Molly Fisk: Fair Weather

There are three empty parking spaces in front of the bank this morning. No one is currently going through our single stop sign. It’s not 2 a.m., when these events are commonplace — it’s almost noon. If you were a stranger here, you might think we were a rural town hit hard by recession and struggling. But if you’re a local, you know exactly what’s going on, and cheerfully take one of the open parking spots. It’s Fair week.

A few miles away, under some lovely tall pines, there’s a 20-minute wait to get into the fairgrounds lot, and it costs $6 to park. You can see the ferris wheel turning — silver, white, and pink through the trees — and hear a dull roar from the crowds already walking around. Vendors are selling cotton candy, barkers are barking, uncooperative goats are bleating as they’re led to the show ring.

I love many things about the Fair, including the yellow marigolds in full bloom beside the walkways and how the mixed terrain of open field and tall straight trees makes the carnival atmosphere feel sheltered and contained. I love the crazy-looking chickens with Phyllis Diller head feathers and the baby pigs suckling on their enormous mom. I actually can’t bear the corn dogs, but the Job’s Daughters concession is so popular people wait in huge lines for the privilege of eating them. I’m not a ride person either, and the last thing I need is a life-sized stuffed alligator, so I smile at the tooth-deprived carnies and just walk around listening to the music blare and the people spinning upside down laugh and scream. The ferris wheel clanks through its stately revolutions.

I see people from all parts of my life at the fair: Cardiac Rehab buddies, grocery store bag-persons, kids I taught poetry to in the sixth grade. My gynecologist is over by the pony rides with her nephew, and half our local Grateful Dead cover band is sitting on hay bales being interviewed at the radio station’s booth. The various friends who told me they were coming this morning I haven’t seen at all, though, which is typical. The fair sort of has its own rules: it’s half Breughel painting, half time-travel science-fiction movie.

After 16 years of coming here, my favorite event is still the sheep dog trials. The jumping and herding those dogs can do are unbelievable, and I love how quickly they respond to the least little hand motion from their trainers. If I could get one of my cats, or even my youngest brother to do a fraction of these moves I’d be a happy woman.

I’m already a pretty happy woman, especially since these little chicks in the incubator are so cute when they fall over and here’s another one cracking through its shell. Would you like to come see the bunnies with me, and maybe get some lemonade? I want to stand next to one of those Percherons. Oh, wait! First let’s get our picture taken in this photo booth…

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  • Molly Fisk July 29, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Yes. I like the weird kid-cake competition, too, where it has to look like compost or whatever. 😉

  • Shirley July 29, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Your fair participation pretty well matches mine! No rides or arcade stuffed animals. Meandering through the main attractions and people watching are the best! Oh, and the local art competition. 🙂