“Wanna try? Everyone’s a winner!”

Somehow a promise everyone is a winner made while walking through a dusty field occupied by sketchy carnival rides seems disingenuous.

At least that’s what I thought as we wandered through our own county fair yesterday.

I love the fair! The animal barns, commercial building, the random outfits and opportunities to thank God for your own genetic strain; not to mention the fried food, roasted corn and… ahhhhh! Cotton Candy!these are all awesome reasons to love a fair.

Have I mentioned I love the fair?

The only problem is the fair changes when you grow up. Because, suddenly, you realize how much money it costs.

Example: I paid $4 for an ear of roasted corn and $9 for a bratwurst with fries.

But it’s all ok because I left Tres behind as payment.

No, not really, I’m joking. (But I did offer. They wanted my firstborn, instead.)

People around here do a fair differently than Oklahoma. Yes, the staples – the carnival rides, corn dogs, petting zoos, pig races, and kooky homemade remedies for everything from athletes foot to obesity – are the same, but there is one glaring difference:

They have freak shows in Oklahoma.

No, not the freak show I create when I walk into a superstore with all the kiddos in tow. I’m talking the serious, stereotypical freak shows like woman with a snake’s body and man with a crystal tube through his belly.

There was a whole section in the Oklahoma fair for people to pay $2 , walk through a tent and ogle and mock other human beings.

That made me sad for everyone, the viewers, the viewed, and the shysters taking the money.

BUT… that is not what we experienced yesterday as we wandered the dusty paths and took in the sights as a part of Dos’ birthday celebration.

In fact, I even learned a few things I’m happy to share with you to expand your own wisdom and ability to kick major boo-tay next time you play Trivial Pursuit. Ready? Go!

1. If you’re a germaphobe, the fair is not the place for you. As I was watching the preparation of my ear of overpriced yet delectably roasted corn the underpaid and undereducated youth first placed the sheet of aluminum foil on the dirty, fly encrusted counter, then flipped it over and placed my ear of corn on the recently germed side.

I don’t know why he did it. I’m pretty sure I can’t get him arrested for his act of war against the germaphobe (me), but it was wrong nonetheless and I’m certain he’ll have some explaining to do once he hits the Pearly Gates.

But I ate every piece of that dirt and fly-swept piece of corn. Mostly because each kernel was worth 25¢, but I also rationalize a bit of dirt can’t hurt you.

Unless it’s dirt infested with scabies or Bubonic Plague.

I’m feeling a bit faint thinking about it.

2. The llama obstacle show is not x-rated entertainment, no matter what you hear. We went to the llama obstacle show. It was supposed to be the grand finale of the day and when it was all said and done, well, it was a finale but it was not grand.

Unless watching young 4-H-ers in button-ups and Wranglers that look like they’re cutting off circulation to the lower half of their bodies is your thing. While they’re trying to push a llama around.

I’ve never pushed a llama but I guess it is more difficult than I would assume or there wouldn’t be a judge making notes and looking serious and judgmental about it all. Aside from the judge and pushing, I was not expecting moaning coming from the back row.

I kept looking at Lizard with the, “What is going on here?!” look as I listened to the soft, breathy moans. I’m mean, seriously, we were in the animal barn but the county fair is not that kind of place!

Lizard finally nudged my arm and said, “It’s the llamas!”

Llama, llama, hello mama! He was right! The llamas were tied to the back of our bleachers and spent their time moaning. So, learn from us, if you’re ever in close contact with a llama, be prepared… not only do they spit, they moan.

3. Just when you think you’re superior to the other fair goers you realize they’re looking at you and pointing, too. We went through the commercial building. I love that place! In fact, my very favorite piece of furniture ever, a 2′ diameter air-filled fuzzy tube that could be twisted like a cinnamon roll and used as a sofa, was purchased at the commercial building of the State Fair.

I love you can crack open oysters, get your dog some “doggles” and fill fuzzy-headed road runner bottles with colored sand. It’s so tacky and wonderful at the same time!

Yesterday’s commercial building had a new offering: a stand up machine that vibrates your aches, pains and fat away.

Don’t be skeptical, it’s true! Not only did the sign say the vibrating machine would fix your ills, there were two guys demonstrating it and jiggling around while standing on the mechanism! They looked rather thin.

They weren’t being shaken so hard they couldn’t stop and stare and visibly count the ruffians as we walked by. It’s probably important to mention we were there with our friends who also have three little girls, all the same age as ours.

So our little group contained six children ages five and under. We were a small, excited and wiggly herd moving through the building.

The vibrating guys looked at Lizard and said, “Are all those kids yours?!”

“Yep,” Lizard said. “Three are mine, three are his.” He motioned to the other dad, our friend who is a tall, imposing fireman capable of leaping buildings in a single bound, changing the course of mighty rivers, bending steel with his bare hands and changing a poopy diaper on the floor of a Kohl’s store without utilizing his gag reflex.

“Oh, man,” said our vibrating observer. “Dude, that’s a lot of little girls.”

“It is?” Lizard said. “I hadn’t noticed.”

Personally, if my job involved strapping myself to a vibrating platform and trying to convince people this is the next weight loss strategy, I’d probably keep my thoughts to myself.

But that’s just me.

My last thought for the day is actually a pearl of wisdom from my parents. They are appalled by how much it costs to go to the fair and all the things available to buy that have no value. So here’s what they came up with when they were parents:

My sister and I would each get $20 to spend on anything we liked, no questions asked. But at the end of the day, any money we had left from our spending allowance would be doubled. So, conceivably, we could go home after the fair with $40.

I never got $40. Sometimes I got close, but the lure of the cotton candy has always been too strong.

I was suffered a net loss but a gross gain (heh, heh, get the pun? Gross? Gain? heh, heh… hey, at least I don’t have three arms or a second head!)

What are your favorite memories of the fair? 

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4 thoughts on “Fair!

  • September 7, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Hilarious! I will have to keep my eye out for those llamas next time I go to a fair, I can honestly say I have never seen one at a fair.

    • September 7, 2011 at 9:28 am

      You’ve never been to a fair until you’ve seen a llama. Or an alpaca. They’re pretty cool, too but I don’t know if they moan.

  • September 7, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I once had the chance to see Disney Princesses On Ice at the state fair. It was fabulous! And even though I was 17, no one really noticed that I probably didn’t belong. I looked like I was 12 that year, and my 12 year old sister looked 8. As of right now, that is the only time I have been glad to look 5 years younger than I am. Of course, the evening’s excitement was tempered when we found out that my parents’ minivan would not start. My sister had a very impressive panic attack, and I was the one elected to call 911. It took them a while to find the only landmark I could see: a giant doughnut. At least now I can say that I used a giant doughnut to save my sister’s life!

    • September 7, 2011 at 1:47 pm

      That is an amazing story! Sorry it happened, but there is huge comedic value in the giant doghnut!


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