I never really knew about Fairs until I moved to Preble County when I was 26 years old. We grew up in the City of Dayton, Ohio. And I now know that our county (Montgomery) had a Fair every year. I was just not privy to it. I thought Fairs were some fictional entity, enjoyed by talking pigs and spiders.
The Preble County Fair has been a big dang deal to a lot of people out here, for a long time. There is the entire 4-H population. Kids and their parents, showing their animals, and talents, in various venues, throughout the entire week. From showing chickens to pigs to sewing skills and beyond.
Beyond the 4-H crowds, are the masses who are interested in things like Demolition Derbies, Harness Horse Racing, Draft Horse Pulls, Truck/Tractor Pulls, Country Music, and so much more. Of course, there are rides, games, and other activities which attract a certain vein.
And not to be overlooked? There is the Fair Food. A prerequisite for food served at Fairs is that it must first pass through a vat of hot oil, in some capacity. I think every serving should come with some sort of a warning label, and that yellow crime scene tape.
One thing is for certain. There is no shortage of activity at a County Fair. Or dust.
Last night — Saturday Night — I worked the Front Entrance Gate. The Eaton / Preble County Rotary is in charge of the gates. I am not a member of Rotary, yet I find myself, year after year, being dragged in to this realm. Kicking. Screaming.
It is always an experience, trying to extract $7 from each person, as they drive their cars into the Fairgrounds. Most people understand that admission is $7 per person, and they hand over their payments, albeit begrudgingly. However, this payment comes with a bump. Apparently, people in Preble County have nothing but $20 bills. Rarely will you find a Preble Countian carrying lower denominational bills. The $5 bill and the $1 bill must have gone extinct in this region of the State.
Nonetheless. About every third car, there is the complainer. “Seven dollars? Seven dollars? To get in to the Fair?” OR. “The price of this Fair goes up every year.” I smile and think if that were true, it would make the admission cost somewhere around $159 per person. Give or take a dollar or two. But mostly I agree, and ask them once again for $7.
Then there are the Wild Excuse Makers. “I had a hand stamp, but I was just accosted by a group of women with scrub brushes, and Dawn liquid soap, and they scoured the thing right off the back of my hand.” OR, “Can I just drive in for a minute. I have to take my sister this little slip of paper, it is life or death, she is showing sheep right now.”
Apparently sheep need cryptic messages from relatives before they will perform. Bah-Ram-Ewe. Bah-Ram-Ewe.
Finally, there was the guy that just needed to get in to see his daughter compete in the Bear Racing.
I said, “I’m sorry, did you say Bear Racing?”
“No Ma’am. She’s in the Bear Racing Competition.”
“Sir, I don’t think we have Bears here at the Fair.”
He shook his head, and said, this time with great emphasis,
After an interpreter was called in, I was informed that he was speaking to the Barrel Racing Competition, which apparently, is something horses do. I cannot imagine Bears, or Horses on Barrels, but again, I was born and raised in the City.
And as they say.
You can take the girl out of the City,
But you can’t put boots on her and expect her to understand.
“It’s hard to fight when the fight ain’t fair.”
― Taylor Swift
“Who says life is fair, where is that written?”
― William Goldman, The Princess Bride
“The world is not fair. That’s why it needs heroes.”
― Mark Andrew Poe, Wand Paper Scissors