Saturday, September 29, 2007

A pretty Fair day

Yesterday was a school holiday—not a national or state holiday, just a day off for a time-honored tradition: The Comal County Fair. The Fair is one of the largest in Texas, and for the locals, it is a chance to celebrate with old friends, watch the parade, take in the exhibits, ride some rides, watch a rodeo, dance a jig, drink a little bit, and take in the smell and grime of livestock. It’s fun for everyone.

This year has already turned out to be quite a memorable one for my family. For the first time, my 7-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter entered baked goods for judging. We were as excited as they were when we discovered that my son’s “peanut butter-filled, chocolate delight” cookies won first place, beating out some handsomely decorated graham crackers and a Rice Krispie treat. My daughter’s “Oreo cookie crumble cupcakes won a second-place ribbon, beating out a Little Debbie brownie and a slice of bread from a commercial loaf.

Seriously, though, there were several homemade items, but it was obvious that many entered something from the pantry simply to earn a free entry ticket to the fair grounds. Although my wife helped the kids decide what they should make, with me getting to sample the prospects, my kids actually made their entries entirely by themselves. We are very proud of their efforts.

The next day (Friday) was the big holiday, which meant the grand parade, with the “Pet Parade” being the opening act. Again for the first time, my kids decided to participate. We decorated my daughter’s “Gator” and put our four three-week-old kittens in the back dump bed inside a plexi-glass enclosure. My son pulled our two Pygmy goats in their cage on the wagon. Unbeknownst to us, their entries were to be judged prior to the parade. Well, they were two for two. My son won a first place ribbon for his “Goat Float,” and my daughter took “Best of Show” in the “Baby Kittens in a Dump Bed” category, winning a first place ribbon AND an very nice trophy. The paper took pictures and they made the paper!! I didn’t realize that the kittens would be so popular! Prior to the parade, those poor kittens got more attention than a free ATM machine. Many people assumed we were giving them away, which we weren’t . . . . YET. I mean, we had to parade them first. If I could have sold kittens that morning for a penny each, I could have made at least a dollar!! It was something special to walk with my kids through the streets of downtown with thousands of people along the curbs admiring them. I could have sworn I heard many peoples saying “look at those beautiful children!! They look just like their father,” but I also have a crazy imagination, too!

Tomorrow (Sunday) is the last day for the big event, which means we’ll spend all day at the fairgrounds riding all the rides (or in my case, switching my attention between watching my kids go in circles on the rusty, sticky race cars and counting cigarette butts on the ground within a one-arm radius of the carnival workers.) By the last day at the carnival, all the bolts on the rides have had a chance to “rattle loose,” and the carnival workers are cranky and hung-over. It’s always thrilling to see how close a lit cigarette can get to your kid’s face as the workers strap them in with a dilapidated strap that has more slack in it than our school’s policy on late work.

My kid’s will also be competing in the youth tractor pull, a contest where they have to peddle a small tractor as far as they can as the weight sled slides forward, as all the old-timers with brown polyester Levis and “taco” cowboy hats sit back, watch, and grin while sipping their Schaefer Light Beer, wishing they could still use their legs like those “whippersnappers.”

Yep, things are always interesting at the carnival.

No comments: