Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Florida State Fair

I had been lamenting the lack of monkeys and industrial strength lemonade in my life, so my friend Debbie took pity and went with me to the Florida State Fair this weekend.

In addition to the usual "Win A Real Goldfish!" games, airbrushed funhouses, bumper cars and "Guess Your Age" carnies, the fair also had an alligator wrestling show (which we sadly missed), a sea lion show, dog obstacle courses and a terribly smelly petting zoo. We also stopped by the dog show, the bored monkey exhibit, and the various animal competitions-- which contained everything from baby rabbits and turkeys to chickens with punk rock hairdos. The exhibits were all decorated with 4H children's posters labeled with slogans like "Ten Uses For A Pig" and "We Enjoy Eating Rabbit Brains".

It was terribly exciting-- I got to hold a tiny baby chicken (which didn't seem very happy)-- and a baby pig tried to pee on my shoe! I also stared at bees and almost watched a cow give birth (they had these scheduled every couple of hours, but I chickened out after watching the water break-- yucko!)

They also had an exhibit where they let me pet a tarantula, which turned out to be wonderfully convenient; I used my "I Pet A Tarantula!" sticker to cover up the stains on my shirt after eating a chocolate covered key lime pie on-a-stick.

I also made sure to peruse the Oddities! sideshow which advertised "The World's Smallest Horse-- ALIVE! The Two-Headed Eight-Legged Lamb-- ALIVE! The Incredible Cyclops Calf-- ALIVE! The Incredible Shrunken Head! The Horrifying Human Pincushion-- ALIVE! The World's Largest Rat-- ALIVE! The Amazing Ossified Pig-- ALIVE!" Of course NONE of them were actually ALIVE, except the world's smallest horse, which wasn't all that small. In fact we saw two miniature horses that were much smaller, "getting it on", so to speak, near the midway...

Other fun sightings: a twangy "cracker" banjo band with a midget fiddler; an elderly organ grinder with a monkey in a funny suit; a reproduction pioneer village where they showed us how to make candles, lye soap and cane syrup; about ten or so llamas that looked like they were wearing little pants and vests, but really just had odd haircuts; and a vaguely horrified British couple wandering around looking shell-shocked and slightly ill.

*** General Fair Guidelines ***

1. All fairgoers must eat at least one item on-at-stick (pork butt on-a-stick, beef jerky on-a-stick, pie on-a-stick, etc.)

2. Everyone must eat at least two items they would never eat in real life (fried pig skin, fried oreos, fried snickers bars, fried twinkies, giant fried onions, etc.)

3. Total caloric intake per person must be set at no less than 4,000 calories.

4. At least two slices of pizza must be consumed before getting on any ride.

5. All rides must be terribly dirty, horribly dangerous-- and should be operated by persons missing an arm, a leg, an eye or several teeth. All ride operators should sport at least three visible tattoos and/or piercings.

6. The arts and crafts section must only contain completely useless or horribly tacky items ("country" nail art, painted saw blades, ostrich egg fish bowls, cure-all pills, fake windmills, decorative wooden cows, deer antler lamps, etc.)

7. No less than twenty percent of the crowd must be obese and riding a motorized cart at all times.

8. The parade of tractors and army tanks must contain at least twelve American flags and two elderly ladies with no discernable connection to tractors or tanks.

9. All "Fair Wear" must be sadly Unfashionable. Each person is required to wear a cowboy hat, a mullet, a rebel flag shirt, a fanny pack, a puffy paint T-shirt or blinding white sneakers.

10. All prizes must self-destruct within twenty-four hours.


Blogger That Girl said...

That sounds like it's worth the trip! Much more interesting than the Maryland State Fair!

8:35 PM  
Blogger Carol (Smiles and Laughter) said...

Pretty much sounds like the Texas State fair, except you would have to add a rodeo!

9:16 PM  
Blogger Kay said...

"10. All prizes must self-destruct within twenty-four hours."

I assume that means goldfish as well ... always happens to me.

9:58 PM  
Blogger Mr Anigans said...

i've never been to a Jersey State Fair. i assume they exist. the most interesting thing i've come across at a fair is funnel cake.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Ian said...

The fair sounds like the setting of a Fear Factor episode: "Your team has two minutes to eat as much pork-butt-on-a-stick as it can."

I understand the fairs here in St. Louis feature lead paint chip eating contests, as well as The World's Smallest Child That Knows How To Shoot a Glock. But that's only hearsay, as I haven't attended one myself.

10:07 PM  
Blogger Ms Vile File said...

Wow. That sounds like a Whole Damn Lot of Fun. I went to Coney Island a year ago, and went on their famous roller-coaster. It looked very much like its collapse was imminent, which added to the excitement of riding on it. There was also 'Shoot The Freak', where one could fire a gun at a man for $5. I can only assume the gun was a paint-gun, I wasn't bold enough to try.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Rhodent said...

And yet you keep going! I am not sure that I could take it anymore. I think I would much rather do Busch Gardens or EPCOT if it weren't for the expense. Thank you for representing our clan there each year. ;O)

10:41 PM  
Blogger the frog princess said...

The only thing good about the fair is the food. And the Cracker Town, but you can see that anytime and it tends to get old. I boughed out of the fair this year, but we may go to the strawberry festival -- that isn't over yet, right?

12:11 AM  
Blogger Frally said...

You should try a New Zealand fair sometime. What am I saying? No, you shouldn't. All they have is sheep, sheep, and more sheep. And just when you thought you'd seen it all, there's a whole 'nother shed of sheep. NZ knows how to par-tay.

1:34 AM  
Blogger cesca said...

Gawddangit - I'm sorry to have missed it.

And ignore Frally, it's not just sheep. I saw a cow once.

4:16 AM  
Blogger Larry Jones said...

A fine State Fair you seem to have there, and a fine state of affairs. Were you not tempted just a little to run off with the carnival? You could be the star of a "DBA - Alive!" show.

10:46 AM  
Blogger KarbonKountyMoos said...

Sounds like a blast - any photos?!

kayten - we have the same goldfish luck - but my dad always won parakeets that lasted. However, this was at the San Gennaro feast - no state fairs in NYC that we knew about.

Ian - you must attend the next St. Louis fair and report back in 1500 words or more.

frally - sheep ain't baaaad.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Nyx said...

Lamenting the lack of monkeys and industrial strength lemonade? Oh yes, constantly.

Sounds like good times. Were there any nachos a la stick? You've got me wondering just what else could be served on a stick now...

3:57 PM  
Blogger happyandblue2 said...

I am so jealous. Your fair is so exciting. Are fairs just blow by comparison and we are restricted to only 1300 calories.

5:36 PM  
Blogger L said...

ms. vile file: the fair was definitely a lot of fun, but they didn't have a "shoot the freak" exhibit.

frog princess: actually, the strawberry festival hasn't begun yet -- want to go? I have a couple of friends who might be interested.

Larry: nope, wasn't tempted. Carnies tend to be Un-Hot

karbonkountymoos: No photos -- forgot my camera! :( I will bring it to the Strawberry Festival, but that has less weirdness, unfortunately...

llcoffee: there were no nachos on-a-stick -- but they had almost everything else. Perhaps next time I go...

6:17 PM  
Blogger glomgold said...

This fair sounds good and therefore needs to change it's name to "Florida State Good" or somesuch. The company that makes all those dangerous portable amusement rides that people fall off of and die every year? Got an office right near me. The one thing more exciting at Coney Island than the Cyclone is wandering around late at night in their ghettos praying not to die.

7:42 PM  

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