Thursday, August 7, 2008

It's State Fair Time

and I'm sorry to be missing it. I try to go every year, sometimes more than once.

We have an old state fair here, so the fairgrounds are fairly close to the center of town. This makes for an interesting mix of visitors: happy, healthy, smiling milk-commercial farm families, urban, hip-hop gangsta wannabes, and everything in between. It's important for us city folk to be reminded that we are, geographically at least, a very small portion of the state.

Start at the charmingly named "Home
& Family Arts Building." Upstairs is a wonderful professional/amateur photography exhibit. Vote for your favorite! A spectacular quilt exhibit hangs on the railing around the balcony. Ground floor is sewing, knitting, leatherwork, and needlework exhibits. And downstairs are drawing, painting, sculpture, and calligraphy exhibits.

Head over to Expo Hall and get a new state map from the State Police booth. Visit the Attorney General's booth and see if you or a relative have an unclaimed bank account. Lots of local manufacturers have exhibits here, with give-aways. Lots of shlock, too.

Walk through the livestock barns and remember Where Food Comes From. Chickens, rabbits, goats, cows, horses. See the world's biggest boar with yes, the world's biggest cojones. Holy Mackerel, Andy, I'm talkin' bigger than a breadbasket.

Pay an arm and two legs for a grilled ear of corn. Trust me, it's better at the Fair. Now go see the 4-H exhibits. I'm drawn to the Insect exhibits. I have a very low squeamish threshold, and I am in awe of little kids who can catch, kill, and crucify insects with big pins! The cake decorating and woodworking exhibits are usually here, too.

Stop at the Ag building for incredible floral exhibits, the state winery association booth, largest pumpkin, tallest sunflower, local honey, and more.

I'm not a Midway girl, but I pass by on my way to the Dept. of Natural Resources building. Fishes, wildlife, state parks, conservation, there are always good exhibits here. There's a twice-daily antique tractor parade that I usually see. It is awesome that some of these 50, 60, 80-year old tractors still drive and work perfectly. What a testament to pride of workmanship. They don't build 'em like they used to.

I'll skip all the disgusting-things-deep-fried-on-a-stick (Twinkies? Snickers? yeccchhh) in favor of a Sundae or a shake from the Dairy Barn. Yep, the real thing: milk the way I was meant to ingest it.

I love it all, but the greatest exhibit to me is people-watching. It's a fascinating slice of life, and one that is guaranteed to fill my heart with gratitude.
I always leave with a fresh appreciation for being raised in a family that emphasized education, dental hygiene, and natural fibers; not everyone is so lucky. (Thanks, Mom & Dad!)

I'll miss it this year; I hope you don't.

Photos courtesy of Indiana State Fair.


Anonymous said...

I love the state fair and you've pretty much captured all the reasons why. Thanks for a great post.

Michelle said...

I love your descriptions of this fabulous institution! We did the "balloon glow" the other night--interesting to see the fair just beginning--everything so clean, so excited. MAM's impression? "I see the chickens. They don't have names."

oh if only she knew the reason why....

Anonymous said...

I could almost feel myself walking the grounds as I read this post! I do love this time of year -- I think I'll be dragging co-workers with me to the Minnesota fair this year since I'm there to see how it compares. But no place can ever replace hometown pride - thanks for reminding me how special our fair really is :)