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.