Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Great Frederick Fair

While getting my haircut, my overly friendly stylist told me all about the Fair that had just started. One thing led to another and suddenly Jill and I found ourselves enjoying all of the wondrous sights and sounds of the Great Frederick Fair.

That's right, the official name of the fair is the Great Frederick Fair. And boy was it ever great.

The first building we entered was plastered with thousands of photographs all separated into many different categories. If I had only known! There were a lot of really great photos. And some that were not so great. But I'm sure someone was proud enough of the shot to try to win a prize at the fair!

I grew up as a city kid (well actually a very tame suburb kid) so there were things that I noticed from this fair that I had never caught before.

The fair of my youth/young adulthood was always the place you went to make fun of the white-trash and their 'whore'-able clothing choices. It was the place where burned-out/has-been bands played lack-luster concerts. The place that had extremely scary carnival rides (scary as in how many people has this thing killed this year). The place where you spend a lot money on crappy food. Oh, and there were some sheep, goats, bunnies, chickens, and cows over in the buildings over there somewhere. They may have had a more prominent role in the fair then I remember, but this is my memory.

The Great Frederick Fair was all about the animals. Building after building was full of animals. Not just your average farm stock animals. These are the best that Frederick County, MD has to offer. These are the prize winning animals. The blue ribbon wearing ones outwardly mocking the hundreds of loser animals who have to stick around four more days being parading in their shame.

I was living the 'Charlotte's Web' version of the county fair. I thought it only existed in children's tales. Oh how my sense of reality has been altered!

One thing that I was quite fascinated by was all the people (mostly kids) hanging out in the barns. These were not riff-raff sneaking away from their parents. These kids were the proud owners and handlers of the beasts. Lovingly cleaning, brushing, vacuuming the coats until they glistened. I guess 4H is alive a well here in Maryland. The only thing I ever knew about 4H was seeing commercials during the after-school cartoons and thinking they were lucky rich kids that had horses.

We watched some young kids (10 or 11 years old) competing with their alpacas. The kids had to lead their animal through an obstacle course. Some of the animals were very good at it. But some, no matter how much the poor kids tried to encourage, their beast of burden just would not be convinced that the blue tarp should be walked on.

Another fun section was the adult toy section. In this case, it was referring to the large selection of tractors and farm machinery. Boy, are those things expensive! I knew they were not cheap but I did not realize that a farmer's tractor probably costs twice as much as his house!

We enjoyed a yummy BBQ beef sandwich and a funnel cake. There were certainly no shortage of food choices. We sat behind one the food vendors and I found myself intrigued by the back-of-the-house operations. It appeared to be a family operation of simple folk that probably made the rounds at all the county fairs. It was interesting to see the amount of food they had stock piled. Oh, and based on the food preparation methods, I was glad we had purchased from a different vendor. And I had no interest in seeing what was in the back of their house! Intestinal juices and stomach acid do your thing!

Anyway, that all was incorporated into the one the best reasons to go to the fair - People Watching. The fair always brings out the interesting folk. Overall, this one was quite tame but still delightfully amusing.

Here are a bunch more pictures of the fair.

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