The County Fair

It’s county fair time, and I’ll admit I’m a sucker for it, in all of it’s low class redneck glory. Last night I went to the Tuff Car and Truck race, which pits junker cars against each other on a dirt track with a few humps of dirt designed to tear them apart. Cars going over the humps and landing on the concrete blocks lining the track; cars sliding around in circles because they’re driving on mud and grass with bald tires; axles breaking, transmissions blowing, and cars simply pushing slower cars into spins to get them out of the way. Here’s a video clip I found from last year, at our very fairgrounds.

And then there are the carnival rides. Two years ago my friend P.J. and I rode them all, and decided that in our mid-40s we just were too damn old for them. The Freak Out is the most brilliant carnival ride ever conceived. Two years ago I rode it twice and each time felt like a near-death experience, but I know I would have loved it wildly at my daughters’ age. The key is that as the pendulum swings back and forth, the bob–which consists of the riders–are simultaneously spinning around. In this video that doesn’t really become clear until the end, but the one at our fair has considerably more spin, dramatically increasing the up-chuck factor.

Then there is the classic Screamer, a ride I still like even as AARP is preparing my membership card.

Elephant Ears and Funnel Cakes may not be recommended by my doctor, but since I’ve never run into her at the Fair, why not go for it!

And this year we had the odd experience of walking into a big cage filled with parakeets. My oldest soon found herself covered with budgies, and was so enthralled she never wanted to leave. (Her Opa is Dr. Dolittle, instant friend to all animals, and she’s inherited a good bit of that.) Of course we forgot the camera, so there are no pictures of my daughter with furry critters covering both hands and arms, but it was a triumphant moment in county fair history.

The only downside, besides the oppressive humidity (but after about 6 dry weeks we’ve finally had rain; hooray) was the inevitable fashion disaster of adolescent females wearing shorts and cowboy boots. If “What Not to Wear” is still on the air, they should go to any randomly chosen county fair and choose some girls to work with. It might be bad for the trailer park industry, but it would be good for America.

About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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7 Responses to The County Fair

  1. Lance says:

    The Indiana State Fair here in Indianapolis is begins later this week. I haven’t been for quite some time but I might take my wife to see her first State Fair.

    It’s a unique bit of American culture and It will be fun to see it through her eyes, and I have been craving elephant ears and a lemon shake-up.

  2. James Hanley says:

    Don’t forget the world’s largest pig. It ain’t a state fair without pigs.

  3. Lance says:

    If memory serves, and it made somewhat of an impression, the world’s largest pig has what have to be the world’s largest err.. cojones.

    A walk through the livestock barns can be humbling to one’s sexual self image.

  4. AMW says:


    Your footage reminds me of my college days when I attended the Hillsdale County Fair, self-promoted to be “The Most Popular Fair On Earth,” or something to that effect. The demolition derby was very entertaining.

    Incidentally, there are parts of the world where a county fair has zero redneck appeal. Fairfax County’s fair is full of white collar professionals and their fashionable daughters. A bit of a shock, I can tell you.


    You’re comparing apples to oranges, my friend. Look within your own biological Order and you’ll see that you are a masterpiece of masculinity. Relevant reference here. The illustrative figure on page 122 is not to be missed.

  5. James Hanley says:

    AMW, there can’t be many noticeable differences between the Hillsdale and Lenawee County Fairs, given the geographic proximity and socio-economic similarities. Probably the same demolition derby drivers, too.

    As to Fairfax County, I must assert that whatever they may call their shindig, “no true county fair is full of white collar professionals and their fashionable daughters” is a statement of fact, not a fallacy.

  6. AMW says:

    Well, we’ve entered No True Scotsman territory. So I’ll refrain from a rejoinder.

  7. AMW says:

    Oh, and I’m sorry if you missed my commenting for the last couple of weeks (not likely!). I was on my semi-annual vacation near Sisters, Oregon. Drove through Eugene on the way home, too.

    I’ll just let the envy simmer for a little while.

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