Our week-long County Fair ended last Thursday. I am still recuperating from the fun of it all and trying lose the extra five pounds I gained from the vast array of “treats” I indulged in, because ‘Hey, it only comes around once a year…”
The county fair is kind of a ‘big deal’ around here. All the school kids in the county actually get an extra day off school just to attend even though they already have the entire weekend including Labor Day to go. The reason being that in a farming community a good portion of the kids are in 4-H or FFA and are showing animals that they supposedly need to take care of (I’m not implying the animals aren’t actually being cared for, but I saw a lot of parents in the barns ‘helping out’ including myself – I’ll get to that in a bit).
When you live in the of nowhere there aren’t a lot of big events to look forward to – we aren’t exactly a cultural mecca, but that’s OK. The fair in and of itself really is kind of, well almost fun.This past fair has most notably been one of our family’s best which is in sharp contrast to last year’s experience, which while it could be considered a “learning” experience wasn’t one of our better fairs.
You see last year was my daughter’s first year she was old enough to be in 4-H and take an animal to the fair. She was so excited! At the previous year’s fair, she’d gone through the various barns trying to figure out what animal she’d want to take. She landed on rabbits. This was fine by me. I could actually help her with this project, they were small and cute. Perfect and when I found she could take a breed rabbit and not actually have to breed it, I was even happier with her choice. So that spring we got her first rabbit and all the accompanying rabbit stuff (more stuff than you would think). She spent the next three months, doting on and spoiling the little guy.
A month and a half before the fair, my husband treated the bunny with Frontline as a flea preventative while he was treating all our barn cats. Unfortunately, for the rabbit, my daughter and my pocketbook, Frontline is toxic to rabbits. After several weeks of giving him IV fluids, hand feeding, and vet visits, the poor little guy went to rabbit heaven. My daughter was devastated because now not only was her little pet gone, she also couldn’t show at the fair. The deadline to have the project rabbit in her possession had already passed, so even though she got another rabbit, it wasn’t eligible to go to the fair. My heart broke for her as she watched all her friends and club mates show their rabbits. She handled it well though, and I was proud of her.
This year we didn’t make the “one” rabbit mistake again. We had a whole garage full of the furry beasties. She took both a market and a breed project. We actually had two litters of rabbits. They are quite cute. She ended up taking five to the fair and coming home with two first place ribbons, a third place, fourth place and fifth place ribbon and the Reserve Champion Breed Rabbit. She could not have had a better experience. You couldn’t wipe the smiles off any of our faces the whole day.
But the fair drug on for four more days after the rabbit judging. We did the rides (or the girls did and I stood watching and sweating in the hot sun – still better than being subjected to the Freak Out, Orbiter or Zipper – although I might not have gained those extra pounds if I had). We played the carnival games and the girls brought home a gold fish, which died three days later (after I bought fish food, etc.). We visited the smelly rabbit and poultry barn two to three times a day (I swear it is the chickens stinking up the joint) and watered, fed, and cleaned bedding. I started questioning bringing five rabbits to the fair by the second day when my daughters watched the rabbits, while I scooped…umm…used bedding. And we ate the junk food (I mentioned that once or twice didn’t I?) – shakes, funnel cakes, fries, cotton candy, caramel corn, pop corn… I’m starting to get hungry just thinking about it. Good thing it doesn’t come around again until next year or I would weigh 500 pounds!
Do you go to your county fair? What’s your favorite part?