I’m currently celebrating Labor Day through an involuntary vow of semi-silence. Head colds are great, especially when they bring their friend laryngitis along with them.

Okay, enough about me.  On to the Fair, as promised!

It had rained most of yesterday afternoon so, by the time we arrived at the fairgrounds, the crowds had waned comparatively. It was quite cool, and the usual dust that permeates the atmosphere at events such as this was not present. It was replaced, however, by the wonderfully billowing clouds of smoke from the barbecued Hawaiian Chicken booth. I wish I’d gotten a photo of it– their grilling rack was quite impressive. They were grilling whole sides of chicken, twenty at a time, on a three gigantic spits.

We didn’t go to the food court at first, though. We waded through it to get to the Schools exhibition building. My old high school had a display up, and we won several prizes, including a few blue ribbons and a Best of Show! My dear friend-cum house sister won a red ribbon. Bravo, Kory!

Next we went [I dragged everyone] to the Home Ec building, because I love drooling over the beautiful knitted, sewn, beaded, and quilted object on display in there. The only thing I took a picture of in there, though, was the collection of rather bizarre sock-monkeys.

Bu there were other really neat things, including a beaded pizza and a dress made entirely out of Fair and Horse Show ribbons. Classy!

At the Home Ec building our little group ran into a friend of mine, who’d had her face painted to look like a cat’s. Jenni, an exchange student from Thailand and a friend of Kory’s, wanted to get her’s done too. On our journey to try and find the face painting booth, we traveled [I dragged everyone] through several of the animal buildings, including Swine, Poultry, Rabbits, Llamas, and Goats. I love looking at all of the animals. I didn’t get very many pictures through here because animals move too fast for my poor little camera, and I had to turn off the flash, which made most of my pictures come out blurry. Boo.

I liked this llama, though. He was a real sweetheart.

Oh yeah, we also saw some shirtless guys juggle torches. The suspenders over the bare chest are, apparently, the height of carnie fashion.

After searching fruitlessly for the face painting booth for about an hour or so we were all hungry, so we made a beeline for the beating heart– or should I say gurgling stomach?– of the fair: the food court. I made a promise to myself to try a deep-fried Twinkie this year, and have photo evidence to prove it. Omnomnom.

How was it? To quote Anthony Bourdain from the Las Vegas episode of No Reservations, it was “twinktastic”. Really, it was like a not very cakey doughnut with strangely light filling, coated in powdered sugar. Not bad, but the guilt of eating this heart-attack waiting to happen vastly outweighed any positive reviews I could give it. It’s kind of fun to be able to say “I ate a deep-fried Twinkie onna stick at the County Fair”, though. Brings up my redneck street-cred, yo.

Also, Jenni had her first corndog ever. She was deeply horrified by how much more everything costs here than it does in Thailand. I can’t really blame her, though the fair isn’t a very accurate demonstration of most food prices here in the USA. The fair is a deeply magical place where you can buy anything, from a tube filled with colored sand to a tee-shirt with your girlfriend’s name airbrushed onto it, where a menagerie of strange and wonderful animals (*cough*llamas*cough*earlessgoats*cough*guineapigs*cough*) are paraded before your very eyes, and where, for no apparent reason other than the fact that poor saps like us will pay for it, a corndog costs four dollars. God bless America.

I also had an ear of corn, as penitence for my deep fried Twinkie. Mmmmm, butter flavored oil and piles of paprika…

Following the mellodious sound of an accordian, mingling with a scratching washboard, a violin, a guitar, and a stand-up bass, we found the Variety Stage, where The Bears and the Bees, a local klezmer/country/folk group was performing. I love this group so much! The fact that several of it’s members friends of mine doesn’t taint my opinion in any way (honest, it doesn’t) when I say that they’re one of the best bands I’ve ever heard play live. The lead singer and guitarist, Mary Kate, also plays the saw. How awesome is that? The music is so highstrung and crazy– it’s great to dance to. They put on an excellent show, interspersing their repertoir of both original songs and covers with short circus acts of balancing and hula-hooping (it’s a word now, okay?) accompanied by live music from the other band members.

(Anna, here seen hula-hooping, also plays percussion on the washboard, cymbals, and drum. She rules!)

A great show, and a great fair. So I didn’t go on any rides, so what? I do regret it a little, but they could only have made it better.

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(PS to Flagstaff residents: Upcoming Bears and the Bees shows! 9/12/08- 8 pm to midnight at the Oak Creak Brewing Co. in Sedona, 9/13/08- 3:20 pm at Pickin’ In The Pines, 9/14/08- time TBA at the Sustainable Living Fair in Thorpe Park. Contact them, or hear them play at The Bears and the Bees on MySpace. Hope to see you there!)

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