Â “It hit me that being hip was a full-time job, and I was only a part-timer. I couldn’t hide forever that I liked county fairs, particularly the goat booth at the 4-H tent, or that I once spent a week with my grandmother at her house in the giant retirement community of Sun City, Arizona, and it was one of the most carefree times of my life.”
Author: Jancee Dunn
It had rained overnight, and the parking lot looked like a sea of refried beans. I pulled into the closest thing to a dry chunk of land, grabbed my handy-dandy blue tote, and schlepped towards the building that held my photography entries. Ah, the county fair! A bastion of sensory delights and, at times, sensory frights.
Eyes: The colors. Brightly colored tents. Carnival rides with flashing lights and whirly things. People dressed in an array of summer stylesâ€”some more current than others, some more questionable than othersâ€”but endlessly interesting.
Ears: Music drifts in and out as you walk along. Some of it is live from a bandstand near enough to the beer tent to make staying worthwhile, or necessary, some of it recorded to enhance the rides and pitch-persons selling their wares. People laughing, arguing, and reconnecting. â€œWhy Bob! You old son of a beeyatch! How have ya been?â€
Smell: Wafting scents of hot dogs, hamburgers, and other fried delights. There are also the odors coming from over-filled trash containers, the animal exhibits, and sweaty folks who may have stayed in the sun a bit too long.
Touch: Rough, multi-painted, benches strategically placed to provide a respite when the kids are on their 35th ride. The cool drips coming off the paper cup holding your drink of choice, or the ice cream cone that is melting faster than the last New Yearâ€™s resolutions. There is the magic of touching the velvet muzzle of a horse waiting in the stall, or the bristly back of a hog snuffling for food in his tiny exhibit pen.
Taste: Taste goes hand in hand with smell. As soon as you enter the fairground area, the first whiff of fried anything gets the salivary glands going. Youâ€™re glad you opted for the stretchy-waisted Capri’s even though the ensemble gets you silent votes for â€œmost likely to wear a fanny pack and sturdy beige shoes.â€ Some food choices are good and perennial, some are fads, but all beckon with scent tendrils aimed directly at your taste buds.
Hippity-Hopping through mud puddles I, at last, arrive at my destination. A handwritten sign says they will not let you pick up your entries until five p.m. I put down my tote and take in a deep breath. This sensory mayhem will bolster me in January when Iâ€™m staring through a window laced with frost. I take in another breath and realize that being in the moment is the best part of my day.