First, a summary...it wasn't the best fair weather: 50s, overcast and occasional drizzle. And we got a late start getting on the road. Aaand it was a longer drive than we anticipated (echos of our Atlanta trip in the spring...).
BUT...it was still crowded when we got there! Joanna, it still seemed like a good family atmosphere; not trashy at all. Of course, we went on a blustery Sunday, so maybe only the die-hards were there!
We started off in the extension-area, where they had an old grist mill, some old-timey buildings, and then some of the garden displays. Miss Chef got her (first) cider fix, too.
My main interest at the fair is the animals, and then the fair food. Miss Chef likes the rides, but I don't do any of those, and she didn't want to do them alone, so she was stuck on the ground for the most part. I had some trouble locating the livestock; the rabbit building was kind of hidden behind the first cluster of food vendors. "Roast Corn! Rabbits! Chocolate-Covered Bacon!" Wait, did that say rabbits?
I couldn't help but compare everything to my hometown county fair, and I have to say, I was a little disappointed. There seemed to be fewer of each type of animal. For example, at my county fair, you'd see 10 or so Belgian Giant rabbits, and scores of the Dutch rabbits. But I only saw one or two Giants and about that many Dutch. Odd.
Still, I really enjoyed the poultry tent...even the smell; what an oddball I am! They had baby chicks and ducks you could hold, and I learned that Miss Chef had never held a chick before. I had to drag her through the entire tent, showing her the breeds we used to have, and pointing out the Ameracaunas. Hey, maybe she'll let me have chickens if they lay blue eggs...
The cattle were a bust; couldn't find 'em. I suspect they may have been auctioned off and shipped out, as there were big bulldozer-y machines scooping all the bedding out of that barn. The swine/goat/sheep barn was closed for cleaning when we found it. We did get to see a selection of the different animals in the Exposition Hall, but only one or two of each.
But my greatest disappointment--we couldn't pet the livestock! I know, it's probably too dangerous nowadays. Hell, my aunt once got a really bad bite on her shoulder from a mean draft horse at our county fair. And every livestock area had handwashing stations and signs about keeping everyone healthy. But I missed getting face-to-face with the different breeds, checking them out to see what their personalities were like.
Still, it was nice just to see the livestock, and marvel at how many people were interested in seeing them, even in this agriculturally-distant day and age. It gave me a little hope for our future. The same building had the produce entries, and it kind of amused me to watch people file slowly past displays of food they probably hardly ever eat--but put it on display with ribbons on it, and it's suddenly fascinating!
Fortunately for me, we happened upon the petting zoo (at the end of the smaller of the two midways, how odd). So I got my goat-patting in for the day. And my llama patting (or was it an alpaca?). And some cow patting, too. No horses, though. *sigh*
In between, though, we hit the fair food: corn dogs, elephant ears, candy apples...and Miss Chef just had to try a deep-fried Snickers bar. Final judgment: meh. She thought it might have been better if it had been cooked a little longer, since none of the inside of the bar got melty. I was sorely tempted to try a fried Twinkie, but the elephant ear had put me past my sugar limit for the day. Guess I'm not a kid anymore.
I have to say, I never realized before how many happy memories I have of going to the fair as a kid. Just being there, in that environment, with so much to look at--animals, baked goods, crafts, gardens--and the crazy food we'd never eat anywhere else, had me walking around with a big ol' goofy smile on my face all day long! As I've mentioned before, just the smells of the fair make me happy: manure, fresh hay, fried foods and random whiffs of cooking smoke. (Yup, I said manure.)
Oh, and Miss Chef did get her ride. I agreed to go on the ferris wheel, which was more enjoyable than either of us expected--I mean, sitting exposed 50 feet in the air on a cold, drizzly day doesn't sound all that fun, but being together, having a good time...it was really a memorable day.
Ok, enough words, now how about some pictures? (Don't turn your sound up too loud; the videos in here played really loud on my computer.)