Saturday, August 26, 2006

County fair

I live in a small town, one in which it is entirely possible most days to go outside and look both ways and catch the street empty. Not today. I live across the street and one door over from the post office, and on my post office run today I had to swim through people and vehicles and even adjust my pace to avoid bumping into a horse and rider. This has been county fair week, and today is the big day, of course, because it's the weekend and more people have time off.

If I go outside to the street, I can look down it and see the fairgrounds. Our street, in fact, leads to the main entrance. So, you understand, not all of town is as busy as outside my front door. But, still.

Not everything about the fair is good. The yahoos in charge of the PA system for the rodeo grounds and grandstand apparently assume people are deaf - and then proceed to do their best to make them that way. Even from where we live, the noise has sometimes been astonishing. The lemonade part of that equation, however, is that I need never actually buy a concert ticket. I can just sit at home and listen, just fine. I wouldn't dare sit any closer anyway. Yikes. My husband talked to a fair board member about it last night, and she told him that it wasn't as loud in the grandstands as three blocks away because the air is different this year and is channeling sounds differently. Uh, huh. I'd give her a physics textbook if I thought it would do any good. But then, again, she's been on duty daily, on scene; I think she's approaching exhaustion or burnout or something. (Or maybe all the noise has scrambled her brain?)

Last night, we had drunks wandering past at all hours. That doesn't happen much anymore, not since we got the new police chief. But, knock wood, all I heard last night were people who were loud, but not fighting. Many of these folks, I'm guessing, are individuals who don't get together with certain friends except once a year, at fairtime, and aren't remotely smart about handling the excitement. (Don't laugh. There are people I don't seem to run into except once a year, at the fair. When you live in a very rural area, big events can cause that sort of thing. I, however, don't do the bar scene or other such nonsense. It makes a difference, I think, if you teach yourself to have fun without intoxicants, yes?)

And then there are the crooks who come to town to take advantage of all the chaos, chief among them some of the folks who work for the carnival that comes to town and sets up at the fairgrounds for the duration. We catch carnies shoplifting every year. We catch them trying to scam clerks by all manner of cons. While I am sure there are honest carnival workers somewhere in the world, and possibly even at this carnival, what we get are the guys who like to steal people blind if they can get away with it. I have grown to seriously distrust carnies, I'm afraid.

But on the whole the fair is a good thing, I think. It promotes healthy competition - well, mostly healthy competition. You don't want to get between some of the old ladies around here and the blue ribbon she thinks is hers! Trust me on this.

Now, add to this the fact that some hunting season or another is just opening - and therefore the county is thick with hunters coming in from out of the area - and we are talking busy days just now.

Speaking of which... Gotta run.

County fair, part two


Anna said...

Kathryn, sounds like fun! We lived in a small town that had "Home Days" every summer around the 4th of July. They would bring in the carnival rides, too. Good memories, but I do understand the darker side. We have the county fairgrounds not too far from us and it seems there is a lot more trouble when the County Fair is in full swing!

(And the blue ribbon grannies...I hear you!) :)

Tom Hoey said...

I am a "carny". I also own a home, pay insurance, have a full set of teeth, honor my father and my mother, have run for political office, am patriotic and over all, I believe, a pretty good human being.
I don't steal and even if I did would not do so from the town or city that I am playing at. That would be suicidal. It bothers me to hear you generalize about carnies shoplifting and in multiples. Please provide names and instances or guide us to public documents that positively show convictions of people employed by a carnival ride company.
If you cannot, I would suggest as a gesture of respect that you take time to alter your post so that the truth comes through.
Are you bothered by your small town existance being changed and altered for a few days. Well, that is your right and your choice but perhaps it would be really something if you took time to get to know YOUR "carnies" who are providing a huge amount of entertainment for you, your friends and family.
The Carnival business is a BIG business. There are over 550 Carnival ride companies in the US alone with many of those employing 500 or more people. Legally.
We are not dirty, toothless and do not smell as many depict us. Oh, OK, some are...but most likely so are some of your neighbors. In fact, is everyone in your neighborhood, totally honest, clean, hardworking and totally alcohol and drug free. Gotcha. Some of your neighbors have a cocktail or two...don't they.
In any case, check out our web site at and tell me that the Billion dollar industry I am in are all theives.
Thank you for your patience.

Tom Hoey