Every year I say the same thing. "I won't do this again." Every year, I lie. Once the year has passed and last year's fair has faded into the nostalgic glow of time, I forget all the hassle. I'm ready and eager for the adventure (gagging) to begin again. Well, almost.
The fair in our local county opened officially last Monday. We rushed around last week trying to get art work, photos, exhibits, etc. finished. This year Sister #2 happened to be out of a job for two weeks (Thank You, God!) so I delegated some of the projects to her. The boys had both signed up to exhibit traditional scarecrows. (Pictures in another post.) It took them several days to construct the corn stalk men to stand. The rules said "freestanding" so we took that to mean they had to stand on their own two feet. The boys achieved this by loading boots with concrete and sand, then putting poles up through the body. I'm proud to say ours were only two of three that stood on their own two feet. And, no, they didn't win a prize. The grand prize went to a scarecrowthat SAT on the ground, leaning up against a wall. How that applies to freestanding, I'll never know.
Early Monday when the scarecrows had to be delivered, we ran into a problem getting in the gate. In past years, you could drive a car or truck through the Yellow Gate to deliver baked goods and vegetables. You were supposed to be honest enough to exit via another gate. In truth, there was nowhere to park inside the fair gates anyway. We were stopped by a demi-god of the Lion's Club who told us we needed a "Vehicle Pass." He didn't sell them, didn't know where we could buy them but by, darn, we needed one. Then he backpedaled and said, well, we could go in to unload the scarecrows but if the police saw us without a pass we'd be towed. He washed his hands of the whole thing. (Even though the rules in the Fair Book stated, entrants will be allowed to ENTER the yellow gate to deliver entries ONLY.) We took our chances.
By then the mood in the truck with Bil #2 and Sister#2 became a bit heated. They had no idea where we'd stop to carry two very heavy scarecrows, not to mention the boy's cupcake and cookie entries, several jars of pickles, a planter full of herbs and sundry other exhibits. I told them to sit near another gate and wait while I got the baked goods entered. Jarrod and I started off with each of us holding a box. Mine held the cookies covered with a piece of aluminum foil that kept blowing up to blind me.
As we passed through the gate, I happened to notice a small open slot that someone could drive though. I begged the mercy of the lady at the gate. (Apparently, lady Lion's Club members are more sympathetic to the "vehicle pass disadvantaged.) After asking if we could please just slip though for a few minutes, she said, "Well, I'm not looking, so go ahead."
We were thankfully close to the Grange building and unloaded the scarecrows, baskets of veggies and the baked goods in record time. We were not towed. We were not asked for our vehicle pass. I'm sure all the police were somewhere munching on fair food like Polish Sausage or deep fried Twinkies.
During the week, I ended up sitting at the photography/art building for eight hours. Two hour shifts for each entrant. Couldn't let the kids sit alone--besides it was air conditioned and I got some work done. Also talked to many interesting people, answered questions and had a great time.
On Tuesday, the "Cookies and Milk" ladies and myself were able to pass out some copies of our September page with some pencils. We'd have some made with our "Read "Cookies and Milk" logo on them. Hopefully, we generated some interest in people that had never read our page. Several older men stopped by the booth and regaled us with interesting stories about the community. I'm sure there's a way to work one tale into a story someday.
We all managed to do well in winning ribbons. After all the rushing and hassle to get artwork and photo's framed, I was pleased that the boys and Jenny did so well. I even managed a blue ribbon on a framed scrapbook picture. This was my first year to enter "Art" and a blue ribbon was nice.
Also managed three blues in the flower show. Miah got a blue for a yellow rose and Jarrod got several seconds and third prize ribbons. A nice haul and the checks from the agricultural society are fun to spend! Mine should just about cover all my summer library fines. (Long story.)
On Thursday, I had to man the vegetable building. Imagine pumpkins, tomatoes, seeds and hay left in an UNCOOLED building, with the windows closed for about four days. Yup, it smelled that bad! The heat at the fair was brutal. I had a bit of an adventure getting inside because no one at the Fair Board could find a key. One of the maintenance men gave me a ride in his golf cart as he whizzed from the office to the building in search of the right key. He finally found one and I went into the overripe room. Thankfully, I found a small fan and plugged it in. Got a lot of questions on the "Freaks of Nature" exhibit. Pictured above is our own freak---a Siamese cucumber. Too bad it didn't quite survive in time for the fair.