Growing up I knew nothing of county fairs. When I was in high school, I only heard rumors of them: My friend Cassie and her family always went to the Montgomery County fair. I remember there would be no talk of it or build up, and then all of the sudden out of the blue she'd tell me she'd gone to this place called the fair and produce various prizes and tickets and stories. I could only half-believe in it -- a huge mysterious fair right outside of Washington DC that sounded like the fair in Charlotte's Web, replete with greased-pigs, farmers boasting giant produce, tons of rides, stuffed animal prizes and delicious circus foods??
10 years later I moved to Costa Mesa, and that first July the glorious world of the county fair opened a mile from my doorstep! As Ben and I watched the carnies (is that word wrong to use?) building the precariously tall and rickety rides, we decided we'd opt for life -- we'd visit the fair but not ride hand-assembled rides that had arrived in parts on a truck .
That first night we walked into the fair, into the smell of corn dogs, grilling corn on the cob, BBQ, and funnel cakes, with primary colored lights flashing all the way to the sky, everything changed. We couldn't refuse the sirens cry and rode everything (and never have I prayed so hard that bolts wouldn't come loose and send us sailing off across the fairgrounds to our death). And we ate everything: Australian fried potatoes, giant turkey legs, corn on the cob, corn dogs, funnel cake -- we even bought a friend snickers bar and friend Twinkies (do not recommend that...).
And here we are again in July, month of the OC FAIR! I made my 2008 fair debut on Saturday night with Annemarie, Silas and Eden. And after muscling our way through the initial crowd (we literally could not push the stroller, the crowd was so thick), it was all I had hoped for. The highlight, besides the paper tray of hot mini-donuts, was watching two-year-old Silas absorb -- he gazed and gazed, shell-shocked and dazzled and nearly speechless.
With Eden strapped to my chest in a fitful sleep, her newborn hair soaking up the smoke from the giant grills, Annemarie was Silas's champion fair-ride-rider. Here are a couple of pictures of her with Silas (doesn't her face say FAIR LOVER!). And of course, a picture of the mini-donuts.