Monday, September 20, 2010

Western North Carolina Mountain State Fair

'Tis the season for the Mountain State Fair. I hadn't been to a fair in, oh, maybe 35 years, give or take a bit. But absence makes the heart grow fonder (or something like that ...), and the weather was going to be perfect, and we thought it'd be fun to see what this one's like. So we got with our friends Darryl and Jennifer and off we went.

Bottom line: it was a hoot! We wandered around and looked at Brahma bulls, antique tractors, grade-school art shows, a 750-pound pumpkin, dozens of quilts, different kinds of chickens, the horses of the Henderson County Mounted Patrol, and a variety of crafters. We people-watched. We ate really fine fair-food, including corn dogs, gyros, popcorn, ribbon fries, soft-serve ice cream, and frozen-cheesecake-dipped-in-chocolate-on-a-stick. Not all at once, but all of which was, surprisingly, pretty good. We people-watched some more. We listened to barkers trying to get people into their rigged games. We saw some guy get shot out of a cannon. We people-watched some more. And we rode some rides.

My choice was the Cyclops. Look in the picture above. You see that thing with an arm sticking out and something round at the end? That's Cyclops. The arm is a pendulum about 30 feet long, and at the end are the seats arranged in a circle. The pendulum swings you back and forth, from 30 feet in the air on one side to 30 feet in the air on the other, with the circle spinning wildly the whole time. So one minute you're staring face down at the ground way below you, then you're being whipped around and down and back up again and you're never ever going to come down and you're all just going to DIE.

I said a lot of very bad words.

When it was over, I couldn't even walk straight. Cyclops - it's my new favorite ride!

But all the rides weren't so violent. We cruised over the fairgrounds on a chairlift, looking down at all the crowds down below, listening to the barkers and kids and the screams coming from various rides, smelling cotton candy and hot dogs.

High-brow it's not. But there's a refreshing honesty about a fair. There's some hucksterism and showing off, of course, but it's really all about having fun. We certainly did our part. And we'll go back next year. Don't want to wait another 35!

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