Sunday, August 28, 2005

At the Fair...

Another year at the Fair. Even though it's a small town event, the community seems to multiply ten-fold with the arrival of the carnival and the opening of events and exhibits. It is a time to relax and catch up with friends, old and new. It's a time to laugh, eat hot dogs drizzled with catsup and relish, see whose flowers...photograph....pumpkin and squash...take first prize. It's riding the Sizzler and listening to the band, it's little children at the pedal pull, face painting and the parade. It's good old-fashioned fun for young and old alike; stopping the hands of time for two days while everyone goes on hiatus from their daily life.

My husband and I took our annual ride on the Ferris Wheel, viewing the town from a metal nest perched high on silver spokes. We ate wonderful food and visited with people we only see at this time of year......only at the Fair.

We distributed BINGO cards underneath the water tower, boards running along haybales for seats, aprons tied around our waist, filled with dollar bills. All in good humor...smiles surrounding us in a square. No one taking the game or themselves very seriously, knowing that what is spent us usually more than what is taken away. But then, that's hardly the point.

Little ones ride the Merry-Go-Round and beg Mom and Dad for tickets. "Just one more ride!" Parents all in festive moods, enjoying the time with family and knowing it is the last "hurrah" before the reality of school sinks in and the busyness begins.

Laughing faces whiz by on the Tilt-O-Whirl and screams fill the air as the bullet takes a nose dive then spins wildly as it ascends to do it all over again. Teenagers grab one another's hands for a ride on the Ferris Wheel or gather in small groups to discuss the evening's plans. Groups of girls giggle, pretending they don't see the cute boys from the neighboring town. A new couple forms...another breaks up. It's all part of the Fair...

And suddenly....night draws its curtain, lights come on, music begins. A band plays country music and cowboys and their sweethearts -young and old - gather on the make-shift dance floor, spinning to the melody. Boots tapping, faces moist with perspiration in the August heat, smiles everywhere you look.

There is something so comforting, so cozy about sitting on a haybale underneath the stars, watching babies bouncing up and down to the music....and feeling safe and at home with both friends and strangers. There is nothing complicated or extravagant about our little town fair and some may wander into the community and be perplexed at our ability to make a whole lot out of so little. But the memories that we make each year amongst the carnival lights and strains of western harmony are poignant and lasting.

Another Fair over......another summer gone. The carnival has packed up and has moved on to another place to bring light and sound and laughter into new hearts. And as it heads down the road and the town park returns to a quiet normal, the words of Henry Wadworth Longfellow ring in my ear:

And the night shall be fill'd with music,
And the cares that infest the day
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.


HeyJules said...

You are so lucky to live in a part of our country that still finds these things important. I wish I had something like this to go to each year. How wonderful for you and your family to get to attend such an event.

Lori said...

It really is a lot of fun. I think many people get into the habit of having to be entertained. There is entertainment here, but it is of the laid-back variety...and you have to be a participant to get any good out of it!

Mellissa said...

I want to move to your town. Can you send me directions Lori.....

I think this post did it. I will be on my way shortly.


Lori said...

Mel - the fair is one of the highlights of the year. Most of the time we are a town on haitus from the rest of the world. Our only businesses are a post office, the tiniest bank you ever saw and the LP, where you get flat tires fixed and cars ride their own carnival's Ferris Wheel to locate the problems inside and underneath them.

The fair brings out the best in everyone...and there is a lot here to make one fall in love. But...our little town has its share of the down-side, especially for one who is not a native of here. I'd just rather sweep those to the corner and concentrate on what I see that is good here. But hey, a visit would still be awesome and welcomed!