We had a three-hour drive from Charlotte to Raleigh, but Miss Chef and I enjoy any time together doing something other than chores, so it was a pleasant way to spend our Sunday morning. We arrived around 12:30, and wandered through the separate equestrian area before heading into the actual fairgrounds.
I was thrilled to be back around the youth barns--I was in a 4H club for a couple years in my teens, and went to the county fair. These folks were much better organized and, probably, better funded than we country bumpkins. All the horses were gorgeous. For some reason, I didn't want to distract myself with the camera, so this is the only horse picture I took:
If you look closely, you'll see the image of the couple from the American Gothic painting, showing off a prize-winning bunch of corn. The other side featured the man holding a stick of cotton candy and the woman wearing a tie-dyed shirt!
Ok, on to the fair. Once again, I was seriously disappointed that all the judged livestock had vanished. But this time I stopped to get some information and found out that every Sunday the week's competitors are removed, and then a fresh group comes in the following Monday. So unless one of us takes time off of work, we'll never get to see the animals. Hmph.
Still, there were a few remaining in the exposition hall, so I was kind of able to get my fix. It's not quite the up-close-and-let-me-rub-you-between-the-ears encounter I was hoping for, but it was better than nothing.
Aww, goat butts. I didn't want to use my flash around the animals, so these aren't all that clear. Especially this one!
My other excuse is I was kind of far away and had to zoom all the way...but this goat apparently was not happy with her sale price! Or else she was just bored standing around letting all these strangers admire her from afar. Whatever the reason, she was entertaining me as much as herself!
I spent a lot more time "aww"ing over these guys, though.
|Is that a little baby burro yawn I see?|
I'm with you, sweeties. The fair is exhausting!
Then I put my camera away for a while, because we were headed out to the midway. We stopped by the poultry tent, but there was a 50-foot line just to get in the tent. I'm glad people are so excited about chickens! But maybe if they had some of their own they wouldn't have to stand in line to see them. Just sayin'.
Anyway, the midway was a massive crush of people that made Miss Chef very unhappy. It didn't make me want to clap my hands in joy, either. Plus, we had planned to meet up with a distant cousin I haven't seen in a decade or more, and let me give you one piece of advice: the midway at the State Fair on a sunny Sunday afternoon is not the best place to catch up. 'Nuff said.
Somewhere in there, we managed to enjoy some fair food...corn dog, funnel cake, even a chicken pita. Miss Chef was eyeing the Krispy Kreme burger stand, but couldn't bring herself to try to eat a whole one. "I'd like a bite of someone else's," she said, but I was not interested. I settled for a regular hot dog and some cheese fries.
We had intended to take the train, but tickets were more expensive than advertised (really, Amtrak? Do you think you're an airline or something??), and as it turned out, driving gave us the flexibility to stay for something that made Miss Chef very, very happy: the Carolina Chocolate Drops happened to be that night's featured concert.
The Chocolate Drops are three young people playing very old, traditional mountain music. Their instruments include banjos, guitars and fiddles, along with a jug, a kazoo and actual bones. These "kids" have spent a lot of time hanging around with nonagerian musicians, learning old songs and instruments. If you like bluegrass or folk music at all, you'll love these guys. (This is a pretty crappy video, and the effect of the jug playing is totally lost, but at least it'll give you an idea of their style. Go here for some better videos.)
Oh yeah, I did have one new experience: on the way out, I finally bought a deep-fried Twinkie. Verdict: too much fried, overwhelming the Twinkie. They are dipped in pancake batter, so it's like eating a thick pancake wrapped around hot Twinkie. Does that sound good to anyone? I ended up pulling it apart and eating the Twinkie part with my fingers. Hot, melty Twinkie filling isn't too bad--provided you like Twinkies to start with!