Lake County Fair 2008…

I do not live in Lake County but I have to tell you that their county fair is superior to the Cuyahoga County Fair.  Three years ago S and I discovered the Lake County Fair and we have attended every year since.  Last year was our first trip to the Cuyahoga fair and it was a major disappointment.  And I say this even though the Cuyahoga fair is bigger than the one in Lake County.  A week after the Cuyahoga fair we went back to Lake County and really, it was so much better.  This year we didn’t even bother going to the Cuyahoga County Fair.  What’s the point?

We have been planning our trip to the Lake County Fair all summer long.  I’ve had it marked on the calendar and have been counting down the days.  Yes, it is that exciting.  I’ve been dreaming about the corndogs and the kettle corn.  S has been planning her carnival game strategy for at least two weeks.  Going to the county fair is a big event in our opinion.

I have to make a confession before I get into the meat of this post.  In all of my dreaming and planning for the county fair, I failed to make sure that the batteries for the camera were properly charged.  Damn me.  So, we arrived at the fair with just a tiny bit of battery juice.  I let myself down.  I let S down.  I have let this blog down.  I was not able to take as many pictures as I wanted to.  I was not able to take as many pictures as I usually do.  I am ashamed of myself.

The Lake County Fair is held in Painesville, Ohio.  It’s about a 45 minute drive from our house.  It’s not too long of a drive and it is just enough of a drive to let the excitement build.  I was a little disappointed that the town of Painesville didn’t plan their summer road construction better, as the roads leading to and from the fair were all torn up and strewn with orange barrels.  It made it a little frustrating to get to the fair.  That is really my only complaint for the whole day.

Once we got parked and got into the fair (admission $6) we started in with the food consumption plan.  We arrived with empty stomaches due to good planning.  I started off with a corndog ($3) and had polished off while S was still waiting for her beloved cheese fries ($3), so I got a second corndog.  They were the best corndogs I have ever eaten.  And yes, I say that every summer.  A nice added touch this year, when I ordered a Pepsi ($2) it came with a lid and a straw.  Usually, at amusement parks, zoos and fairs, the beverages come without lids and straws unless you buy the fancy plastic cups, which I usually don’t. 

After we ate, we went through the buildings that house the various comptetions (flower shows, agriculture shows, craft shows, art shows, cake decorating shows, cookie shows, etc.)  Being a week into the fair, the flowers were not much to look at as they were wilted.  Some of the produce that had won prizes had started to shrivel up.  The cookies looked stale after a week on display and the icing on the decorated cakes had begun to crack.  But still, we loved seeing it all.

Oh the jams and jellies…

Not many enterants in the honey competition.

The blue ribbon Jade plant was impressive.  However, it is not nearly as impressive as the Jade plant my grandmother has had for the past 30 years.  Now that she is gone, my mother has offered the plant to me and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  If only I were a resident of Lake County… I would totally rock the Jade competition.

This picture does not capture the true spirit of the Lake County Fair.  Since we got there so early in the day, this picture is missing all of the families that were milling about by the middle of the day.

After seeing the various competitions we moved on to the animal displays.  I have to tell you, I love 4-H clubs.  I did not participate in 4-H when I was a kid but my mother did when she was a kid and the experince sounds wonderful.  We met a little ten year old boy who was display his Jersey calf and he was anxious to tell us all bout the animal and that it was his “buddy”.  So cute.  The 4-H kids totally rock. 

I love the cows.  I got to see a cown stand up and then relieve his bowels and bladder.  Yes, I just said the word “got”.  Some people might not think that was cool, but I did.  Probably I shouldn’t have written that.  Also housed in the cow barn were the goatsS loves the goats.  I love the faiting goats.  I want a goat.  Every time I go to the county fair, I want a farm and I want some goats.  Once I get back to the city, have a hot shower and sleep in the following morning, I am glad that I do not have a farm and goats.

Every year S’s favorite thing at the county fair is the alpaca area.  She is nutty for alpacas.  Not only because they are adorable but because she is a knitter and covets their hair.  Usually I get a ton of pictures of the alpacas and S petting the alpacas, but not this year.  Damned camera batteries.  I only got one picture and it is a bad picture.  This was a particulary shy alpaca and he did not want his picture taken.

That’s a picture of the horse show ring.  We watched the draft horses perform various drills in there.  S does not like horses because they are big and scary.  I don’t like horses much because when I was a kid I had to take riding lessons and got thrown from a horse.  That sucked.

But we both enjoy looking over the miniature horses.  They aren’t big and they aren’t intimidating.  They are especially not intimidating when they have been painted up to be Hippy Horses, like this one. 

Here is a picture of the typical fair-goers.  Cowboy hats rock with the fair-going set.

After we disinfected our hands it was time to work on our second round of fair eating.  I thought S was going to go for an Elephant Ear ($4) but no.  She joined me in sharing our new favorite fair treat, chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick ($5).  It’s a large slice of New York Cheesecake on a stick that is dipped in that hardening chocolate and served ice cold.  I like to think I could eat an entire one by myself, but no freaking way.  Between the two of us, we still ended up throwing almost a third of it away.  It was so good.  Too good.

I don’t know how S forced herself to pass up the food booth that served everything deep fried – candy bars, Oreo’s, Tinkies and Little Debbie cakes.  I think it was the cheesecake that stopped he.  She is a tiny person but she can really pack away the fried foods.  We did bring home a bag of kettle corn ($5) and a candied apple ($4), which is also a tradition.  We were too full to eat them until late in the evening.

We only played two games even though we usually play many more than that.  The first game was a mistake because it ruined S’s day.  I encouraged her to play the guess your age/weight game ($3) because she only weighs about 100 lbs (soaking wet, as Neighbor Teacher would say) and even though she will be thirty this year, she still gets asked for her student ID by the security guards where she teaches.  I knew we would “win” the guess your age game.  She was resistant, but finally gave in to my pleading. 

The man running the game took about a minute to figure out his answer.  During that time he kept looking at me and my full head of grey hair.  I think he guessed older because she was with me and I look older than I am.  He ended up guessing 33 and we won a prize (a green ball for Emma’s enjoyment).  For the rest of the day S was salty because she really likes looking like a youngster. 

That game put a damper on the day.  We played one other game which was guess your fast ball ($5).  S impressed me by throwing at 32 mph.  I threw at 39 mph.  But we didn’t guess properly, so we didn’t win anything.  Okay, second complaint of the day… the woman running the fast ball game was talking on her cell phone and smoking a cigarette when we approached the game.  We had to wait for her to end the call, but not put out her smoke, before she would take our money and hand us a baseball.  Annoying.

It was yet another beautiful day and a great day for being at a county fair, but the sun really beat us into submission.  We only managed to stay at the fair for three hours yesterday and today my face and feet are a little sun burned.  S took a long nap as soon as we got home and we were too worn out to take our nightly walk last night.  Good fun, but exhausting fun.

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