I remember the days when posters started going up about the arrival of the fair. The poster was in bright neon yellow with a drawing of a big Ferris wheel. Just seeing the word “fair” in big bold letters let you know the big show was coming to town.
We are in the middle of fair season. The fairs in Gwinnett and Cobb have come and gone. The Cumming Country Fair and the Georgia National Fair open Thursday. The Georgia Mountain Fall Festival in Hiawassee opens Oct. 10.
All sorts of festivals will take place in the next few weeks, but there is something about a fair.
As a kid, I thought carnival barkers were the coolest people ever. How they could quickly convince you a simple game of chance could win you a really fine stuffed animal.
A few years later, I found those same people a tad creepy. I’m not sure who changed.
But there is so much more to a fair than games of chance and carnival rides. Many of the larger fairs have livestock shows for 4-H and FFA members.
A friend of mine hauls a trailer loaded with goats to be shown by his daughter. These goats are meticulously groomed and prepared for the show ring.
The same is true for lambs, cows, llamas, hogs and all the other livestock shown at the fair.
I saw a woman take a teasing comb to a cow’s tail. Apparently, a cow with a well-groomed bushy tail has some appeal in the show ring.
They even have a rabbit show. It is more of a beauty contest. They don’t ask rabbits to jump out of a hat or make a glass of chocolate milk. That’s only on TV.
The Georgia National Fair, the biggest in the state, is held in Perry. That’s just over two hours from here and worth the drive.
In addition to the animals, they have shows where folks exhibit photography, painting, quilt making, pottery and other fine crafts. They also have a cake-decorating contest.
But it wouldn’t be a real fair without some folks making a sales pitch. People will try to sell you a vacuum cleaner that will suck up a bowling ball or cookware that will make vegetables more nutritious. I’m afraid that means Southern green beans might end up tasting like something from up North. If that sends chills down your spine, you can go out to the midway and buy a fried pork butt on a stick or a deep-fried candy bar.
If people-watching is your sport, you’ll find a smorgasbord of the human race at a fair.
If they taught you about the theory of evolution in school, you’ll remember seeing an illustration with a chimpanzee on one end and a man walking upright on the other. Between the two are various stages of man’s development. There is a good chance you’ll see the whole crew from that picture at the fair.
Load your kids or grandkids up in the station wagon. OK, nobody really has a station wagon anymore. Take the SUV and head to a fair. It will bring out the kid in them and in you.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.