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Ribbons, Rides, and Rednecks-It’s Fair Season!

It’s fair season and it’s safe to say our redneck family loves a good fair.

My husband goes for the turkey legs, the kids go for the pig races, and I go for the crafts and livestock. It’s an eclectic mix of agriculture, art and crafts, fun, hobbies, animals, and rednecks. The state fair. The best of what the state has to offer, put on display for admiration and pride. It’s an almost forgotten pastime of many modern day families, with the pace of life being that of a sprint instead of a slow stroll. With no county fair of our own, we made the annual trip to the state fair so our kids could participate in the fair experience. Growing up without a county fair, I never knew what I was missing until my husband filled me in on all the fun and learning I had not experienced as a child and teen.

My husband participated in the fair with everything from biscuit baking, welding projects, to livestock showing. A lover of all things 4-H and FFA, he was never without something to enter or some exhibit to be involved with. Of course the prizes and money were great motivation, but the sportsmanship, hard work, preparation, and practical skills that helped a pudgy city kid who didn’t really have a place, find his way in life, will always be invaluable. This love of the fair and the nostalgia that it brings is what he has shown me over the years of being married to a “fair lover”. We usually attend several local county fairs, but we always make time for a trip to the state fair.

We visited the state fair this weekend complete with my fresh 7 week old baby and the 90 degree heat. Somewhere along the way, I purged all my baby stuff and sent the stroller to Goodwill. No worries, I have one of those fancy wrap things. I honestly do love the wrap, and use it so much, but it’s like having an extra coat on, plus you have the built in little 10 pound heater laying on your chest. The reason we went on this particular day was because it was opening day of the fair and my husband is on the state fair board, and they have a special opening ceremony. It’s always a lot of fun, and this year was no different, but it was a little more….interesting. We started with a walk through the livestock barn, which is one of my favorites, but this day my daughter and I both stepped in a fresh cow pile. No big deal, we’ll rub it off in the grass, but not before she proceeded to try to “flick” it off with her fingers hence getting it all over her and her hands.🙄

We had a meet and greet little thing in one of the exhibit halls where they give out lemonade sugar, cotton candy sugar, and caramel corn sugar. So we all get good and hyped up on sugar and the husband has to “talk” to ALL the people and do his political thing. I’m trying to keep my animals kids reigned in because you know, kidnapping, and it’s not going too well. I’m starting to sweat. I’ve got 7 kids. One is strapped on to me, so that’s good, but 2 are fighting, like literally punching each other. The turd toddler has no idea about stranger danger and is running up to every person he sees, and asking if they want to see his boo-boo (he got burned by a campfire a week ago and has a nasty scab). The others are going in 3 different directions. I’m starting to feel the sideways glances. They are downing lemonade left and right and spilling more popcorn than we get in our mouths, which I feel responsible to clean up, because I’m a rule follower. I’m really starting to question my confidence in handling all this. And why did I wear a skirt? The lowest point was the 3rd time I had to take the toddler to the bathroom for a spanking a nice lady walked in on me giving him a lecture. 🤦‍♀️

We go to the opening ceremony and where does the husband pick for us to sit? Oh yeah, the front row. So we trapse up front and I feel like everyone is staring at us. There’s not enough seats for all of us so my 4 year old sits on my lap (with the baby still strapped in front of me). Now, you have to know, my son points with his middle finger. I don’t know why, but I’ve never really corrected it. He has no idea what it means and I figured he would grow out of it. Well, he gets bored and starts talking. Y’all my kids talk SO loud. I literally had their hearing tested last week because I thought they might have hearing loss. They talk so loud! Also, we talk about alot of different topics and people and places in our home, but apparently we don’t get out as much as I thought. He keeps waving his finger around pointing and saying “Look, Mama, she’s got bigger milkers than you!” 🤦‍♀️😂 I about died! I didn’t even try to reign in the craziness. I just laughed and enjoyed my wild children. They also wanted to know how that man got his hair all twisted up like that? (dread locks) Why there were so many different colors of people in big cities? What is a badonka donk? Why are there so many people wearing capes and hoods? (burkas) Look at that lady showing her belly, she’s older than you! And why did karaoke always sound so bad? If you happened to see 7 kids and a train wreck of a mama last night at the fair, and my kids offended you, I’m sorry. They really are just observant and curious! 😂. Moral of the story, we may need to get out more and I always need my husband’s help in crowds! (Or we need some of those leash backpack things). We thankfully made it through the opening ceremony and spent the rest of the night a little more leisurely- eating more sugar, looking at all the exhibit and crafts, and riding carnival rides until 11PM! Plus all the kids won at least one ribbon for their entries so we call that a win!

On a side note, one thing I have noticed is that people don’t attend fairs like they use to. It is a little bit of a drive for people in our neck of the woods to go to the state fair, and most have a county fair, but where is everyone? Busy. I know, we are too. It just gets that way whether you want it to or not. What used to be a huge event to be looked forward to and anticipated, is now barely even mentioned outside of a 20 mile radius of the host town. I get it, you’ve got soccer and campouts and schoolwork and businesses to run. Oh wait, that’s us! 😂 I guess it’s what the fair represents that makes it seem so special. A time passed when things were simpler and it didn’t take so much to impress us. We didn’t go out to eat every other meal so getting that corndog or caramel corn was a big deal. Kid’s knew how to use their imagination and make stuff, even if it was terrible pottery. Teenagers weren’t too cool to get dirty, and trained and cared for animals for months in preparation for a show. You didn’t go somewhere every weekend for entertainment, so the scrambler ride at the fair was a big thrill.

I know you are busy, I know there’s quite a few rednecks walking around in their Nascar T-shirts, I know your kids are going to want to ride $400 worth of rides, I know it’s people-y out there, I know some of the arts and crafts are ugly, I know you may not care about Farmer Bob’s 11,000 lb pumpkin, but give it a chance. If you are lucky enough to have a county fair, don’t take it for granted, encourage your kids to participate, I promise you both will be glad you did. Embrace all the people, especially us rednecks, step back into a time when fun was simpler, and spend some “slow” time with your family this fair season. Despite my circus, I was so glad I went and I think you will be too!

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