Thursday, August 06, 2009

to be (at the) fair

I’ve only been to the Wisconsin State Fair once before. Nine years ago, my daughters had some commitment there and I tagged along. I was overwhelmed. Thinking that fairs were, well, small things – with maybe a few prize pies and pen of fat pigs – I wasn’t prepared for any of it.

But I have learned. Based on that one experience, I can say this much: fairs are really a composite of three things: animals, carnival rides and fried foods.

My daughters love all three.

(For latecomers to Ocean, my daughters are 28 and 24 years old. They're home for a vacation break.)

Animals, rides, food: I can deal with it. I can photograph animals, nibble on foods and say no thanks to every ride. If they beg, I'll cave on the Ferris Wheel. I can handle a slow descent.

We set out for the State Fair on this warm and partly sunny afternoon (the fair is in Milwaukee). Yes, yes, it is the opening day. We’re enthusiastic. We’re also swayed by such draws as discounted admission on the first day for those who bring food for pantries, collected by the Hunger Task Force.

I wont write more. It's past midnight and I am absolutely fried. Let me run you through our State Fair pictorially. Remember, you're here to see animals, rides, and (fried) foods. Blissfully consumed by two young women (with a supporting cast of other Fair attendees) who love all this stuff with a passion.

fried jalapeno cheddar

the Fair's signature dish: cream puffs

the finishing touches

let me tell you something: people are odd

the youngest Fair attendee?

waiting for the race of the pigs

shaving the goat legs

the ribbon for the "most attractive swine"

a break from the animal world

mama goat, nuzzling

one incarnation of a potato dish

another incarnation of a potato dish

State Fair means corn (I demonstrate the art of eating it)

daughters demonstrate the art of wolfing down deep friend mac and cheese

others show off a common State Fair dessert

fried dough tootsies are supremely popular

from each county: prize winning cows

and hens. and roosters.

don't forget about the rides: daughter in yellow dress laughs loudly

ultimately, though, the Wisconsin State Fair is about the cream puff.