Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fair Enough

Yesterday was our much anticipated outing to the West Tennessee State Fair.

We were disappointed.

On our trips to other regional and county fairs we have spent most of our time in the livestock sheds and at the livestock auctions. We've watched beef shows and alpaca shows. We've been through the home arts buildings to look at the table-setting competitions and agricultural displays, and have found ways to spend hours and hours wandering around.

Not so here.

The main attraction appeared to be the midway, and while the rides and games did look quite exciting, they weren't exactly what we were looking for. There was one building containing the home arts and agriculture competitions, although the primary draw to the building seemed to be the talent shows and beauty contest. There was one livestock shed. That was all. It appeared that farms only brought their livestock on the days that they were being shown because there were no sheds for keeping the animals on site for the duration of the fair, as was the case with the other fairs we've attended. No petting sheep and goats for us.

On a high note, we did get to see the end of the junior beef show, and that was fun. We even got some ideas of farms to call to find out if they have some grass-fed beef for us to buy. That was just about the only redeeming quality.

Despite all of this, I'm sure we'll go again next year. But our expectations will be reasonable.

Clarification: While I was writing this post yesterday I was also being regaled with stories of Joshua's first foray into a sandbox, so I wasn't as clear as I might have been regarding the table-setting competition. In the table-setting competition, the entrants are given a theme such as first birthday, 50th wedding anniversary, Sunday brunch, wedding luncheon, etc. They are then to create a table that fits that theme along with tablecloth, centerpiece, and four or so place settings. The best part of the competition is reading the judging cards. Some of the judges are picky about things like "good use of theme," but for the most part they are hard-core about the place settings. You might see things on the judging cards like "Water glass is too close to dinner plate" or "dessert fork is too close to salad plate." (I don't know enough about setting a table to know if those are even viable criticisms of a well-set table. If I ever need to know, Amy Vanderbilt will be glad to help). I enjoy the table-setting competitions because it is fascinating that someone cares enough to be that meticulous about setting a table. At my house we're lucky to get enough utensils to serve and eat with. They're usually chucked in the middle of the table and diners can get them if and when they want.


Ruth said...

I wonder whether Joshua will enjoy animals when he is older? I took my son to an excellent wildlife park and he was only interested in the rides - not at all taken by the tigers/ elephants / lions etc.

My daughter is more of an animal lover, although she gets a bit confused - we took them both to see some horses recently. Upon arrival, she pointed at them and shouted out, at the top of her little, 21 month old voice "DOGS. Woof, woof",

Jennifer said...

Table setting competitions?!

Montana Dave said...

We got to see part of the fair in Kalispell, and had the same experience. The fair was all week, so a lot of the livestock stuff was already done and gone. However, the llamas were still there, and llamas just make me laugh, so it was OK.

BTW, we've got some petting sheep and goats. :)

Ruth said...

Montana dave's got me thinking there: llamas are indeed funny, and so are dogs in cars (with their heads sticking out of open windows and turned to watch the road ahead) and cats coughing up fur-balls! I think that cats coughing up furballs are hillarious!

anna said...

Our fair is coming up soon and we are getting excited. We went last year and didn't know really what quite to expect but this year we're ready.

First we will not eat anything for 3 days prior. The food there is awesome. Smoke BBQ Turkey legs, BBQ sandwiches, ice cream, funnel cakes, the list goes on and on and not to mention this years pie eating contest!

Second....I will be prepared to sit through hours of animal watching. While I love farm animals as the next guy our fair has quite a bit to show off. In fact so much so that you actually miss some if your not careful. I wasn't prepared for how long other members of our family and extended family could sit and watch animal shows. It's a long time.

Third....I will wear tennis shoes. I don't remember what I wore last year but all I can remember is all the walking around we did and I wasn't even pregnant then!

And as far as place settings we're lucky if everyone gets a fork before we sit down as the 11 year old and 2 year old set the table. I definitely would be kicked out of this competition....but show me the way to the pie eating contest.

And lets here about Joshua's sandbox adventure!

Mary Beth said...

Oh, right, the food!

I forgot to mention that we did partake in some glorious fried Oreos.


I don't think there's much to the sandbox except that it took a few minutes for him to figure out what was going on. I guess he sat there with both arms and a leg up in the air for a bit, and then he warmed up and dug in.

Laura said...

I'm sorry your fair was such a disappointment. I had the same experience at our State Fair. It just wasn't as good as I remember our county fair being when I was younger. So it could be that we just had a great county fair, or that it doesn't take nearly as much to empress a small child. :)

anna said...

Hello! Fried Oreos. Yeah like a pregnant woman needs to know those exist. Thanks alot.

Jennifer said...

I like the idea of decorating tables for different themes and then judging them, sort of like "best costume" or something. But the nit-picky stuff is for the Martha Stewart wanna-bees. I don't even want to know about the fried Oreos...

Mary Beth said...

These people would definitely be marked down in the table-setting competition for "Lamborghini Gallardo too close to wine goblet." It's resting on four teacups. Thanks to Jay (who was supposed to be grading papers) for the link.

anna said...

Marybeth, somehow i'm not surprised at all by jay finding this link...what is surprising is his resistance to explain why a car can sit on 4 tea cups. I'm sure his class will hear about it though.