County Fair

 

Young boy about to shoot a basketball at a carnival booth while other young boys watch and the carny encourages him.
A winner every time at the Fairfield County Fair.

        October in Fairfield County, Ohio means it is time for the county fair! This year it is actually going to happen, following last year's cancellation due to the darned virus. Vaccinations and facemasks, are highly recommended so everyone can crowd together and enjoy all that the Finest County Fair in Ohio has to offer.  It is also the last fair of the Ohio county fair season. The Circleville Pumpkin Show always comes the week after the Fairfield County Fair, but it is not a county fair. So what is the difference, you may ask? A county fair celebrates the industry and culture of the county in which it takes place.  The Pumpkin Show celebrates all things orange, has parades featuring a variety of themes, encourages eating truly bizarre foods, and perusing the wares of a horde of vendors. Don't get me wrong, I am down for all that stuff! But the Fairfield County Fair has its own unique vibe.
        Starting this Sunday, October 10 with "Preview Day," when the admission is FREE!!, and running through Saturday, October 16, our hometown county fair is located on probably the most attractive fairgrounds in the whole world, maybe even in the universe. Large trees line the boulevards, exhibits are in buildings over a century old, and it is all overlooked by the stunning rock face of Mount Pleasant, located in adjacent Rising Park in Lancaster, Ohio. Plus, there is a racetrack and grandstand, with different entertainment everyday. Whether a person enjoys harness racing, music, or metal smashing into metal during the car demolition derby or the ever popular combine demolition derby, there will be events to draw one's attention away from their phone to witness something truly unique. An antique airplane fly-over is even scheduled this year!
        Fairfield County prides itself on its rural heritage, so the animal and agricultural exhibits are a must. Even if you live and work in the city, you are surrounded by farms, so there is no better way to embrace the rural than to go into the barns for the aroma of straw and animal methane. Step out of your comfort zone and chat-up one of the youths showing off their prized animals and learn something new, or just get a new appreciation of the work and pride involved to bring a cow, pig, chicken, or rabbit to the judging circle - which is the best daily show at the fair! Well, the people-watching is rather fascinating too!
        But for many, nothing says "fair time" like the scent and taste of deep-fried or grilled food. It will all be there in abundance! Best of all, most of the regular food vendors set up in the same spot year after year, so if curly potato fries made with the help of a Craftsman drill and a blade is what you crave, then you will know exactly where to go. Personally, I am a loaded Italian Sausage, followed by an Elephant Ear, kind of guy. My wife goes for the Skinny Fries drenched with vinegar, and liberally coated with salt. If we are not in a coma after that, then a piece of pie, from one of the high school booster organizations located beneath the grandstand, is much anticipated stop. Sometimes I start with pie, and just throw caution to the wind after that! And why not? It is the fair, and culinary rules are meant to be broken!
        To aid in digestion, take in a show in the grandstand, or go ride some of the plethora of amusement rides. After all, nothing settles the stomach better than spinning around at insane speeds and weird angles, while suspended thirty feet above your friends and neighbors. Following a couple of rides like that, and a few games of chance, where there is "a winner every time!" there might be room for another cup of greasy fries.
        I do have to make a full confession, though, and that is that most carnival rides totally freak me out. I have ridden them in the past, so I know it is not my imagination, and no amount of repetition has made any of them any better. Being scared witless does not give me pleasure or amusement, and I am eternally grateful when it is over.  It may have something to do with my fear of heights. I am sure that at any moment all the laws of gravity are going to fail, and I will be flung out into space, or fall with a 'splat' in the middle of the midway. I have never personally seen it happen, but I know what I know, and I am leaving it at that.
        If all that is not enough to entice one to go to the fair, there is one last secret amusement - obtaining a coveted yardstick! Several of the booths have them, but most are in short supply, or are rationed out by the vendors. The County Sheriff tent is a good source, but the really unique ones are elsewhere. I have seen folks walking around the fairgrounds with really cool yardsticks, and have approached them to inquire where they could be obtained, but rarely do I successfully locate the mystery location. Be on the lookout this year for yardsticks put out by WebChick web-design services. Word on the midway is that they are very cool, and exceedingly rare! Of course, it could just be a rumor started by some twisted individual - then again, it may be true and I will be supremely disappointed if I do not get my hands on one, especially if I see someone else with one. After all, a person cannot have too many yardsticks!
        See you at the fair! 

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