Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Adventures at the County Fair

So I write for the paper...and me being the only Californian and a decade younger than everyone else in the newsroom is a dangerous concoction that often results in "let's see if she'll really do it" stories... Here' s my county fair story. Courtesy of the Brainerd Dispatch:

I'm new in town. Well, I've lived here a year, but this summer is my first genuine experience at the Crow Wing County Fair. I guess it would be fair to call me a fair rookie.

Before I ventured out to the county fairgrounds I took some advice from some long-time locals about the must-do's at the fair. Being the adventurous California-native that I am, I thought I'd take them up on their suggestions and really go for it.

The first thing I learned is to check the calendar. It wasn't until I showed up at the fair on Monday afternoon, and found the fairgrounds strangely quiet, that I learned it didn't actually start until Tuesday.

My second attempt was definitely more exciting. The air smells like a mix of cinnamon and sugar and manure depending on which way the wind blows. It actually made me pretty hungry.

One thing I was told I had to try was an Oofda taco. I'm part Scandinavian, and part Latino, so an Oofda taco has to be pretty decent. It turns out you really can fry just about anything and it tastes good.

I had big plans to eat my way through the fair exhibits, but I tapped out pretty early. I did, however, have a glass of ice cold chocolate milk and an elephant ear. Or is it a monster ear? I think it depends on who you ask.

Filling myself with fried sugary goodness forced me to take a break and check out some of the exhibits. I figured the Fine Arts building would be a safe haven. I thought wrong. There are award-winning cookies and breads and candies on display. That's what I call "fine art." If they are looking for judges for the 2011 fair, I am definitely volunteering.

I have to be honest, I'm not typically a farm animal enthusiast. It's nothing against them- I'm just a city girl. Things with hooves tend to intimidate me. I did, however, brave the animal exhibits and made some new fuzzy, and feathery, friends. Except for one baby pig that tried to eat my finger. I survived, but I don't think I'll be hanging out with him again.

After my run in with the livestock, I made my way to the produce exhibit where I found a two-foot-long zucchini. Being a gardener myself, I just want to know how in the world that squash got so big while mine peaked at just a few inches. I tried to find out what the secret is, but nobody seems to want to let me in on it. Give me a few years- I might have my own monster squash at the fair.

Finally, I followed the best advice I received before tackling the fair- don't forget your Fleet Farm T-shirt. I stood in line with dozens of other fairgoers to play the Fleet Farm game. I didn't realize you had prize options. I could have walked away with $5 worth of Fleet Farm cash, but I opted for the shirt. In case you haven't been yet, it's orange this year.