Tuesday, August 4, 2015 | By: HiDee

County Fair Ambiance

The arrival of our county fair always conjures up fond memories.

When we were tweens, our parents would drop us off at the gates with a promise and a threat: a promise to pick us up at a certain time, and the threat of punishment if we were late. Waving goodbye, my best friend and I would head straight for the ferris wheel. From the top, you could pretty much see everything...especially the boys we wanted to hang out with!

As soon as we exited the ride, we’d head in the direction we’d last seen them. Looking back now, it was funny how we always acted as surprised to see them as they were to see us. We were so obviously chasing each other!

Once we met up, we’d wander through the games, sharing big bags of pink cotton candy. Loud, obnoxious carnies mocked the boys, coercing them into showing off, trying to win stuffed animals for all the girls. They were always trying to outdo one another, and we were so easily impressed.

Later, hugging our stuffed animals, we’d wait in lines for rides we didn’t care if we rode or not, except for the fact that the rides put us in very close proximity to the boys. The best rides were ones that squished us against their sides, or scared us half to death so they would put their arms around us. And if we were lucky, our night would end with a stolen kiss before we scampered off to catch our ride home. Yes, we were shameless in our pursuit of those poor boys, but we never heard them complain.

Under cover of darkness, the kaleidoscope of lights and the cacophony of carnival ride music created an ambiance not found anywhere else. The county fair had it all. Critters, fair food, stuffed animals and the Midway. Loud music, warm bodies and ... what we thought was romance.

Some things never change. Our county fair rolls around every July. We enjoy looking through the exhibits, and usually attend the rodeo. Four-legged critters hold more appeal now than the two-legged ones of my youth, and wandering through the barns is one of my favorite fair activities.  

As my husband and I recently strolled through the Midway, munching on Culler’s french fries instead of cotton candy, those memories from long ago were fresh in my mind. Carnival music and laughter filled the air, and I felt like a kid again. I moved a little closer to my husband. County fair ambiance is alive and well - no rides or stuffed animals necessary.

What’s your favorite fair memory?