I had a teacher in high school who, upon being vehemently told “that’s not fair!” in a heated argument between student and educator, would adamantly reply “The fair’s in July!” And just like that, with thoughts happily diverted to how many times you could get your Zipper cage to flip in a row without throwing up and the heaven that IS warm, gooey funnel cake, the debate was lost to another day.
Do you remember how innocently magical the county fair used to be as a kid? When the cicadas began to hum, clothes stuck damply to your skin in the stifling summer humidity and popsicles took the place of breakfast, lunch and dinner? You could sense its arrival, and seemingly overnight, the rides, tents and games rose to the occasion.
Even as a teenager, that week was filled with shy handholding atop the Ferris wheel, secretly stealing sweet sips of peach schnapps from your parents’ liquor cabinet and late nights spent talking with friends in the abandoned parking lot long after hours.
Nowadays, I can’t look at a carnie without idly gambling on the amount of teeth he still has, or loosely speculating if, indeed, he is really a he at all. I watch where I place my steps very carefully (there is no love lost in my heart for sticky soles) and I ALWAYS bring a travel-sized bottle of hand sanitizer. I’m 26 years old. No need to be reckless.
In Columbus, the fair is the biggest ego boost north of the Platte. Those enchanted, nostalgic moments of fast rides, cotton candy and teddy bears have been replaced with beer garden bracelets, drunken karaoke and too many occurrences of skin-tight clothing on the overly obese to count.
Isn’t it great?!
From where these ruffians slide out of the cracks from in this fair county (heh) is beyond me, but the fact that I can depend on it to happen every second week in July is no small consolation.
Anyway, it comes to town tomorrow. An escape from the doldrums of that 9-5 job, where picnic table dancing in front of unseen coworkers in a miniskirt three inches too short is highly encouraged, loudly applauded and embarrassingly uploaded to Facebook…ahhhhh NOW.
A place where no pickle is left un-fried.
The county fair. The pinnacle of a small town summer. Nested stealthily between the annual Demo Derby held on the fourth and the horse races closing out July, it appears out of nowhere and dissipates just as rapidly.
I watched the Sandlot a few days ago in honor of the fair’s arrival and the mark they both make on summer. And, of course, to prepare.
Of course, you can’t really prepare for the county fair. It’s all about riding the wave, a wave heavily comprised of Bud Light, two stepping and lazily soaking up the mid-summer moonlight. Beach Boys cover band that forgets the lyrics to Good Vibrations? You had me at “I’m picking up good…uhhh…good…wait, what was that word again, Johnny? How did we get hired? Shit, the mic’s still on…”
Washed up country singer who hasn’t produced music in ten years headlining Saturday night? I’m there! Standing behind a sweaty dude who’s easily 250+ in line for the porta potty? Eh, check ya later.
Since this summer has been the best I’ve had here upon the return to my hometown three years ago, I expect this year’s encounter with the fair to be particularly delicious.
I’ll pick you up a fried Snickers.