Revelations from the fair

HS Fair DSCF1491As you may have heard, I spent this past weekend as the announcer for the local state fair. While it may sound like an easy job – and compared to digging ditches or harvesting shark eggs, it is – it’s actually quite exhausting.

It requires five, 12-hour days of walking the fairgrounds telling attendees what events are happening and when (“The cattle pull is coming up in 15 minutes!” “The Indoor Ring is located right next to the Hood Arena!”), checking in with organizers of various events to make sure they’re on time, and acting as a walking information booth for folks who have questions.

I love the gig; yet, even though I’ve been doing it for a few years now, it’s still a learning experience. Take, for instance, the following 8 things I learned at this year’s fair:

Even birds appreciate irony.  After we dedicated a flagpole to a former fair director who had recently passed away, three doves were released as part of the memorial service. After circling overhead for a couple of minutes, one decided to perch on a giant “Chicken Tenders” sign.

If only I could’ve gotten a picture of that; it was a Facebook meme waiting to happen.

Hershey bars and Whoppers are the most despised candies in the universe.
OK, ‘despised’ is a bit harsh. Let’s go with ‘reviled.’  And I’m not going on personal opinion here. We’re talking about real, cold, hard science. You see, early Thursday morning there was a big basket of assorted candy in the conference room.  It was filled with Snickers, Milky Ways, 3 Musketeers, Twix bars, and a myriad other chocolaty delights. By day two, here’s what it looked like:


Not a Kit Kat or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup to be found. Consider this case, rested.

There are still not enough people standing when our national anthem plays.
This is something I’ve written about at length before.  Everyday at noon, we play the “Star-Spangled Banner” over the PA system. And everyday, only about a third of the people I see (at best) stop what they’re doing, find a flag to face, and place their hands over their hearts. One third stop what they’re doing and look like they’re wondering what’s going on. And another third carry on like nothing’s out of the ordinary at all.

If this is any indication of the level of respect Americans have for their own country, we’re doomed.

Delicious apparently doesn’t always mean what you think it means. When I came across this sign, I had to stop and consider the ramifications of its use of punctuation.:


It’s one thing for food to be delicious. But when it’s…”delicious” (go ahead and imagine me making air quotes)…that’s something else entirely.  Think I’ll move on to the guy selling deep-fried pork belly on a stick.

Egyptians like country music.  Well, at least the ones at this fair do.  Every time I walked past their food truck serving falafel, lamb, and other Middle Eastern goodies, I heard the local country music station blasting. Nothing wrong with it, of course – it’s just nice to know that in this world there are some things like Miranda Lambert’s awesomeness that we can all agree on.

Loaded Potato
Go ahead and ‘click’ to enlarge me…you know you want to…

A loaded baked potato always tastes just like the first time.  Each year, I make sure I get one, and it’s never a disappointment. When you sit down and get comfortable with a massive, fluffy baked potato topped with chili, bacon, cheese, broccoli, sour cream, chives, salsa, and jalapenos…it’s a beautiful thing.

It’s almost like that “other” first time, but without the awkwardness and rug burns.

You’re never too old to learn new tricks – or technology. I was chatting with an old, grizzled Yankee farmer about the famous Concord Coach, and he was telling me about a coach that had been lost in storage at Dartmouth College for decades. He said he heard from a friend that the college wanted to get rid of it, and his friend suggested that he get in touch with them. When the farmer then told me he immediately sent off an email to the college, I nearly fell over.

The other lesson, of course, is to never judge books by– well, you know.

Watching a giant, fire-breathing robot dinosaur eat a car never gets old.

MegaSaurus 1

MegaSaurus 2

MegaSaurus 3

















At least if you’re a guy.  Hey, we’re simple creatures.


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7 thoughts on “Revelations from the fair

  1. Bri

    Nice. Heard you when we were there on Saturday. 🙂
    Regarding your point about the National Anthem – we were definitely there at noon, and definitely did NOT hear it. I don’t even remember what we were doing at noon, maybe over by the kiddie rides, but if we had heard it we’d have stopped what we were doing because J knows (at three and a half) that he is supposed to stand for the National Anthem.


    1. Hey, Bri! Thanks…sorry I missed you, would’ve loved to have seen you. Not all folks can hear it, because it plays from the grandstand and not the general PA – so I understand that. But the folks I’m talking about are the ones I can see, who I KNOW can hear it – because I’m at the grandstand while it’s playing! You’re doing a good job raising J right!


  2. Another fun blog post! I agree with everything, especially about standing and facing our flag during the national anthem; except, I lack your enthusiasm for baked potatoes. You know, “Carbs are the enemy…yada, yada” as a certain fat character from the Austin Powers movies once said. 🙂

    Anyway, that is not to say that there aren’t plenty of other carbs available at the average county fair that would entice me. My kid brother is the big potato fan in my family. Anyway, we missed our opportunity to take our kids to the fair this past weekend, but hope to take them to Coney Island this Saturday. I’m glad you had a blast at the fair, Matt.


    1. Thanks, Kevin! The beauty of baked stuffed potatoes is, there’s so much on top of them, that the carbs are the least of your worries!

      OK, well…I’m not sure that’s actually a benefit. But I’ll keep telling it to myself.


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  4. Pingback: What I learned at the fair, III | Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

  5. Pingback: Donut Cones, Patriotism, and Girl (horse)Power: Observations from the State Fair, Part IX: – Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

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