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Fair Day

June 24, 2007

Yesterday we went to the Alameda County Fair! I said to Terri, “I think I want to go to the fair today.” Terri says, “Well, that’s what we’re doing, then!” She’s so great.

It was a perfect fair day, absolutely everything you could want in a day at the fair. I’ve never been to a county fair here in Califorina so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I estimated that it would be a little smaller than the Oregon State Fair. It was. Maybe more than a little smaller. But larger than the Benton County Fair. But anyway. Fairs are fairs, and this was exactly right. It had all the elements that make up the perfect fair experience.

  • Bad Fashion: What do you wear to the county fair? Isn’t it obvious? Duh! Huge teased hair, too much makeup for a hot day, tight cheap clothing, T-shirts reading F.B.I. (Female Body Inspector), your best mullet, tight short-shorts, enormous sunhats. I did my best to fit in and wore a tanktop with my bra straps showing.
  • Good People-Watching: As always, the county fair is THE place to go for good people-watching. I can’t remember any particulars, but both of us were delighted by the variety of human specimens on display. Especially on the midway.
  • Adorable Animals: We spent a lot of time in the bunny house. And then a lot of time in the duck/chicken/goose house. And had to squeak over baby guinea pigs. And then went to the livestock area and saw day-old lamb triplets (so cute it was almost unbelievable). And piglets (ditto). And was nearly run over by a runaway goat.
  • Exhibit Competitions: In the category for ‘Collections’ we saw a collection of vintage horror movie VHS tapes, frightening ‘Chatty Cathy’ dolls, Coke cans from around the world, Pepsi cans through the ages (this one won best of show), rock collections and carved wooden vegetable collections. It was hard to choose a favorite.
  • The Midway: One way I could tell this was a bigger fair than the Benton County fair was the midway. Or rather, both midways. We headed to the midway to look for the best fair food (see below), and spent some time wandering around watching the rides. I commented, “They don’t have very good rides here.” Terri agreed. “It’s mostly little kids on these rides.” Then we realized: it was ALL little kids on these rides. It was the little-kid midway. Who knew? We headed over the Big Kid midway and found the regular vomit-inducing rides. We didn’t go on any, but watched most of them go around a time or two. Terri considered trying her hand at winning a stuffed bear, but then we got distracted by the little arcade. Several rounds of speed-boat and race-car driving later (I rocked the speed-boat race), we decided it was time for…
  • Fair Food: Yes, the main reason one goes to the fair. I love that there is not one single item labled ‘gourmet’ or ‘heritage’ or ‘organic’ or anything Bay Area foo-foo in in the entire place. We had quite a time choosing how to get the best fair food experience: just enough grease, salt and sugar, without overdoing it and getting sick. Over the course of the time we were there, I think I had: 1 frozen yogurt cone (regular cake cone), 1 fresh lemonade, 1 corn dog (because I just had to… with lots of mustard), 1/2 a ‘serving’ of garlic fries (shared with Terri), and a few bites of cotton candy (eaten in the garden display area with wonderful mediocre mid-tempo bluesy rock played live in the background). I would have gotten an elephant ear (large disk of fried dough with cinnamon sugar on top) but they didn’t have any. They had funnel cakes, which I distrust. I considered briefly the chocolate-dipped frozen cheesecake on a stick, but thankfully decided against it. If we’d stayed a little longer, I would have gotten a corn on the cob. And maybe a shaved ice.

Yes, it was a fun day had by all. Perfect weather, about 83 degrees. It wasn’t even that crowded. I don’t think I would have changed a thing.

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