The County Fair – Old School Meets The Sham Wow!
This past Saturday afternoon, after attending a wedding of exotic proportions, my friends and I decided to go to the Alamada County Fair. I haven’t been to a county or state fair since dinosaurs roamed the Earth. I thought it would be an interesting thing to do. I was pretty amazed by the modern-day fair. It was far cleaner than I remember. We didn’t stay the whole day due to the wedding occupying our morning and early afternoon but it was still worth the $10 admission price. We arrived around 3 PM and I was pleasantly surprised. While we didn’t frequent any of the death on wheels carnival rides, run by people with bad dental plans and questionable maintenance records, we did take in the rest of the sights.
After a quick stroll through a metal detector and a bag search, we were free to roam. There was a heavily attended sheep compound with kids trying to catch said sheep. Small city kids don’t understand running at the sheep in a blind fury just stampedes them. Sheep are prey animals and are hard-wired to run from anything running at them. Alas, for the very small, that is the fun so let them have it. It’s better than them sitting home on their ever-spreading asses playing Mario Cart on the Wii.
We checked out a lot of the main exhibits as we are mature and not into riding the mechanical bull. Sure it looked fun but I was about to go on vacation and didn’t want to break my neck or fly to Hawaii in traction. We saw rows upon rows of bunnies, ducks, geese, quail and all manner of yummy bits of fluff for sale in small cages or compounds. For the most part, these were for pets and not for eating though those huge English Lop-ear rabbits could have fed an army and made a nice toddlers coat.
We glanced at some of the carny food offerings however since we had just grazed on twelve courses of Chinese/Vietnamese food we were stuffed. By the way, the Mayflower restaurant in Milpitas is wonderful! I ate so much I swear my waist is as big as Aunt Pitty’s. Needless to say, corn dogs were out and I was not as tempted by deep-fried goodies as I would have been. Though there were not nearly as much fried food on a stick offerings as I anticipated. Fried food on a stick seems to be a fair staple nation-wide but we are behind the times or perhaps ahead on the health curve.
According to their website, the Minnesota fair has a list of food guaranteed to cut your life expectancy by 10 years. I am not exaggerating when I say that there was at least 50 offerings of deep-fried yummy, fatty death on a stick for your eating pleasure. Suffice to stay here the stick options were minimal here. There was an exotic meat booth although I’m kind of leery about the lion. I admit I was interested. I am on a mission to meet exotic animals and eat them but I didn’t want to chow down on anything endangered. I also had to wonder where they got the lion anyway. My friend suggested that perhaps it was an old circus lion past it’s prime. I really don’t want to eat old, stringy lion. That doesn’t sound very appetizing.
They were serving crickets and I love crickets. However I am a cricket snob and I was afraid they wouldn’t prepare the crickets as well as I was used to. I doubt a fair booth would wok fry them in basil, garlic and chillies, then toss them up with some crispy noodles like Typhoon in Santa Monica does. Life is too short to eat bad crickets. Besides, I was full. I went for a cone of soft-serve ice cream which was decent. About the same as Dairy Queen so that was fine.
We ambled about various exhibition halls looking at various exhibits. I seem to remember from my childhood that county fairs had far more livestock exhibits. Perhaps we missed them in our rush to peruse grade school dioramas. It did my heart good to know that some kids still know how to make dioramas out of a shoe box rather than just sit around and twiddle their thumbs with their game boys.
Some of the crafts were really spectacular while others left much to be desired. We left these shaking our heads and thinking we should enter something in the fair next year. Our various sewing projects/table settings and photographs are sure to win blue ribbons. I was a bit disappointed with the 4-H cake booth. I know, I know, it is 2011 but they were selling cake and I imagined slices of homemade goodness. Alas, their cake was made from a box with the help of Betty Crocker. I don’t eat processed food or desserts when I can at all help it. I want a real cake that you made from scratch. Hey, 4-H people get out the flour and sugar and butter. Make me a cake with love just like you lovingly raise your lambs and pigs so that I could eat them. Just an idea for next year.
We continued our trek with forays into the exhibition buildings. These showcased products you could find on television like the Sham Wow! These sales people were scary. It was like being in Tijuana and having little kids chasing after you, trying to sell you Chiclets or a paper mache donkey. You had to walk down the middle of the aisle, using your peripheral vision. Why? Because if the sales person caught your eye even for a second you would be inundated with a sales pitch to buy eyeliner but that doesn’t come off or an electric nose hair clipper. The most disconcerting booth was the Christian one where they want you to open doors to show you what Jesus would or would not do. Hey, Jesus is my fiancé and I know what he would and would not do. Believe me, it would surprise you. First on the list is not going to the fair to open little doors all about doom and redemption. He would love to hang out in the beer and wine garden but the selection wasn’t to his taste. At least this booth was not as scary as the Republican booth hawking Sarah Palin statues and tracts on the evils of Obama Socialism.
I did enjoy the horticultural exhibits and garden displays. Some were so lovely and relaxing, we wanted to crawl up on the grass, lay down under one of these lovely gazebos and take a nap. I wonder how much it would cost to transplant these designs into our own backyards? Perhaps after the fair they can raffle off these designs for charity and have the designers just transfer them into people’s backyards. Just a suggestion. We really liked the design that incorporated vegetables side-by-side with flowers. You can enjoy your beautiful flowers and pick squash at same time.
Well I was exhausted, with the wedding and watching my friend’s devour a funnel cake as big as your head so we decided to call it a day. I wish I had a little more time. It was good family fun. I will say after a small child ran into me, fell down, started crying and looked at me like I was Satan, I should get a booth to sell leashes for small kids or at least very tall hats. Kid, you ran into me with your little 3-year-old feet. I’m tall, you’re not. Take a lesson from the sheep. If you don’t want to get hurt, run away from the tall people, not into them.