It's Wednesday, and I can breathe a sigh of relief, like a great weight has been taken off my chest. Nothing more can be done, every outcome has been planned for, every issue corrected and re-corrected. It's here: County Fair season.
I grew up in Cook County, the ubiquitous home of Chicago, Illinois, though my place of residence was one of the suburbs. A cultural wonderland, but when it comes to county fairs, Cook county is utterly barren. Now my father, he grew up in the rolling farmlands of Iowa, a hot bed of showing off your animal husbandry skills and 4H. While we had no county fair of your own it didn't mean that we wouldn't drive to the counties to the south of us for corn dog fun. Every summer we walked though barns full of cows, pigs, goats, and sheep. Flocks of turkeys, ducks, and chickens telling us how it is with their clucks, gobbles, and quacks. Carnival rides and games all bright lights and dinging bells calling you over to spend your money or win some tickets. Funnel cakes, lemonade shake-ups, and roasted corn gave the whole event a great smell and a grease stain on your shirt. 4H projects abounded and the home economics entries never disappointed. I always wanted to enter but I was no where near good enough at anything to do so, and I couldn't drive down my entries to the fair even if I had been.
I am grown now, living in a northwestern county of IL, and I have a county fair. My county fair is quiet compared to the big agricultural counties, but it still provides a good show. We have carnival fun and games, and the foot long corn dog, not to mention deepfried alligator nuggets and something called Hillbilly brew. You can see the local police K-9 shows, and climb on antique tractors, combines, and fire trucks. As new people move into our county and come to their first county fair it's great to hear kids get so excited about "how big cows are in person".
I entered four items, ok I entered five, but my mini quilt is still out at an art contest so no luck there. I entered a muffin, a homemade greeting card, my pirate button art, and a knit baby hat. All items were either turned in Monday or Tuesday depending on judging. My husband and I are going to our fair, the McHenry County Fair, on Friday for date night. I have to wait until then to see how I did, oh the waiting.......
Next week I get to do it all over again at the Boone County Fair, the county to the west of us. They are a more agriculture county, so if you win there you are moving up in the fair realm of celebrity. I love to see what my fellow crafters are creating, and how the country life is still thriving in these modern days. While I don't agree with everything going on at the fair, I am glad it continues to keep home crafting alive. I hope I can post about a blue ribbon or two, but any place makes me happy.
Do any of you enter the fair? I would love to know what you make that makes your county proud!
Keeping it country,
Kelly, the ribbon ninja