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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My fair, Matey

We love to go the county fair every year. This year, after our long hunt for a parking spot led us into a bit of a no-man's land, we entered the fairgrounds from a different vantage point. My 7-year-old son piped up as soon as he realized the livestock pens were first in our path.

"Oh, good! This is the place we go to see the goats eat their blue ribbons!" he exclaimed, running ahead.

Yes, yes, County Fair 2013, I remember thee well. That was the year we rounded a bend just in time to see a goat stand on its hind feet, crane its neck and with stick-his-tongue-out concentration snag in its teeth the blue ribbon hanging from the top of the pen's gate.

What a sight! We were thrilled, but I was a bit blue myself that I didn't have a camera to capture the scene -- for I knew it could have been quite the photo. (My camera was broken and I didn't have a quality cell phone.) It still makes me sad thinking about this lost photo opportunity. Kind of like when my husband and I, in college, were driving around town and I spied a bride and groom in their fancy clothes using the car wash to remove the whipped cream "Just Married" from their vehicle. "Stop the car!" I urged my husband. Nah, he said, and drove on. Here's the stickler: he was a photography intern at the newspaper at the time. (Has he ever liked my ideas?)

Anyway, I guess I've recited the story of the blue ribbon munching-goat enough that my kids know I'm on the prowl for the quirky. That's part of the fun.

Sleepy black bunny that nibbled its ribbon some time ago? Ho-hum. Not the same as catching in the act!

I'm not sure what to make of the curling iron and combs and brushes in the vacant animal pen. Was it to doll up the sheep or the sheep's owner before the show?

If you look at the railing in front of my husband (on the left) you can see a blue ribbon detached from its yellow cord. Must not have tasted as good.

I like how intently goats return your gaze.

Goats! I love them.

One thing I adore about our fair is the petting area, and the chance for my children to approach and feed the animals. My son has struggled with anxiety -- it touches this momma's heart to see his unbridled happiness (and pixelated smile) at interacting with the animals.

The fair helps us learn about unusual livestock breeds, such as the Watusi, native to Africa:

and a B.W. Whiskers, a big-horned alpine goat:

The sign next to his pen says he thinks he is better than the rest of the goats in the herd. No kidding!

Our county fair made my daughter's elephant-riding dream come true.

There are chickens of course:

and fun facts:

and also huckster-style sideshows, like a touted tiny horse and gigantic pig, both behind curtains (we didn't see):

If you haven't gone to a fair before, give it a look. Check here for a website that will help you find one. I hope you will have as much fun as we do each year.

 Carnival ride (light rings) photo specs: ISO 100, f/9, bulb setting with shutter held open for 1.3 seconds.

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