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Heigh Ho, Come to the Fair!

 
 
Piffka
 
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 10:21 am
The Western Washington State Fair, aka The Puyallup Fair starts Friday. Yes, it's corny and dusty and loud and costs more money than it used to. Laughing

My friend and I have already made plans to go on opening day. She & I started going together with our kids when they were small, now we just go by ourselves. We walk at the same pace, get hungry at the same time, don't care for the rides and like to see the same things: the sometimes weird collections of the Hobby Hall, the Grange displays and all the animals. We like to stop and listen to the musicians and we're both disappointed the RCMP never comes anymore, especially my friend, since she's Canadian.

The Washington Post says state fairs are going downhill.Budget Pinch Felt at State Fairs

So what about your State Fair or Provincial Exhibition? Do you like to go? Have you ever entered anything? Are there special foods you only eat there? What do you like to see and do?

Who has the Best Fair?
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 10:58 am
I went to the Canadian National Exhibition on the weekend. Went with my best friend from high school, her two kids and one of their friends. MA and I have been going to the Ex together for about 30 years now - my parents used to take us. We started taking her kids when they were just under 3 years old each.

We've got lots of traditions. Waffle ice cream to start, any free food sample we can find ( i even had a Slim Jim !), I have to have a steamed hot dog, we always discuss having corn dogs - but never have them, we always ride the merry-go-round (though this year my friend's 10 year old son didn't want to, so he watched), we shop shop shop, eat some more - try to find things to eat that are new to us - this year we all had bubble tea (not an option out on their farm) - the kids and i always have either caramel or candy apples before we leave, we do one set of rides early in the day - and then again late at night, when the lines are long.

Love it love it love it.

It was the 125th anniversary of the Ex this year. We had a grand time.
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husker
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 11:01 am
The east side Fair in Spokane County is the same old thing every year. Right down to where they place the rides and largest Pumpkins (same spots).
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husker
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 11:02 am
I pray the kids do not want to go Wink
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Jim
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 11:17 am
My parents took us and the kids to the Gray's Harbor County Fair in Washington several times over the past ten years. We always enjoyed it a lot.
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Noddy24
 
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Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 11:23 am
After years and years without a fair, this year I've managed two: A very simple 4-H get together and the more elaborate--but still small--West End Fair.

I adore fairs. Cotton candy no longer appeals--but elephant ears are still delicious. Going with a female friend rather than a man child eliminates the ritual of admiring mechanical farm equipment. I've reached an Old Biddy Age where the carnies running the gyp joints on the midway feel free to heckle me and I can heckle right back.

Where else could you see a weary 4-H kid sleeping with his head pillowed on a blue ribbon pig?

I noticed in my 25 years absence that freak shows have vanished and rock climbing towers have appeared. The prizes for tossing hoops or balls or darts aren't quite as tacky as I remember....

Does anyone else remember the kupie dolls on a stick adorned with pink and purple feathers and dipped in glitter?

Gas-filled balloons don't seem to be the draw that they used to be--and there are far fewer freebies than there were in my childhood.

Does anyone else remember the bent-nail tavern puzzles?



Fairs are marvelous.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 11:34 am
Gosh, Beth, that sounds great! Waffle ice cream cones? Very Happy I've heard that the CNE is really special. Too far for me, but I'm thinking of going to the PNE next year. The Canadian fairs seem to have more ethnic things going on, I noticed the PNE had Sumo wrestling! The Puyallup has a lot of native American crafts and displays and South American musical groups - those Andean Pipes, y'know?

Bubble Tea -- that's a miss for me, I'm not fond of tapioca. We have great lemonade, about three lemons in a big cup -- so refreshing. I also like to get a corn dog -- the only time I'm likely to have one... they're made fresh, dipped in the corn batter and hot from the fryer. And then the Puyallup Fair is known for their scones... triangle biscuits with butter and raspberry jam from the valley. People buy ten at a time!
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Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 11:35 am
We just completed this year's California State Fair in Sacramento by celebrating the 150th anniversary of our State Fair. It was a big success inspite of a nearby brush fire and the tradition of rioting during the State Fair Cultural Days. State Fair organizers have decided to eliminate celebration of our state's cultural diversity via the Cultural Days in future Fairs.

One of the local channels did a historal look back on our State Fair. I'm a little disappointed that it has evolved into yet another advertising venue for brand names. Here's a synopsis of the History of California's State Fair. The timeline and added features and ammenitites is rather amusing. Here are a few highlights:

1895 Electricity came to the fairgrounds
1903 California State Fair hosted first automobile race.
1929 Pay toilets installed at the Fair.
1933 Parking fees instituted at the Fair
1954 State Fair 100th anniversary celebration unveiled a fountain that shot water 30' into the air.

Around the turn of the century, Fair organizers staged a train wreck delighting spectators as two locomotives crashed creating masses of twisted, steaming steel. This sensational demonstration was a huge hit and continued until the beginning of World War I.

For the centennial celebration, 10,000 ladies were given free orchids and a popular attraction was "Dancing Waters," a 30-foot high colored water fountain that pulsated to music.

California Exposition & State Fair (CE&SF) is an independent state agency established by law and governed primarily by the California Department of Food and Agriculture codes. Governed by an appointed Board of Directors, daily operations are managed a permanent staff of 100. During the Fair more than 2,000 temporary employees are hired for the event's eighteen-day run. The CE&SF is a self-sufficient operation receiving no government funding and yet has an estimated economic impact of more that $156.7 million on the region.

All told, it's a great entertainment value for the family. Even this lil guy enjoyed himself...
http://www.bigfun.org/images/cafair/amazpig.gif
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 11:37 am
husker wrote:
I pray the kids do not want to go Wink


Aha! There's always a spoilsport! Bad Daddy, Bad Daddy!!!! :wink:

I like it that I know right where everything is: the floral displays, the draft horses, the pumpkins. We'll be missing the zebras and exotic animals this year -- they don't come until the end of the fair... but we get to see "Large Poultry." I've been wondering what that includes.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 11:38 am
Jim -- You're from Washington? Cool. I've never been to the Gray's Harbor fair. Lotta seafood there?
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 11:45 am
Noddy24 wrote:
Going with a female friend rather than a man child eliminates the ritual of admiring mechanical farm equipment.

Where else could you see a weary 4-H kid sleeping with his head pillowed on a blue ribbon pig?

...rock climbing towers have appeared.

Does anyone else remember the bent-nail tavern puzzles?


TWO Fairs? Lucky you!

Noddy, haha, we like to admire the farm equipment for a little while. I guess in the midwest there are big combines and things like that? Cool! Here we've got a few tractors, sometimes some logging stuff, but it's mostly lawn equipment and a bunch of stupid RVs. I want one of those John Deere Gators though... really!

Yep, love the pigs, I can lose most of the cows, but we always see a few. And we have to go to the Milk Shack and get a small cup of free fresh milk and a cube or two of cheese.

The climbing towers are... different... but interesting.

We inherited some bent-nail puzzles. I didn't realize those were fair fare.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 11:49 am
Butrflynet wrote:
We just completed this year's California State Fair in Sacramento by celebrating the 150th anniversary of our State Fair.

For the centennial celebration, 10,000 ladies were given free orchids and a popular attraction was "Dancing Waters," a 30-foot high colored water fountain that pulsated to music.


Wow! 150 Years? I'm impressed. I've heard that the California Fair and the one in New York are two of the best.

Dancing Waters? I remember that at the Puyallup, but it was a lot more recent... maybe twenty-five years ago. I guess we got it when you were through with it in CA.

Thanks for the links. Maybe I should try to go to the CA Fair, next year, too. (That would be a great excuse for a trip.)
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Eva
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 11:51 am
Darling son will undoubtedly drag us there again this year. Cannot say no to him. He loves the cotton candy, huge corn dogs, fresh lemonade, rock climbing towers, bungee jumping rides, Andean musicians, etc.

But we do not go into the exhibition buildings. I gotta draw the line somewhere. The aisles are so narrow, it is always hot, and you have to shuffle along at the crowd's slooooow pace for what seems like hours to get out of there. Of course, I usually get stuck behind some smelly, toothless 300 lb. Bubba in his unbuttoned overalls with no shirt. And there is no escaping. So I stay outta there. I've got plenty of yardsticks anyway.

It's hard to say whether the fairgoers or the carnies are more repulsive. Why is it that the fair always brings out people you (thankfully) never see the rest of the year?
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 12:55 pm
Yardsticks? Good for beating back the Bubbas.

Well, yes! The great unwashed are there along with some other strangers -- I always wonder about the couples we see every year - the tight leather tank top bleached blonde with chains & tattoos draped on the arm of Mr. bare-chested leather-jeans, also with chains & tattoos. They seem to only come out at towards the evening.

Some of the Exhibitions are creepy and to-be-avoided, but we've found the ones we like and miraculously, there are few Bubbas there. (Guess they don't go for collections of Classic Eeyore, how to make a pine needle basket and wool weavers.)

We go early in the morning to beat the crowds. At the end of the day, there is an out-of-the-way rooftop restaurant where we'll have a latte or mocha and watch the rides light up as the sky gets dark before we head home.
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husker
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 01:04 pm
Hey did you mention it's usually a great place to people watch?????? I always go say high to the local new personalities (I know many from coaching there kids) -yikes - all that make-up yuck!
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 01:13 pm
Ooooh, I'll have to check for that makeup. Never noticed -- we don't usually go to any of those local celebrity booths.

People watching, however, is a great sport. I mentioned the biker-type couples we frequently see, but there are lots of other types.

There's also the Footsie-Wootsie machines -- where you sit and for a quarter, your feet are vibrated. A perfect time to see who is walking by. I use those two or three times each visit.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 01:39 pm
Piffka--

The bent nail puzzles both the simple bent nails and much more elaborate and difficult puzzles) used to be made by the local blacksmith and displayed as conversation pieces in the local tavern.

At the Cambria County fair in the late '40's, early 50's, there was some sort of very noisy machine which could bend a nail every second. I have no idea what the booth was advertising, but I remember the puzzles.

Free yardsticks? You can still get free yardsticks at a fair? My mother used to pick up a dozen every year. The three of us were imaginative children and rainy days used to inspire yardstick duels--or yardsticks as crowbars--or yard sticks as a prop for balancing tin pie pans....
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margo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 02:56 pm
In Sydney, the fair is the Royal Easter Show, now, for some reason, called "The Great Australian Muster".
Great Australian Muster
It's based on the original agricultural show, so there's lots of emphasis on country-type things, and animals, unusual in this very urban area. In the last 5 years or so, it's been at the new Showground, part of the Olympic site. Sme of the old traditions have been lost, with the old site (now Fox Studios Crying or Very sad )

It's hugely popular, and always interesting. Great emphasis on good produce.
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 04:00 pm
Noddy -- A machine to bend nails? Wouldn't that be a hammer? I like all the ways to use a yardstick!

Margo -- That's odd that they've changed the name -- I like Great Australian Muster name a little better -- somehow I just don't connect Easter with a fair.

The emphasis on agriculture is the best, the produce, the livestock and other farm animals, and the traditional "farm-wife" crafts. The district displays must be fabulous since they cover such large regions. Here, we have grange displays, but within this small state at least 25 granges compete. It's all volunteer and their displays can only include produce and crafts from grange members. The variety is astonishing. Here's the Waller Road Display from last year.
http://www.wa-grange.org/images/wallerroad_display_2002.jpg
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margo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2003 09:32 pm
Piffka wrote:
Margo -- That's odd that they've changed the name -- I like Great Australian Muster name a little better -- somehow I just don't connect Easter with a fair.

The emphasis on agriculture is the best, the produce, the livestock and other farm animals, and the traditional "farm-wife" crafts. The district displays must be fabulous since they cover such large regions.


It's been the Easter Show for a squillion years (give or take). The country folk come to the city; city types get exposed to all sorts of critters; eastern suburbs posers with large 4-WD tanks get to look almost normal, because there are a a heap of similar vehicles around. If only they could find a local source of that red mud that marks a country - real - 4 wheel driver.

The district exhibits are great - my favourite part - just like your pic. Some of the displays are huge. The areas may be large, but are populated sparsely. Oz is a very urban country, really! In a country roughly the same size as mainland USA, with about 20 million population, we all cling to the coastal fringes. There's probably not a million people in total who live more than, say, 100 miles away from the coast!
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