Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Oiv'e Gotta Brand New Combine Harvester...

Photo via Union Farm Equipment

Last night Country Mouse and I headed inland a piece to pay a visit to the Union Fair. It was demolition derby night, which meant that the traffic was heavy and the fairgrounds heaving with people but as we were there for the livestock and the fair food it really didn't matter to us.

As usual the fairground was thronged with some of the largest people on planet earth, rides that looked like they were last serviced during the Eisenhower administration, a surfeit of hand-knitted mittens, and gigantic ram gonads at every turn. Country Mouse's well-tuned instinct for self-preservation kept us off the ferris wheel and the parachute chairs and although I had pledged to ride the dodgems prior to arrival the fact that I would have been at least 15 years older than my fellow drivers and thus would have looked vaguely creepy out there under the sparking cables kept me walking the midway.

Half way through my gigantic keilbasa it dawned on me that I had paid $7 admission so that I could pay $6 for a sausage. Country Mouse calling the keilbasa "The Girth" wasn't aiding digestion any, but I did finish it all, even the peppers and onions, and only managed to get the minimum of mustard on my shirt. My later nightcap of french fries was made all the more tasty thanks to the addition of hot pepper vinegar, a condiment I think I'll have to search out or rustle up on my own. The habenero tang of the vinegar certainly helped keep my mind off the fact that we were sharing our picnic table with what appeared to be a couple of members of the Future Meth Heads of America and their ladyfriend who seemed intent on using her limited feminine whiles to scam as many free portions of fries as possible. I was certainly stuffed to the gills when we left but one of the things I love about the fair is the relativist self-image possibilities. No matter how much I ate I was always going to be one of the slimmest people there.

The livestock as always were facinating, the sheep and poultry especially taking me back to my rural youth, along with the barnyard air. I was very happy to see two exhibits by youngsters in particular; one a painting in the art competition of a greyhound in an admiral's coat in the style of Jamie Wyeth, and an art project by a 4H adolecent sheep farmer in which he attempted to paint pictures of his farm in the styles of various impressionists. Oh, and I also liked the colored pencil on scrap paper rendition of "Deviltopia", a scribbled rendition of hell by a deliriously odd 8-and-under kid which had drawn second prize from the judges.

Going to the fair always gets me thinking about carnies. Last night I found myself thinking about how the whole thing works: do they lease the booths and rides and buy the prizes, darts, etc at a discounted rate from the fair-company like a gang of fried-dough sharecroppers? And where do all the Kid Rock-alikes stay when on the road? I imagine the more established carnies and carny management have their own RVs and campers (you see them scattered around the perimeter) but do junior carnies have to provide their own digs or does the midway operator own campers that serve as mobile dorms or bunkhouses? And what sort of vision of hell-on-earth would the interior of a single men's carnie dorm camper be? Questions,questions...

Another year at the fair has passed without me buying a tractor or Country Mouse bringing home a couple of bantams and a piglet. The Maine fair season runs until the Fryeburg in October however, so there is still time for that to change.

7 comments:

country mouse said...

I crack myself up!

weasel said...

Thank you for winning me a plush shark toy with the grabber.

Mrs R said...

C. Mouse promised to win me some clothes at the fair...still crossing my fingers for a sparkling tube top.

weasel said...

I was bummed that they didn't have "Hangin' With Grandpa" t-shirts in adult sizes. Nothing would freak my grandfather out more than me showing up in that.

I thought the couple in just purchased, matching "If I Gave A Shit It Would Be To You" shirts over their street clothes won the prize for most obliviously offensively dressed.

Weasel's little bruva said...

Total investment of $13 for the "Girth" sounds good value to me. I once forced the Fabster to pay the admission to a fair for the two of us on the off chance there was a hog roast. There wasn't and I promptly left having wasted 10 quid, and not even getting to go toe to trotter with a roasted pig.

The whole point of shows is the eating, nothing was sweeter than working at the Royal Norfolk - Free Admission with lunch and dinner vouchers thrown in which could be spent at the pig pit.

ms.bri said...

I would like a piglet.

weasel said...

Trouble with piglets, as CM and I were discussing last night while looking at a pen of cute little Wilburs and Babes, is that they grow up to be bigolpigs (one word in Norfolk english). Our friends R & P have one called Hambone and he has apparently gone from being adorable to being an asshole. Cue me leaning on gate chewing imaginary stalk of straw, saying vaguely rural things about the inevitability of such change, etc, etc.

Still Bri, if the pig gets to big and surly, it reads as if my brother would offer you 10 quid to cook and eat it.

And Bruvva; you would have loved the Katahdin hair sheep; a Maine breed being marketed as "great eating, no problem wool". As for my culinary delights last night, given the shady nature of itinerant fair food folks I wouldn't be surprised if my sausage was made from long pig rather than pork.

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