We strode up and down aisles of cows and goats. We marveled at the hours-old piglets. And my three youngest lapped up the soft, furry cuddles at the kids’ petting zoo, where they held kittens, rabbits, and guinea pigs for the first time in their lives.
(As a side note, am I the only (formerly) nursing mama whose heart pangs with empathy when I see a sow conked out while a dozen babies clamor for her teats? Or whose chest aches when I notice a cow’s udder dripping milk? I wanted to scream for someone to relieve the poor bovine posthaste.)
The “Freak Show” Element
I treasure the memory of watching my two oldest fish through their respective wallet and change purse to find enough quarters to view The World’s Smallest Horse and accompanying attractions. They ran from one carefully-guarded display to the next, eager and wide-eyed. I laughed when my daughter returned exclaiming about the giant rat: “It’s a capybara!” These types of displays always spur my husband and I to reminisce about seeing the Minnesota Iceman at the local firemen’s carnival when we were kids. I also blame our fascination on The X-Files episode entitled “Humbug.”
The Mechanical Bull
I’d never even seen one of these things in real life. (Wait, maybe in a restaurant/bar in the 1980s after the release of Urban Cowboy . . .) After watching a couple good-natured attempts, my two-year-old looked at me with innocent eyes and said, “Me turn?” And so, since it was surrounded by inflatable surfaces and welcomed all ages, we let our toddler ride a mechanical bull.
I’m not much into greasy fair food. The idea of deep-fired Oreos does nothing for me. But, we did share a delicious pumpkin funnel cake. There was a time after helping my mom make funnel cakes at our parish festival that I thought I’d never eat a funnel cake again, but apparently I’ve regained my love of the greasy, sugary blobs of dough. We enjoyed that and Kohr’s Frozen Custard, which I’d only ever eaten at the beach. So since we didn’t visit a beach this year, the cones were a special treat.
I often forget how much time I spend in a homogenous, white-collar town. So different from how and where I grew up. I enjoyed the mix of people and music at the fair, where you could hear plenty of great live music just for the price of admission. I think next year my husband and I will slip in a concert as a date night.
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Do you visit the county fair? What’s your favorite part?