Last night, I went to the annual county fair because I love my students and they were in the pageant. My camera's batteries were dying so I didn't get any pictures (I know, complete and utter blog failure). But even if I had gotten pics, it wouldn't have been able to fully express the agony and the ecstasy that is the small town county fair.
Now, you know that I think the small town life has its charms. I was raised on a farm that my family has lived on for over one hundred years, so I have respect for this community and the people in it. But going to the county fair is a little like going to the family reunion--the ones you like you see all the time, and the rest make you question why you need to see them at all. I love funnel cake and saltwater taffy and those curly ribbon fries, but I don't necessarily feel the need to bear heat and humanity to acquire those things. Maybe the problem is that I am not a big fan of small talk, and it seems like that's what you spend all your time doing at what is no doubt your county's social event of the year (not to be confused with your town's social event of the year, which happens next month).
It didn't always feel this way. In high school, I loved going to the fair. I would go watch the tractor pull or the demo derby and scream and yell and have the best time with my high school besties. I would walk the midway to be seen and savor every piece of fair gossip that inevitably came to light. I remember loving the fair, I really do. But I remember loving it in the same way one might love a high school boyfriend, sort of hazy around the edges, knowing that you probably only remember the best of times.
But, now I see the realities--the questionable characters, the old rides, the dirt and general ick. Mosquito bites and ribbon fries have lost their luster as I waltz on through my 20s. Good people put on this show and people compete and win prizes for everything from livestock to demo cars. I don't mean to denegrate their hard work, not in the least. But, I also know that one night a year is more than fair enough for me.