On Saturday we made our way to the Mountain State Fair. We started with the two of the basic fair food groups - corn dogs and a blooming onion. It was exquisite. It was then off to see the giant Smokey the Bear. When I say giant, I mean GIANT. This thing is huge and animatronic. There's a guy who sits in a little trailer and controls his movements and voice. A friendly ranger stands next to Smokey and talks to the kids. The conversation is relayed to the guy in the trailer who then makes Smokey talk. So, there was Monkey talking to Giant Smokey like it was an every day, run-of-the-mill experience for her. Monkey loves Smokey the Bear. I wish I had taken a picture of Smokey. I may have to go back to the fair to snap one.
Then we wandered over to the livestock barns, stopping on the way for a pony ride and a meander through the petting zoo. We checked out the 4-H chickens and poultry displays. We gazed at rather cute little Shetland Sheep ( I want them!). We marveled at the gigantic brown eyes and ridiculously long lashes of the llamas. We petted the Sheriff's Mounted Patrol horses.
Then at Monkey's insistence we headed to the Midway and dropped a load of money on ride tickets. We used most of the tickets up on the giant ferris wheel. From the top we could view the whole fair. Monkey proclaimed herself taller than Smokey. We were on top of the world.
We sampled more fair food groups - snow cones and cotton candy. Then we made our way to the garden, food, craft and produce tents. I am so going to enter things and sweep the fair next year. I ignored my friend, Kelley's, urgings to enter the contests. She won two blue ribbons for her perennials. We checked out the jams and pickles, gawked at the giant pumpkins and perused the various quilts, shaws and scarves.
I think my favorite was this, a picture of chickens made out of a multitude of beans and seeds. Fabulous.
Big Daddy was enthralled by the allure of the beekeeping booth and thinks we should get a hive or two. When I suggested this last year, the idea was poo-pooed. After he saw that little queen shaking her thing in the display case, he's under their spell. And as B.D. is so busy working out of state these days, it looks like I'll have to go to Beekeepers School 2006 sponsored by the Buncombe County Beekeepers Chapter and County Extension Services. They apparently have a raffle and 250 lucky new beekeepers get two free hives. I'm sure all those little honey makers will be a good addition to my garden.
We then caught a little of the classic tractor pull, complete with waving American and Confederate flags.
We passed by the chewing tobacco booths, visited the NASA booth for tattoos and stickers (Stickers are Monkey's favorite. She is three after all.), admired the National Guard Apache helicopter and the accompanying NASCAR racing car. I'm not sure why the National Guard sponsors a NASCAR car, but there must be some reason... Then we chatted with the friendly North Carolina Highway Patrolman and his police dog.
We were handed bibles by the Gideons and Jesus Loves You balloons by the Baptists. We picked up a Green Ash seedling and a Smokey the Bear ruler from the Forestry Service (oh, and more tattoos and stickers!). It was hard to drag Monkey away from the PBS Kids tent and all their stickers and characters and tattoos. What is it with the tattoos? The fair is full of free stuff!
We saw the 4-H kids sporting their finest clothes to show their animals. I loved seeing the old folks all dressed up for the fair. I didn't quite realize that so many women still went for the permed hair and straight, big bangs held up by the magic of hairspray look. It was an eye-opener. We spotted more than a few mullets. And there were some scary choices in eye shadow color. And why is it always necessary for some women to wear short shorts when, Lord knows, it's the last thing they should be doing?
We finished off the day with some lemonade and Nachos, completing our consumption of the fair basic food pyramid. Monkey and I both passed out as soon as we got home with sun-flushed cheeks and way too much transfats and sugar in our bloodstreams. I love the fair.