Friday, June 16, 2017

County Fair

I love the county fair. I love it! Frankly, I love any event where people can share whatever they are passionate about, and we attend a lot of events just to see people demonstrate their blacksmithing skills, or quilting, or caber tossing, or whatever. The county fair is an opportunity to see kids (and adults) show off the goat, or cow, or chickens they have spent the year raising. Yesterday I saw someone shaving the back end of a cow to make her look a little more perfect. You have to really have an animal trained for her to allow you to groom her so personally.

Children were there, looking at animals they do not see the rest of the year, and there were people comparing the competition chickens with the chickens they keep at home. (I remember when keeping chickens at home was unusual, and it wasn't that many years ago that chickens at the fair were as unfamiliar as the goats and cows.) Burros and piglets stood around looking adorable and photogenic (or slept, in the case of the piglets).

I love the display of arts, paintings and furniture and welded metal. Someone yesterday created a model plastic digester, which is designed to break long carbon chains in plastic down to methane and propane in the presence of argon (to prevent combustion and the creation of toxic by-products). This would be an amazing alternative to simply burying plastics in the landfill (if it is viable). Someone invented this, though, and brought it to the fair for display. I love all of it!

Another part of the fair is all the selling. The fair is an unparalleled opportunity to buy thing, things you can't buy the rest of the year, or things that are fair specials -- such amazing deals that you cannot afford to miss! We were repeatedly offered free trips to Hawaii, free gifts (aren't all gifts free?) and improved TV service. I was offered skin treatments to make me look younger, and a better straightening iron to eliminate the curls in my hair. There were exercise machines that you could stand on and the machine would jiggle the fat off you. There were several different installers and manufacturers of saunas. (I don't know where you live, but the last thing I need going in to summer is an indoor sauna. I usually work to minimize the amount of outdoor sauna that I am exposed to!)

I don't spend a lot of time watching TV, reading magazines or shopping the mall, and maybe that made me unusually aware of the degree of inadequacy the merchants were selling. Your shoes are too dirty (after a day of walking in the dirt, everyone's are!). Your home needs a better shower, kitchen, barbecue. You need to be younger, and your hair is all wrong.

As always, we enjoyed the fair. I didn't bring much home with me, except the new tags for the dog (the tags there worked better for us than the ones we get at the petshop) and new sunglasses for me (they even had bifocal sunglasses, for reading at the beach!). I did not buy the reusable instant hand warmers (even though they were really cool, we live in southern California -- it doesn't get that cold!). I didn't buy the drill attachment that allows my husband to cut sheet metal (I have no idea what he, personally, would do with that. He works in wood, almost all the time.) And I didn't buy the concept that something we could buy at the fair would make us better.

(Disclosure: we have bought some really amazing things from the fair in the past. The extendable ladders have repeatedly been useful to us, and my husband is grateful every year that we purchased one. But we are no longer new homeowners, and there's not much that we really need to acquire at this point in our lives.)


  1. I love fairs too and your got me to look up the dates of our county's which is not until August. This is not related to your post but I thought of your struggle to define minimalism for your family when I read this post. I think you are aiming for the last type!

    1. Thanks, I loved this post. I'm definitely the last type, working toward being the green type. Being a "type" is nice, because I feel like I have a have a tribe and I'm not the only one doing this crazy thing.

      I'm glad you love the fair, too. Will you enter something?