalls across from me that intrigued me most. I can honestly say I had forgotten real guys were built that way. There was all this muscle, tan, toned lovely muscle. I literally stopped in my tracks, mumbled something inarticulate and stumbled away. Later, when he had his shirt on and was milling around with a couple of friends, I realized I could no longer recognize which one he was. Turns out I hadn’t actually noticed his face. Huh!

Short of ogling half naked cowboys, I spent a good deal of time in the goat barn. Recently I’ve been lamenting the fact that I don’t know where my milk comes from. And I drink a lot of milk. So I’ve been considering adding a dairy goat or two to the menagerie. To say my husband thinks this is a poor idea would be an under statement of major proportions. But think of it. Fresh organic, raw milk at your fingertips. (Literally) I realize this might not appeal to everyone, but it’s supposed to be extremely nutritious. In fact, raw milk is reputed to reduce cellulite, a possibility I find increasingly appealing. But mostly I want a goat because they’re so dang cute. Seriously…how darling are these little faces?! Apparently, the Nubians, which are adorable, can produce 1-2 gallons of milk a day, a lot even for this family. So I inquired about the darling little Nigerian Dwarfs. At a production rate of 1-2 quarts a day they seem more manageable. So I collected business cards, generic information and memories.

What of you? What do you find most fascinating about the fair? Any childhood memories? Any late summer romances? Or do you avoid it all like the black plague?

14 comments:

krisgils33 said...

love the food from the fair. yum. oh, and yeah, a half naked cowboy looking like the picture you posted would also be yum...but I've never seen one of those at the fair. must not be going to the correct fairs.

Michele Hauf said...

I narrowly avoided being dragged to the fair this year. There's just SO MANY people. Like, wall to wall people. And the idea of personal space does not exist in this horror of horror shows. So I must decline the offer of frivolity and fun. Though I did hear Harlequin had a booth at the fair this year, outfitted with two semi-nekkid cowdudes, who were handing out free books. Hmm...

MsHellion said...

We had a milk goat when I was a kid--and I'm going to have to side with your husband. If you want cute, tack a picture of them beside your computer. They are more work than a dozen teenagers.

(I am "awwwing" at your pictures though--the bottom two fuzzy ones. The first picture just looks like the goat we had and although I think of her fondly, I don't think of her that fondly.)

If it's goat milk you want though, you can probably find a goat farm near you where you could buy the milk. I have a neighbor who still raises them and I'm pretty sure she sells her milk. You'd be supporting local organic farming--and you'd know where the milk was coming from. And it'd be a heck of a lot cheaper than owning one. You'll thank me when you don't have to milk one of them on a freezing winter morning when you'd rather sleep in.

MsHellion said...

Oh, and I'm with Hauf about the personal space issue. I don't like being crowded. I get more skittish than a horse.

That said--I do like state fairs and the food at state fairs. I might try to go on a "off-day" so I could see the sights and stuff. Then again, the MO State Fair is pretty 'small' compared to say the State Fair of Texas or the Minnesota or Michigan St Fairs...so it might be hard to find an off day. I am intrigued by the prospect of Deep Fried Beer and Fried CocaCola. Hell, just about any of it.

My childhood memories mostly have to do with Thresher Shows...and they were fun. Lots of smells like horses, oil, engines, smoke...and lots of fried food and quirky souvenirs you could buy. There's a thresher show this weekend we plan to go to!

Cindy Gerard said...

Love your fair story, Lois. It's been too long since I've been and Iowa has one of the best state fairs around.

For those who don't know, Iowa is famous for it's butter cow. Some amazing woman (or maybe it's a man now) sculpts a full size cow out of butter. About five years ago I was having lunch with a NY editor and she said she always wanted to go to the Iowa State Fair. She'd never heard of the butter cow and was fascinated - but perplexed when I told her about it. "How do they keep it from melting?" she asked, as serious as could be.
Just as seriously, I said: "We got refrigeration in Io-way about 2 year ago - right after the indoor plumbing."

Stephenia said...

I love the fair - the people watching, the food, the show building that has prize winning quilts, knitting, cakes, veggies, canned items, etc. The made in Oklahoma building with local winery goods to taste, soaps/etc made here in our state. The Agriculture building, there are usually baby chicks and cows/goats to be pet there. The other petting area with goats, camel, horse, zebra, etc. The animal barns, I like to catch a kid or two washing/grooming their show animal, the funny goats with their bursting milk bags, the honest feel of the community there.

lois greiman said...

Hey, I saw someone handing out Harlequins. But he wasn't a hunky cowdude. Seriously, I considered telling the half naked cowboy that if he went out on the street with his shirtless act he could make some money.

Kathleen Eagle said...

I didn't get to the fair the year, but Clyde did, and he saw the Harlequin booth. He called me from the chicken barn. I could hardly hear him for the squawking. He had a pet chicken once, so he has a soft spot for them. I don't.

But even Clyde has no use for keeping goats. He's been there, too, and he echoes MsHellion's sentiments. If I ever need stories of mischief and destruction, I'll use his.

Kathleen Eagle said...

My favorite fair event in recent years was seeing Garrison Keillor's show. We went with several couples, had great seats up front, and visited Lake Woebegone under the stars. He can tell a story like nobody else--plus the music!

Helen Brenna said...

I want a goat, too, and a half naked cowboy! Heck, I might even think about getting a horse just to see cowboys change in front of me. :)

I love the state fair - usually have to drag my dh, but he actually volunteered this year. We saw both Harlequin booths and my dh said he was surprised they didn't have women handing out the books. I laughed and said I was surprised the guys had their shirt on. Got home and saw a picture of them with their shirts OFF! Must've been warmer than day I was there, darn it!

Cindy, your butter cow story is so cute. They do butter sculpting here, too.

lois greiman said...

You guys really aren't helping my goat fantasy here. I may have to get a cow instead. The Jerseys are really pretty. Is it wrong to want your milk to come from a pretty animal??

Kathleen Eagle said...

Lois, my kids' milk came from a pretty animal.

Debra Dixon said...

I so love the fair! It signals fall for me. The weather is cooling off. (not much in the south but it is a relief from the unrelenting torture of August)

I love the corn. We can make it at home but it just tastes better at the fair!

This year I've been to busy to get a quilt entry ready. :/ But I will enjoy looking at the quilts of others!

lois greiman said...

Oh, Deb, you enter a quilt??? How cool!