August Means County Fair

Since my son was a toddler we have been attending the County Fair. I’d never gone in all my years of growing up here. I don’t know why but the County Fair never registered on my radar. Once you have a child, however, and are looking for shared learning experiences, the County Fair is a winner. Over the years (my son is now 30) it has changed quite a bit. Or maybe it’s my memory that has changed. *grin* That is always a possibility. I seem to remember it having much more in the way of 4H exhibits than seem to be happening now. The other possibility for this year is that it is the first post-covid fair. I remember there being many more equestrian events, and more large farm animals to ooh-and-ah over. Certainly there were WAY MORE bunnies and chickens and reptiles and rodents than there were this year.

We always go on the weekend, so I never see the prize-winning produce in any sort of prize-winning condition. I always say NEXT YEAR I’ll go at the beginning of the fair, not the end. Somehow though we always seem to head there on the weekend for the fair food. 🙂 This year was the first year we qualified for the SENIOR rates, which are cheaper than the regular adult. Maybe that will encourage me to go twice next year. 🙂

We grabbed something to eat because we were HUNGRY when we got there. Then as is our routine we headed over to see the animals. NO pictures of the animals because they weren’t doing anything very cute or photo-worthy. We did spend some time in the Dept of Agriculture (or maybe it was the Rutgers Agricultural Cooperative, or maybe many groups) tent, learning about the Spotted Lanterfly, but that’s a different post. We picked up some pretzels and water and strolled about the midway looking at the people and the games. For me you know being out and among people is a form of “feeding” – I LOVE the energy and the excitement and the smiles. I will say that there was virtually NO social distancing at the fair, and very little masking. But that’s the beauty of being vaccinated. We stayed as distant as we could when we could, and otherwise enjoyed the moment. 🙂

The County Fair

county fair 2019

I LOVE the county fair!! When I was growing up I never went to it – it never even registered in my life. Once I had a child, and I was looking for fun things to do with a child, that didn’t cost a fortune or involve traveling forever, the county fair came into focus. Our county fair has all the standard county fair components: the 4-H exhibits (Head-Heart-Hands-Health), the arcades, the rides, the food vendors, the local business exhibits and people, people, people. You know how I love crowds and excited people!

This year the weather was perfect! The fair runs for a week, and they only had one rain-out day on Wednesday. Otherwise the temperature and humidity were perfect for fair-going. We headed over on Saturday night (after I rested from my 5-hour pruning marathon). I was craving fair food – food on a stick, those fabulous butterfly fries, and maybe even ice cream. I didn’t eat much during the day so I could FEAST at the fair.
baby bull

Every year I say the same thing – we HAVE to come on MONDAY so that I can see all the prize winning vegetables and fruits before they have had a week of wilting in the heat and humidity. We have never made it on a Monday. 🙂 I think that seeing the vegetables may actually be my favorite part of the fair. I’m not sure why, therefore, I can’t get myself over to see them when they are at their peak. I can’t even tell you why I like them best, unless it’s so that I have a comparison and goal for my own garden. I like seeing the art work as well, although this year I found I mostly disagreed with every blue ribbon winner. 🙂 Maybe I can get myself on the judging committee?
kettle corn

We follow pretty much the same itinerary every year. We start with the baby animals, move to the historic machines, see the vegetables and fruits, see the art work, and then to the arcades and rides. This year we got our dinner first (I was HUNGRY) and wandered towards the baby animals. We could see a big crowd just past the baby animal tent, and we could see 2 motorcycles with riders up on a tower. So we headed there to see what was happening. That ring has been where the horse jumping has taken place in the past. This year it was stunt riders on motor bikes. They were definitely stunt-y and very exciting. But all in all – I personally prefer watching horses in action.
man on stilts

We went into the baby animal tent and of course ooo’d and ah’d at how cute they are. From the calves and goats and emu we went to the rabbits and the chickens and the snakes and the guinea pigs. I think every year I must say that I think there are fewer exhibitors, but there are still a good number. Good thing, too, because what is a county fair without the 4-H part of it? My husband is convinced that he wants us to have chickens when we retire. I am convinced that I want no such thing. 🙂 So while I crooned at bunnies, he was looking at chickens. One cage had 2 chickens, Honey and Stella. I told him I would only consider letting him have a chicken if he named it Stella, so that he could go out in the yard and call “Stellaaaa!!!“.
maytag washer

I loved the Maytag washer. You KNOW it was the top-of-the-line in its day. Look at the wringer section where you could do the preliminary “drying”. That is a classic for sure, but I’m VERY glad to have a more modern version at home. 🙂
blue ribbon canning

Many years we spend a LOT of time at the arcades. We all (me, husband, son) love to do the water pistol challenge – the one where you shoot water into the target to try to get it to move to the top first. I wasn’t much in the mood for playing so my husband did a round or two and that was it for the arcades. The racing pigs weren’t there this year (I love the racing pigs) but they had the Axe Women Loggers of Maine. We saw a little of their log rolling – impressive!

I’d had my bbq’d beef on a stick and my butterfly fries. We’d gotten some fresh-squeezed unsweetened lemonade. All that was left was dessert. I thought I wanted ice cream but the first line I went to stand in was too long for the paucity of flavors. One of the traditional (every year tradition) food vendors sells apple crisp with ice cream, other fresh fruit smoothies, brownie sundaes, and cheese cake dipped in dark Belgian chocolate (so they say). Since the ice cream wasn’t doing it for me, I decided to try the cheese cake. I’m glad I tried it – you should always leave yourself open to new experiences. I have to say that neither the chocolate nor the cheese cake were improved by the pairing. 🙂 The cheese cake was too cold (so it would hold up when dipped) to taste the yummy cheese cake-iness and the chocolate was too sweet. I took a few bites and tossed it. But now I know for the future that it is NOT something I need. I can go back to the ice cream lines.
pink sky at dusk

My dessert was the last fair experience I needed. We were parked in the ENORMOUS field, and almost at the furthest point from the fair entrance. We meandered back to the car, put the roof down *grin*, and headed home. Another wonderful year at the county fair!!!
ferris wheel at night