Thursday, July 17, 2008

County Fair

I said I'd get back to you about the state of our county fair. The bad news is that I was right about my fears that there would be less fair entries. The good news is that I was wrong about the way the premium fee system was set up. Unfortunately that wasn't clear to me and I suspect, because there were so few entries, it wasn't clear to other people either.

If you remember me railing in a post last month about the fair's decision to charge a dollar entry fee per item, you might also remember that I suggested that it would be more reasonable to put a cap on the number of entry fees one would pay. Apparently that is the way it worked, after $10 in fees for individual class entries, additional entries were free. Well, great! But not so great that I couldn't figure that out from the premium book.

This gives you an idea of the main exhibit hall. In better years it would have been so full you wouldn't have been able to see the entire hall in one full sweep. There was only about a quarter, maybe a third, of the regular amount of entries. Usually there are hundreds of canned goods, the tables you see in the foreground are all there was this year. The back wall shows all the quilts, usually the quilts are packed in tight and take the whole length of the building.

On a positive note, the exhibits were beautifully displayed this year, a big improvement over last year's "yard sale" look.

This refrigerated display is usually jampacked and some cakes and pies end up having to be displayed elsewhere. This year, as you can see, there's about a dozen entries total?

It was even worse in the floral and agricultural exhibit hall. It was almost empty. There are additional classes and judging that come in today so maybe it's not so echo-y and desolate in there now. One can only hope. The plus side for those that did enter is that because there were so few competitors, almost everyone's entries won a blue or red ribbon.

The last exhibit hall is for fine arts and crafts and they didn't appear to take such a serious blow. There were noticably less entrees, maybe about half what past years have seen, but at least the walls were all filled with things to see.

Moving on from the exhibit halls, there's more to a fair. I wandered through the commercial buildings and got a supply of new pens and keychains and for a dollar donation my car now sports a new Obama for president bumpersticker. Then I took a break for an annual tradition - a delicious Indian Taco. YUM.

After that I wandered around a bit more to take in all the odd sights only a carnival can create.

This girl clearly doesn't realize she has a problem. Look at the size of that monkey on her back!

Here's the ever present county search and rescue trucks and carts. Notice the special unit truck in search of a good joke. HA!

Nah, just kidding. That's actually Flo the Clown. What a snappy dresser, doncha think! I really loved her nametag, you can just make it out behind her thumbs up. Same as the insurance commercial Flo with the "big tricked out name tag" - you know her?! Only Flo the Clown said her name tag is cooler because it's pink and shaped like a flower. She was a good sport to pose for me.

This was a free children's play area which was really nice. I took a photo of this part of it because I really liked this "musical instruments", sculpture? You can probably see it better if you click to enlarge. It's all sorts of pots, pans, and cow bells along with assorted spoons and ladles to use as "drum sticks". All hung on a frame and painted in a swirly tie dye. My kids would have loved this thing and doesn't it spark all sorts of zany ideas for garden art?

Last but not least I went to see the animals. This is the new judging pavillion. It looks really nice.

We have a new one because some young teens got inside the old pavillion last summer and did this. And speaking of fires, if you look at the background to the right side of these two photos, you can clearly see the low mountains in the background of the photo from last year and you can see how hazy and smoke covered those same mountains look in the photo I took yesterday. And this was a fairly "good" smoke day seeing as you could see the mountains at all!

Here's an old 4-H friend, Robin, shearing one of her sheep for show.

And here's what happens when you forget to stop shearing - you run out of sheep! LOL. Speaking of hollow sheep, I had to go back to the fair last night to check on something I wanted to buy from a vendor (they ended up not having it in the color I needed - pout) and I decided to buy some more Indian Tacos and bring them home for the family for dinner. They were out of beans and meat for the tacos but they sold me the fry bread with everything else on it so I could take it home and add my own beans. A friend's teenager was working in the line making the Indian Tacos and she chatted with me, mentioning that she was supposed to bring home a corn dog from the fair for her mom. She added "Do you think they've run out of meat too?"

I assured her that the meat was in the middle of a corn dog and it would be pretty unlikely that they'd accidentally sell her the "corn" without the "dog" inside it! We ended up leaving the fair together and I teased her that her mom would be mad if she ended up with a hollow dog, maybe she should take a bite and check to see if there was meat inside it!

I liked this big black hen. She was enormous! Her feathers were so pretty and shiny (I think I'm totally obsessed with black feathers now that I'm making a raven costume) and she was very friendly. Her name was Oprah. I wonder if she gave all the other hens new cars to bring home from the fair? Hehe.

This little hen looks like someone tossed her into the dryer and forgot to add an anti-static sheet.

Walking around the fair in the middle of the afternoon was a hot adventure. I ended up buying an iced tea, but doesn't this glass of lemonade painted on a food vendor's truck look refreshing!?

I didn't go through the midway at all. Except for the Tilt-o-Whirl, I'm not a big fan of carnival rides. I did like how the carnival they hired this year had all sherbet colored rides instead of the usual reds and oranges.

I put up even more fair photos, of some of the quilts and exhibits, as well as pink and green photos for the Shades of Inspiration color group, over on Laume's Studio. Don't forget to check them out too.


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