Going to The Fair

Slim Randles is back again as today’s Wednesday’s Guest, and I really like this essay about the state fair. I have always loved to go to fairs – the rides, the livestock barns, the funnel cakes, the cotton candy, and have I mentioned the livestock barns?

Not everyone likes to tramp through those hot, smelly buildings looking at horses, cows, sheep, goats, and other animals, but that is always one of my favorite things at the fair. I’d rather do that then go on the rides any day.

So I’m going to grab a piece of this funnel cake and pretend I’m at a fair. Care to join me?



September means pencils and books for the youngsters, but it also means state fair season. That’s when the world’s largest zucchini squash is at its prime, of course. The farm animals are all shed off and shiny and cute, their horns polished to diamond-like perfection by hard-working and hopeful kids.

Going to the state fairgrounds is an annual pilgrimage of sorts, going to another temporary home. We need to touch base with turkey legs, corn dogs and deep fried everything.

We who sport gray in our hair, or no hair at all, can look with relief at that giant slingshot that shoots high school kids into a state fair orbit. It’s a relief because no one expects us to do that. And when we were young enough to actually do that, thankfully the diabolical state fair scientists hadn’t invented the darn thing yet.

Cruising around, you get to see everyone at their best. Best fair-type clothing. Best behavior. Best smiles. If you scowl at any point during a visit to the state fair, you either aren’t trying very hard or someone ran off with your date.

And we make those little secret promises to ourselves, too. You see, we’d love to win a ribbon for making a quilt, or raising an animal, or taking a fabulous photograph or coming up with the best painting in the whole state. But not all of us can do those things.

Maybe there should be some other categories for the rest of us, such as finding a parking spot close to the fairgrounds that doesn’t cost $5.

Practical things.

Or how about a ribbon for not missing a day’s work all year? Or for being a nice guy and always letting other drivers change lanes in front of you.

Somehow, though, we have to be content with just knowing we did those things, so we can feel like a state fair blue-ribbon winner inside.

Do you like to go to the county or state fair where you live? What is your favorite part of the fair? Do share in the comments.


The Home Country radio show with Slim Randles will be coming soon to a radio station near you! New, from Syndication Networks.

Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” that is featured in 370 newspapers across the country. He is also the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press. If you enjoy his columns here, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It has some of the best of his offerings through the years.

2 thoughts on “Going to The Fair”

  1. It has been many years since I went to a county or state fair although I attended many when I was young and in 4-H (sewing). I saw my first rodeo at the county fair near where I live in Northern Colorado, and have attended a couple more since. And here there are some unusual food vendors not usually found in the Illinois fairs I once attended. Haven’t tried Rocky Mountain Oysters…not sure I ever will.

    1. I won’t be trying the Rocky Mountain Oysters any time soon, either. I’ll take someone else’s word for the fact that they are supposed to be quite tasty. LOL

      I still like to go to fairs, although I don’t go as often as I used to. Also love to go to rodeos. There is one here in my small town every year, and I try to make it to that one for sure.

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