Jul 11, 2012 0 Share

County Fair Memories


Illustration of Ferris wheel at fair at sunset.
iStockphoto

During the July 4th holiday, I visited the county fair with my mom, a few of my aunts and uncles, and my cousin. I did not go on any rides (I am too big for most of them now), but I did visit many of the barns and stables which house local farm animals—one of the fair’s most unique attractions. As I walked through the fair, a flood of memories of prior visits came rushing back to me. I had not been back to the fair in a long time; I never realized how much I missed it.

When I was much younger, I used to go to the county fair with my family every single year. It offered me a chance to see a lot of things I did not normally get to see. The fair was mainly divided into two parts. One section consisted of traditional carnival rides and games while the other section featured various farm animals and exhibits of products made in the county. Each part was expansive and seemed to get bigger every year I went. There always seemed to be something new that would grab my attention. Because I had a limited frame of reference as to what the rest of the world was like at the time, I felt like I was stepping into a completely different world. This feeling has not disappeared.

My favorite part of the fair this year was an exhibit of John Deere tractors from the past 70 years. Many of my family members with whom I went to the fair grew up on a farm where they regularly used a tractor. I found it interesting to note that the model of the main tractor line did not change much from year to year, but that models from a larger span of years apart looked very different from one another. Despite their vastly altered appearances, they could all still be recognized as John Deere tractors. The relative sameness of a symbol like this over such a long time greatly appealed to my desire for consistency in all areas of my life. It was also the only portion of my visit to the fair which seemed to follow a definite structure, as the rest of the trip was much more freeform.  

The farm animals were also quite interesting. I saw cows, pigs, chickens, roosters, sheep, horses, rabbits, and many other creatures which I do not normally get to see in my area (apart from the horses and cows which are fairly common). The animals have always been a prominent part of the fair for my family. My mother’s family that lived on the farm took care of many of the same types of animals that were at the fair. From the way my aunts and uncles were nearly gushing with awe toward every single animal, I assume they became very nostalgic as they went through each barn. I remembered when I used to pet most of the fair’s animals. It was often an unusual experience for me because I was slightly afraid the animals might bite me or get saliva all over my hand—a thought that I was not at all comfortable with. I did not pet the animals this time either because I did not want to get fur all over my clothes, and because I still retained my primordial fears of the creatures’ unknown behaviors after all these years, but I enjoyed seeing the animals again nonetheless.

I could see a lot of rides that I used to frequent as I walked by. There was a grouping of carousels in which younger children could ride on horses, in airplanes, and in cars. I had been on all of these carousels before and they were among my favorite rides because they did not involve a lot of jerking motions. In another corner of the fair was a roller coaster shaped like an alligator. It was mostly designed for younger people because it featured only two fairly small hills. It was never a particular favorite of mine because I liked to be closer to the ground. I met a friend of mine at the fair who enjoyed sliding down the giant slide; I used to like this one, but I always feared that I would somehow end up veering off the slide altogether and onto the ground.

I left the fair with my mother after a few hours had passed. I did not stay for the fireworks display the fair had that night as they make too much noise for me to tolerate. In years past, my parents did take me many times to see fireworks, and I did enjoy seeing the multicolored swirls and flowers that appeared in the sky. However, I would stay in the car with the windows up so that it would be less noisy for me.  

Nonetheless, from my home at dusk, I could hear fireworks going off all throughout our neighborhood and even from further away. Each sudden explosion took my mind off of what I was doing and caused me to look out the nearest window to see where the noise was coming from. Even though they are loud, I think next year I will try to go to see a fireworks display and see if I can tolerate the noise. The enjoyment of seeing the display in the sky may be worth putting up with the noise they make.

Going to the fair was a very fun experience for me. It gave me an opportunity to learn more about my home county, take in some unique sights, and generally have a lot of fun with my family. I wonder what new sights will be waiting for me at next year’s fair. Maybe the fireworks!!