Confession time: I'm a fair geek. A deep, true fair geek.
(Aside. How do you know if you're a fair geek? You have to know two things to qualify: One, you know that fair food is totally bad for you, and totally part of the experience, and sometimes it's even tasty. Fried candy bars aren't mandatory but you do have to indulge in something. Two, you know that the Prime Rule of Fairgoing is finding and obtaining a free yardstick.)
My first exposure was as a city girl (Chicago) visiting my country cousins. Not only was scraping the manure out of the barn great fun, but they got to go to the county fair. Animals! Rides! Games! Peep shows! (Yes, back then they had girlie shows. We were scandalized and interested and careful not to get too close).
Later, when my dad was an Indiana State Fair Director, he got all kinds of perks, including a free hotel for the 10 days of the fair, passes to all the shows (Beach Boys. Heart. Johnny Cash.), and jobs for his kids. Every summer in high school I worked at the state fair, usually something simple and mindless, like standing behind a counter in the University Building and stopping the general public from going through a door behind me. One year I wrote captions for all the publicity photos that went out of the fair publicity office. A picture of a kid with their prize-winning whatever. "Susie Hoftenstein of Chewtown in Lauralee County won Grand Champion with her prize-winning llama." Stuff like that. Of course I knew the fairgrounds backwards and forwards, ate lots of grilled cheeses from the Dairymen's Association Bar (great milkshakes there, too), met lots of other people, and generally had a grand time. Went to more shows than I can remember. Went through the Arts and Family Living Building countless times to check out the quilts and photography. It was fun and an easy way to earn some money right before school started.
So, when I heard about the Great Geauga County Fair, I had to go. Had to.
It was, indeed, a great fair. Not the biggest or best I've ever seen, but definitely qualified as a definitive fair. It had:
Food. Junk food, and lots of it. If it's fried, it's at a fair. If it doesn't have fried food, it's not a fair.
Animals. Cute ones.
And funny, cute ones.
Food that looked like animals. Or people, or something.
Competitions: rabbit judging.
Needlework (with more needlework photos here).
Tractors. (This one's for you, dad).
Still more food. (And even more food here)
Gabora the Gorilla Girl.
And her friend, Myrna the Mermaid.
A Segway. I have to admit, a Segway at the fair was new to me. Looks just as silly here as anywhere else I've seen them (I think the woman in the blue shirt and Capris agreed with me).
The hay judging, completed.
And last but not least, a sure sign that you're at a real county fair:
In case you're wondering, I ate a corndog (one of the best I've ever had. Hand dipped, right in front of me. Terrific corn batter full of corn taste, a spicy, meaty dog, and the whole thing crispy fried but not greasy.)
And, yes, I did get that yardstick. As I said, I'm a true fair geek.
And proud of it.