Sunday, September 02, 2007

Fry Up ThoseTwinkies and Trot Out Those Hogs!

I'm up, dressed and full of coffee. After tossing and turning all night, I finally gave up and got out of bed about 5:00. Ev didn't sleep well, either, and I'm sure it was the anticipation. As soon as The Beef gets here we're loading up the fan-damnly and heading for Duqoin for the eagerly anticipated Illinois State Fair.

I'm like a kid on Christmas morning. I've never lived in a state that actually produced produce or had a use for ginormous tractors before. Who needs thrill rides when you can climb up and get your picture taken in the cab of a John Deere combine?

In Arizona, the fair is where you go to dodge gang-bangers and hear concerts on the cheap. For the price of admission, you can hear a variety of country music stars, aging rock bands and occasionally someone really cool ... like the year I got a third row seat to hear James Taylor for three bucks, because none of my friends wanted to go so I only needed one seat.

In Illinois, the fair is where you go to get your picture taken with the giant duhmayduh. How cool is that?

Of course, no fair is complete without the food. I try to plan my food intake so that it looks roughly like real eating ... something from the meat-on-a-skewer group, something from the deep-fried vegetable group, something from the sugar-on-a-stick group, something from the sugar-on-a-slab-of-waxed-paper group and plenty of fluids to maintain homeostasis and prevent heat prostration. I'm on a personal quest for the best lemon shake-up in Southern Illinois ... tart, not too sweet, and plenty of shaved ice. I haven't actually tried a fried Twinkie -- I'm traditionally a cotton candy and funnel cake girl -- but this just might be the year I throw caution to the wind.

You never can tell what you'll find in the commercial exhibit. Among the treasures I've taken home from fairs past are a set of Ginsu knives, a Shiatsu massager, an assortment of pet hair removers that look like sticky pink paint rollers, a bendable telescoping ceiling fan duster, my name on a grain of rice and a zillion dollar set of non-stick cookware with lids that stay on when you hang them from a pot rack. I still have the Ginsu knives.

There'll be pigs and cows and sheep to pet, quilts and dollhouses and hand carved duck decoys to admire, pickles and pies to peruse, and those booths where you shoot out paper stars with bent bb guns for butt-ugly sawdust-filled plush toys! I usually pitch a few dimes at the glassware, because I like the sound it makes, even though you never win so much as an ashtray. I'm pretty good at blowing up the balloons with a water pistol, though. I just might bag Evie a framed mirror with a gilt picture of Elvis that follows you with his eyes.



marl said...

Hey - we have the same fairs here in NH. Many counties, as well as many small towns/cities, have annual fairs. our favorite is the Deerfield Fair, held annually during the last week of September.

We eat our way through the fair, starting with a hearty farm breakfast, chuck full of artery clogging good stuff. On to the agricultural barns, keeping an eye out for newborn critters. Then to the horse show, draft pulling horses, commercial buildings, etc.

Because there's so much to see, we usually go for 3 of the 4 days of the fair.


btw - i have the same Ginsu knives, massager, ceiling fan duster & pet hair removers. lmao

Kwach said...

Dang, Marl, I completely forgot to mention the tractor pull, the mule jump and the harness racing!

Did you get the full set of Ginsu knives or just the one all-purpose Ginsu that can saw open a can of soup and still effortlessy make paper-thin tomato slices and spear them with it's tines?

marl said...

I got the one multiple-use Ginsu, along with a set of Ginsu steak knives. The guy who was the demonstrator has now hit the big time - Chef Tony of HSN fame. lmao

Every time we walk by the area where the knives are demo'd, Pat makes me look away. What can I say - I have a knife fetish.

We have pig races, a huge midway with rides so dangerous only teenager dare go on them, sheep dog trials, lumberjack contests, a circus, native american drummers/dancers, and the ever present military recruiters. I've probably forgotten a bunch of fair stuff...