Monday, August 09, 2010

Guest Blogger Ray Goes to the Clearfield County Fair, Part I

My friend Ray in Pennsylvania sends this. Ray is a professional photographer. His web site is Beimel PhotographicsPart II tomorrow:

August is fair and festival month in Pennsylvania. Sweet corn month too. But first, fair talk. The Clearfield County fair is one of the larger ones (I think the Crawford County Fair is the largest) in the state and it's just 35 miles away. Finding myself with a craving for fresh cut french fries doused with malt vinegar and laced with Old Bay Spice, I went down into the Valley and over Penfield Mountain (home of the worst weather and highest point on Interstate 80 east of the Mississippi) and into Clearfield. I suppose there is some back way to the fairgrounds but I don't now where it is so I entered where everyone else was entering. This was a stop and go thing for perhaps 20 minutes. I discovered why. There was only one girl selling admissions and the back way to the fair ended up at the same place as the front way. But what's a little wait when there are fries to be had.

     My parking space was in the equine exercise area, mercifully picked free of road apples. The shortest way to the fairgrounds was through the sheep barn. I stopped to admire some of the bleaters, many buffed and shorn or about to be.

Then I remembered, oh yeah, I am very allergic to hay. Many sheep were not admired. My first purchase is the aforementioned fries. They are good, just the thing to start off a night of injudicious eating while wandering about observing humanity in the cloak of invisibility that is being a tall middle aged single man with a big camera. Yes, for all practical purposes I was invisible. A few people, usually cute teenage girls, would smile at me if I made eye contact. For the rest, they did not see me.

     A fair like this is a phantasmagoria of foods you shouldn't eat. This is pretty heavy talk coming from a guy who just enjoyed a cup full of fries. I submit some evidence.

     No doubt there are some of my readers who like funnel cake and other such fried dough things and I apologize in advance if I offend anyone's dietary comfort food. But seriously, white dough fried and then covered with sugar or some other such thing? See dyspepsia. Even something supposedly healthy like an apple can be taken to a place where the wise fruit eater would hesitate to go.

    And then there is Monkey Bread. Monkeys are cute, bread is good, how can baked white dough covered with sugar be a bad thing? After all, the motto on the trailer says "So good it'll make you go ape!"

     I have a fondness for Philly style cheese steaks so I got one from this pleasant looking server. She called me honey. In turn, I said "Thanks Sugar" as she handed me the sandwich. She did not smile at that. It was a good cheese steak. Not as good as the ones Brad made for us in the caboose but then again, Brad never calls me "Honey."

    There is another component of the fair besides eating too much. This is still an agricultural fair and thus there are a lot of animals. Sometimes it is easy to forget there are still farmers out there. There was a heap of chickens, all sizes and colors, stacked two high, two wide, 6 rows altogether, each row maybe 80 feet long. It is hard to get chickens to hold still in the low light there. It is also a noisy place as each rooster has to announce his presence constantly, kind of like Harley riders.

     And there were rabbits and ducks as well. Of course, these were all raised for food but I didn't tell them that.

     The rabbits were looking kind of nervous but come to think of it, if you are a rabbit, you have much to be nervous about. You don't really have a lot of friends out there. Did you ever stop to think about how many other creatures eat rabbits? And what can I say about the twisted soul who would breed ducks to get that look? I hope he tastes good. What with all the edible creatures in that long shed, this sign at the entrance just made good sense. I can only imagine Jackson getting in there. He would turn himself inside out not know which cage to attack first.

     Milk cows always seem to have a better outlook on life than beef cattle. One might call this brown eyed lovely appealing, if one were a bull. She can look forward to many days of having milk sucked out of her by some mechanical vacuum device. Cows seem to like getting milked but they never really say anything about it.
Part Two tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. Lucie in Newburyport10:38 AM, August 09, 2010

    That was fun! Tell Ray thanks. It's almost time for the Topsfield Fair, isn't it? Can't wait for that.


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