County Fair

I LOVE the fair! I grew up in the Midwest, northern Indiana to be exact and the county fair was always a highlight of my summer. Riding the Ferris wheel, the Himalaya, the little dragon coaster. Getting chocolate milk from pioneer land, eating elephant ears, ice cream, corn on the cob (literally on.the.cob) dripping in butter! Corn dogs, snow cones, fresh squeezed lemonade and Bubble Up with crushed ice. Walking through building upon building of winning 4-H displays (cakes, plants, collections, sewing, and more!) and collecting bags full of free goodies from vendor after vendor. I have never purchased a yard stick, Frisbee or bandaid holder, the pens and pencils, fans, key chains, hand sanitizer, it just never ended! There were dog shows to watch & horse shows. I loved the smells walking through the dairy barn’s’ (yes, plural!) and sheep and goats and pigs (oh my!) We had multiple horse and pony barns, draft horses, chickens and rabbits. 

And then there was the mouse game… You put your quarter (which we started saving in early spring) at the top of four numbers, the man inside the tent kept the wheel sling while he slid the kid off of a long box and a tiny little mouse jumped out, ran around and ducked into a numbered whole. All the while the man is shouting, “here she goes folks”, “keep your eye on the mouse”, “round and round she goes, where she stops, nobody knows”. Then he hollers the number and the winner chooses from one of the many stuffed animals hanging from the tent ceiling. We never left without one of those stuffed toys. (I bet some years that $1 toy cost about $10 in quarters!) 

And last, but never least, was the fish barn. Pay your $2, get handed a bamboo pole with fishing line and worm that had probably been stuck there for and hour and go ‘fish’ from a pool inside stocked full of a variety if goldfish. If one unlucky fish happened to nibble in your worm & you snagged the pole just right, hooray!, you left with your catch in a bag of water. Believe it or not, my last fish barn caught fish lasted 5 YEARS! (I actually cried when that little fish went belly up)

I LOVE the fair. When I moved to the southeast fall of 2011, I had visited my childhood fair for the last time that summer. But here in the southeast, our fair occurs in November. Yep, cause it’s still 80 degrees and we can do that. I was so excited my first year here that I was going to get to experience both fairs in one year! Unfortunately, this is not the Midwest. The Glynn County Fair, while a grand treat for many I’m sure, was a bit of a disappointment for this Midwestern girl. There was only one little building with minimal ‘stuff’, the petting zoo consisted of a pig, a goat and a handful of chickens. That’s it, no other animals in sight (or smell)! The few rides were just okay, and well no mouse game, no fish barn, no elephant ears. I didn’t even bother going last year…sad. But this year, we found out about another county’s fair and with hopes held high, drove an hour to the Jacksonville Agricultural Fair. 
I felt like a 10 year old kid walking through those gates. It.was.county.fair.heaven! 
Ahh the smells and the lights and the sounds of people laughing and screaming on rides. There were cows (granted only one barn) but THERE.WERE.COWS!! And rabbits and sheep and goats, there were three horses (okay not three barns but I just keep telling myself this is NOT the Midwest). But I got to pet cows and sheep and goats and bunnies. They all made their noises and ah, the smells… I love the smell of the barn! We rode the Ferris wheel, bumper cars, Himalaya and loved every minute of it! Screaming and laughing  as we spun round and round. There were freebies and 4-H displays. We watched the pig race and I walked away with a blue ribbon after ‘my’ pig won! Go Red! 
There wasn’t a mouse game and no fish barn (I did try my hand tossing ping pong balls into bowls to win a fish, with no luck. I guess if a fish is in my future, I’ll need to go to Walmart with 49cents.)

I left with a giant elephant ear smothered in cinnamon sugar.  The deliciousness getting licked off my fingers all the way to the car.  It certainly was not Indiana but it was ‘oh so close’ and for this Midwestern girl, ‘oh so close’ is good enough when living in the southeast.

 I will definitely be bringing J back next year.  She MUST experience the fair in as close a way as possible to the good old Midwest!  I can’t wait to see her face when she gets to pet a baby cow or have her first bite of an elephant ear.  We’ll undoubted ride the dragon and helicopters. And after buckling her into the little car to ride round and round,  I will finally get my chance to stand at the fence and wave each time she passes by.
I hope she loves it just as much as her Mama does!!

Only in the south is there a Chicken & Waffles stand at the County Fair!

Fried deliciousness on a plate
Just wait until next year, when all of these pictures have an adorable little brown eyed girl in them as well!!!

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