Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Visiting the East Texas State Fair

We finally made the move to Tyler, Texas. I am the new Outreach Librarian at the University of Texas at Tyler, and I will write more about the position as I get settled in. The move itself was a bit harrowing, but we survived. We are likely going to be living out of the boxes for a few weeks now.

Anyhow, we took a break from unpacking to go see the East Texas State Fair, which actually started this weekend. We went on Sunday, and we got there early in the morning. I think they opened the gates at 10:00am, and we got there shortly after. Going to a fair like this early in the day has the advantage that the crowds are small, and there are not too many lines. Of course, the big events are not until the evening, but enough was going on to get a good taste. We spent most of the day there. We watched a pig showing competition. Basically, it's kids showing off the pigs they have raised. What I found interesting is the fact that it is not just about showing the pig to the judge. There is some pageantry involved: from the kid dressing up nicely to the way he/she leads their pig around with a little stick. Meanwhile, one of the judges offers a sort of color commentary on the performance. The critiques are a bit more lax when the kids are younger (i.e., they are doing this for fun) versus the older kids (where there is a bit more attention to details). Next, we visited the cattle pens. Afterwards, we got hungry, so we got some food. When you go to a fair, you have to get some food. We got a pretty nice chicken fingers basket (big enough for the better half and I to share), some drinks, and a fried twinkie. Yes, I finally got a fried twinkie, which I have been wanting to get since I read this book. All I have to say is that a fried twinkie makes mighty good eating.

Next, the little one wanted to get on some of the rides, so naturally, got some tickets and did some of the rides. And the little one did drag her daddy to a few of them, and I am happy to report that I did not lose the twinkie in the process. It was fun.

We then took a break, and we saw the commercial exhibits. The better half likes doing this because she sees it as a good opportunity to get local information. At times, she thinks like a librarian. Anyhow, you go around, pick up some information, get a knick knack here and there, and you learn a thing or two. After that, we did some of the local vendors, where I got a small unicorn miniature for the better half (to add to her unicorn collection), and a small dragon for myself (I collect dragons, though my small collection is nowhere near hers); the little one got herself a small arrowhead necklace. We next moved on the other craft exhibits. I was amazed to see some of the collections that earn awards. For instance, there were some pretty good sport card collections and at least one magnet collection. I will admit, collections like that are not my first thought when it comes to crafts; I would think more in terms of quilts, dresses, pottery, etc. (and they did have those as well), but some of those collections do make for a good display. You can learn a lot about people by what they choose to collect. But you can also tell about a community by what they present in their fairs, and that is a large reason why the gypsy in me likes visiting fairs, carnivals, feasts, etc.

My better half had a bit of insight. She said that "if we come back next year, odds are good we'll see people we know." She is already looking ahead. But to her, I can see this is something she enjoys because it is close to her experience growing up. You see, my better half grew up in a small Indiana town where things like the Popcorn Festival are big events (and yes, I have been to the Popcorn Fest in Valpo). I get the feeling we will be doing well up here.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Congrats on the move and job!! Glad to hear things are well. :)