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Our state fair

August 2, 2009

Our state fair is a great state fair,
Don’t miss it, don’t even be late.
It’s dollars to donuts
That our state fair
Is the best state fair in our state.

The NJ State Fair opened this weekend.  The fairgrounds are located in rural Sussex county where there are still corn fields and cows.  Not the typical image most people have of NJ – usually it’s the Turnpike up around the Meadowlands – think the opening credits of the Sopranos.    The fair is not as large as other state fairs, or even some of the NY county fairs I went to as a kid, but it is a wonderful cacophony of  midway barkers, kids and cows.

There were plenty of rides and fair food, although I did not see any corn dogs. Have the health evangelists had them banned?  It’s just not a state fair without a hotdog covered in deep fried dough on a stick.  Maybe I just somehow overlooked them.  There were plenty of things to see, for sure.

There were exhibits of handcrafts like knitting, sewing and quilting; canning and pickling; baking and cooking; hunting and fishing including taxidermy and fly tying.   There was an exhibit of prized vegetable and flowers.  The winners proudly displaying their blue ribbons.

The barns were full of cows, pigs and other farm animals waiting for their turn in the show ring. Some of the 4H kids were busy brushing every last hair into place on their animals.  Others were taking an opportunity to nap on a bale of hay as they waited their turn.

During the early 1970’s I went to a summer camp near Middletown, NY.  Each year the owner would take groups of us in his station wagon to the Orange County Fair.  Perhaps it was because I was smaller that the fair looked larger than the one in NJ, or maybe it really was more extensive.   I even had the opportunity one year to ride in the horse show at the fair.

I remember Mr Wishe telling the girls in the station wagon to beware of the side shows and not to waste our money on them as they were fake.  I never did go to see the world’s biggest horse or lobster, nor the two headed cow.   While walking around the NJ fair yesterday, I came across a tent with a large sign proclaiming “See the world’s largest horse”.  Mr. Wishe’s words came back to me and I just could not bring myself to spend the $1 to see it.

(Don’t want to sit through the slide show?  It is a tad long, even if I do say so myself.  You can view the photos on Flickr instead –> )

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