Friday, September 4, 2009

Fair Album

Click on this picture to enlarge. I only noticed the sign in the upper left corner after I loaded it on the computer. Too funny!

Yesterday while my husband was away on one of his epic bicycle rides, I drove to Elkhorn, my hometown, for a visit to the Walworth County fair. I have a nostalgic affection for this fair, since I exhibited muffins, cookies, banana bread, some really bad sewing, and a few watercolors there many years ago as a Sugar Creek 4-H member. Grandpa Pierce, leaning on his cane, held court in the Simons hybrid seed corn tent, taking orders for the upcoming season and chewing the fat with other old-timers. Grandpa was always good for quarters for midway rides to get us kids out of his hair. Later, when my dad sold John Deere tractors, we hung out in that area.

These days I hardly see anyone I know at the fair. A couple years ago I got my sister to come wander around and eat roasted sweet corn with me, and once in a while I see a former classmate. If I'm lucky I find my brother in the farm equipment area like Dad used to be, though yesterday he was working at the store. I spied a former rival from another club (now matronly woman), introduced myself, but it was clear she did not remember me. I, like Rip Van Winkle awakened after years only to learn he has gray hair, am no longer am part of my old community.

So I headed to the animal barns.

I love the critters, from the cows, to the pigs, to the sheep and goats. In the middle of the days most animals were napping, trying to ignore all the folks wanting to scratch their ears. This pig was awake, though his neighbor was sound asleep, grunting softly, running in his sleep.

The food hasn't changed much, lots of sugar and fried foods. I love the taffy stand, though I know that a $5 bag of sugar isn't what I need. I did get an order of quesedillas and a horchata, and later bought a mammoth cream puff to bring home and split with my skinny husband.

It's fun to watch the little children on carnival rides. When I was a kid we paid for rides with coins, not coupons, and you could usually get enough change for another ride by rummaging around the seats where centrifugal force wedged them in the back crevices. I took this photo by accident, just pressed the button by mistake, but the crazy angle sort of captures the feeling of the ride.

My last stop on my way out of the fairgrounds was at the camel ride. I chatted with the man running the operation, and asked him if the camels were cousins to llamas. They are, you can see the family resemblance in their faces. Asked if he thought the camels minded walking around in a ring with folks on their backs, he smiled and said this was an easy office job compared to carrying, say, salt across a desert. These camels lie and work in Wisconsin, and the Elkhorn fair is almost the end of their season before winter.

There lots more, arts and crafts, the horticulture building, the grandstand with sulky races and tractor pulls. I enjoyed the trip, a traditional end-of-summer activity in this part of southern Wisconsin.


Kim said...

fav parts: "really bad sewing" and "chewing the fat"

Michael Canoeist said...

Oh, that bittersweet feeling of being in the hometown and not part of its life anymore. I recognize that all too well. Great stories and photos.