A Fair to Remember – Epilogue

This is the time of year when one of the most anticipated events in rural Ohio occurs— Brown County Fair time. It is referred to by the natives as the “Little State Fair,” and is one of the most well attended county fairs in the whole of Ohio.

I wrote about my first foray into county fair-dom back in 2002 when I was a stringer for the News Democrat in Georgetown, Brown County’s seat of government. That article has been making the rounds of print and online publications ever since then.

Consider this an epilogue.

I once again attended the fair this year—2009—on Friday evening, and thoroughly enjoyed the Veterans program with my friend Beth McKenzie. But that’s not the event of which I write, stirring as it was, and as thankful as I am to the veterans and troops

My youngest daughter, Samantha, who is now a senior at Xavier University, called me Friday afternoon, asking me to go to the fair with her, as her best friend was not able to attend. Sam graduated from a Brown County high school—Eastern Brown—and has never missed spending at least one day at the fair since she was in elementary school.

Thrilled to be asked to spend an evening with my daughter, I gladly agreed to go with her.

Friday night was the first decent evening of the entire week—clear as a bell, whereas it had rained most of the other evenings. Subsequently, the fair was packed. Parking became practice for Sam’s future in international conflict resolution. I’m sure shouting out the car window, “Hey you! That was my spot!” will come in handy. However, if she should decide to become a Nascar driver, she will also have all the necessary skills. Disclaimer: No small children or animals were harmed in our mad scramble to beat all the F-350s and Chevy Duallys vying for the same parking space.

Sam and I had already outlined our plan for the evening: “Eat our way through the fair.” Anyone who knows anything about county or state fairs knows that there is nothing on the planet like fair food—it’ll kill you if you eat it every day, or every week, for that matter, but once or twice a year, you have got to indulge.

We started with the greasy, salty, skinny fries served up in a paper cup. Since we were walking while we ate them, the calories were cancelled out. Followed closely behind the fries was the ¼ lb. of chocolate/peanut butter fudge. You see, you have to alternate salty and sweet. It’s a rule. I read it somewhere. We took a half-hour off to chat with long-time but rarely seen friends—Sam’s being old high school friends—mine being former readers from my days with the News Democrat and Ripley Bee.

Now it was time for the blooming onion—a humongous breaded and deep-fried marvel. We figured this fulfilled our vegetable requirement. The hefty gentleman whose arms were covered in hot grease burns, took a shine to my 21-year-old daughter.

Sam: “Can I also get a Sierra Mist?”

Onion frying guy: “Here ya go. It’s on the house . . . beautiful.”

I was much closer to this man’s age, but sadly(not), I went unnoticed.

We watched the pretty horses running around the ring show while eating our onion. We also picked up our favorite phrase of the evening: “Lettum know ye lak em”—this bellowed out by the announcer calling commands at the horse show.

Oddly, the announcer would also bellow. “Willya jowg em”—a command, apparently, and not a question. I thought it meant, “Will you choke them” and did not quite understand since a horse does not have a choke, nor did anyone dismount and proceed to strangle the animal. Sam figured out, finally, that it meant “Will you jog them” which seems obvious to me now, but at the time I had so much grease in my system, my brain cells were gooping together.

We took another gastronomical break to watch the tractor pull. This is a strange event and Sam wondered while we watched these eight and nine-thousand pound tractors pulling this behemoth of a vehicle, which apparently weighs like five million pounds, “How does someone practice for this event?” Which, when you think of it, is a really good question. The longest “pull” was 333 feet, when Sam and I decided we needed to eat again.

Bellowed by grumpy man over fair loudspeaker on the way out of tractor pull field: “Jerry Swigert, report to the port-o-lets!”

I have no clue why.

So we’d done the salty, sweet, and salty again, so now it was time for sweet. The dilemma: elephant ears? funnel cake? cinnamon roll the size of Toledo? deep-fried Snickers? or. . . Yes!—the chocolate covered crème horn!

Now, we are not gluttons; we split one crème horn. Yet, that was enough to send us both into sugar delirium. We “drunkenly” stumbled dangerously close to the hefty gentleman whose arms were covered in hot grease burns at the blooming onion booth, but our free will won out and we swerved toward the Western Brown Wrestler’s booth and I literally choked out the word, “Water!”

Sam then decided she just had to touch the dead, frozen, and eyeless pig laid out in the pulled pork booth waiting roasting.

By 11pm, nausea, bloating, acne, greasy hair, and diabetes was setting in, so we weaved our way along the horse excrement-brick road through other like-afflicted fair-goers, while Sam chanted, “Look into the pig’s eyes,” and managed to find Sam’s probably illegally parked car, and headed for the neon lights of home.

The crash from my sugar and grease high came at four o’clock this morning. A 16- ounce glass of water, and three cups of Italian Roast coffee, followed by two loads of laundry to get the mud and poo off my clothes, and I am good to go.

Lettum know ye lak em.

Published in: on October 3, 2009 at 3:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

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