Sunday, August 14, 2011

Aug. 14: Not Where We Thought We Would Be

Most of you have heard about the terrible tragedy at the Indiana State Fair last night. An incredible, horrible storm brought down the grandstand stage, killing 5 people and hospitalizing 40. Today stories are emerging of heroic fairgoers working to help trapped people and to create order in chaos.

We were scheduled to be at the Indiana Fair today but the fair was closed for the day to acknowledge the tragedy, and rightly so.

My driver drove on and we ended up at the Illinois State Fair earlier than planned. We drove through rain to get to it, but the weather at the fair was perfect with blue skies, hot temperatures, and cooling breezes.

This is the third of the four fairs we've attended that has had a sky ride. We took the ride over the fairgrounds in Wisconsin, but haven't in Ohio or here. The price is reasonable at $6 for a return ride and the ride carries you across the whole fairground.

Each of the fairs has had large commercial exhibit buildings and this is the one from this fair. The fairs still have large agricultural and carnival components, but the vendors that sell items are unending.

And what is it about state fairs and life-size cows made of butter? This is the second I've seen and the Iowa fair still to come advertises that it too has a butter cow. I took photos of this butter cow from all angles and thought you would like this angle best! At least this fair didn't have a sign saying the butter would be recycled.

One of the cool things about this fair is its ethnic area which has food booths from different cultural backgrounds. I ate from the French one and Bob ate from the German one. Once again we resisted the more absurd fair foods.

Yes, Bob King, lifetime lover of Coca Cola, had no desire to try the deep fried Coke. I don't blame him.

Instead we headed to one of the agricultural booths where you could get a quarter of a watermelon for $2. We shared. This was also the booth that sold "egg on a stick" for $1. Stuck into styrofoam there was an empty stick and a sign that said, "Please do not take this egg. It is for display purposes only." Now I picture the missing egg being eaten by a less-than-intelligent thief who has not figured out that the egg was probably touched by a 100 grubby fingers.

I checked out the quilts while Bob went over to the carnival. They were displayed unusually in that they were layered behind glass with only about a 12" length of each one showing. The only one totally viewable was the Best of Show. It was exquisite with a combination of applique, embroidery, crochet, and quilting.

Should Bob and I be tired of fairs yet? We're not. In fact, we are sad that we have only one more scheduled and by tomorrow evening that one too will just be a memory.

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