Tuesday, September 16, 2008

End-of-summer scenes at the county fair


The Rochester Fair has been playing to late-summer crowds for over 120 years. We lived in New Hampshire for 8 years and I've worked in Rochester for 5 of those yet we'd never been to the fair. Hard to figure why. Larry is lover of country fairs and goes to several every year.

Periodically during this summer, I thought about the fair coming and how I'd like to enter a quilt. I'd never done it before but know women who have entered their pumpkin pies, quilted comforts, and needle work; it seemed the time was right for me to jump in. So I did. Jump in. Entered a fabric art book. And came out with a second place ribbon (shown above).

There were countless entries for quilted work, needle work, and other crafts. I was quite in awe of a number of them but this black and white with a punch of red sampler really caught my eye. It was displayed high up from the rafters and I couldn't see whether it was hand-made or machine-made. Either way, it is a beauty!

Two colleagues from work also entered their work and both won ribbons: Bill for his fabulous workworking and Kathy for a wonderful country-styled christmas tree skirt in tans and browns. Both do exquisite work. Highly detailed and exacting. Real craftspeople.

It was fun to the silly and funky things at the fair too although I confess that I didn't pay the 50 cents to see the world's smallest horse. And by the way, from the look of the attendant, most people chose to stay away.

This absurd little display was across the field from the Hollywood Potbelly Pig Races -- another nearly ridiculous event but one that brought a lot of laughter from the crowd.

At the other end of that field was the entrance to the circus which showed a one-hour series of acts at various times throughout the day and evening. Among the acts, was a de rigeur high wire artist, a beautiful darkly handsome young man from Columbia with a fierce looking face. A beautiful woman from Roumania who was a transformational artist (is there such a designation?). Anyway, she magically, mysteriously changed outfits in the flash of an eye while dancing around seductively to music.

I loved this guy.

Handsome and debonnaire don't you think.

Just my kind of guy.

Look at his regal profile.

Take a look at that exquisite tongue.

These are miniature zebu originally from India and Africa. I'd never seen them before. There was a full-grown male with wicked-looking horns and big hump.

It was almost like Noah's Ark with this great variety of animal life: llamas, alpaca, sheltie ponies, bunnies, chickens, sheep, cattle, goats, a lion and a tiger, a zebra and giraffe, but no elephant. Donkeys and burros, too.

We went in the afternoon on a weekday and stayed until about 7 pm -- a great time. Few crowds. Lots of families. And elders. A nursing home contingent.

The sights, the sounds, the smells. The fun and laughter and playing like kids on the bumper cars and sharing a vanilla soft serve ice cream cone. And wishing I could still eat cotton candy!

Every year when summer comes around
They stretch a banner 'cross the main street in town
You can feel somethin's happenin' in the air

Well from Carol's house up on the hill
You can see the lights going up in Soldiers Field
Getting ready for the county fair

County fair, county fair,
Everybody in town'll be there
So come on, hey we're goin' down there
Down at the county fair.

Now you'll be hangin' tight when we hit the top
And that rollercoaster's ready to drop
And you braggin' how you wasn't even scared

Well you know I just love the sound
Of that pipe organ on the merry go round
Down at the county fair.

People dancin'out in the open air
Just rockin' down at the county fair

County fair, county fair
Everybody in town'll be there
So come on we're going down there

Now its gettin' late we had back to town
We let that fortune wheel spin around
Come on mister tell me what's waiting out there

Hope I can remember where our car's parked
Out at the county fair

Now off down the highway there's the last stream of cars
We sit a while in my front yard
With the radio playin' soft and low
I pull Carol close to my heart
And I lean back and stare up at the stars
Oh I wish, I never have to let this moment go.

(thank you Bruce Springsteen for use without permission)

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