I have recently been to the Indiana State Fair. From this day trip, my esteem of the word “Fair” has risen from “an outdoorsy event where individuals gather to set up booths and sell Beanie Babies, Happy Meal toy collections, and pets” to “an outdoorsy event with livestock, sideshows, and junk food of all sorts, where fun might be had as long as one’s energy lasts.”

One day Dumbtechgeek suggested that we go to the State Fair. It sounded fun, though I am not sure why, given my then-current definition of the word “Fair.” Perhaps so many years without a fair persuaded me into giving a Fair another try. Or perhaps I was lured by the prospect of deep fat fried Twinkies. I always have a soft spot for trying foods savored by fictional people, though right now I cannot remember exactly who liked fried Twinkies so much.

The day that we — Dumbtechgeek, his mother, grandmother, and I — went to the State Fair started out so nice and cool with a pancake breakfast. Maybe I should have taken a fried Twinkie instead. It soon got too hot to eat anything warm. After lunch, I lost all appetite and could not even think about a corn dog or any other fried treats; but I did not know this would happen. The heat I anticipated, but I did not imagine I would say no to a fried Twinkie.

We saw rabbits, ducks, turkeys, and chickens of all sizes and colors. I heard, for the first time, a turkey gobble. I saw goats, cows, boars, pigs, piglets, draft horses (they should be called giant horses) and sheep. Now, sheep are interesting animals. They do not say “baah,” but they say “weh,” with a nasal tone. A brochure I read said a six-month old baby sheep will weigh about 120 pounds. Incredible, are they not? I got to see sheep in various stages from freshly shorn to fluffy. I also got to touch real wool from a real sheep, and it felt fluffy, greasy, and — pardon my language — fake. It looked and felt a lot like the fake fur you see on stuffed animal toys or the spider-web decoration you use at Halloween. I expected wool to be more cottony and soft; but if it were, we would call it cotton, not wool, huh?

Look, a blue turkey!

One of the things that raised the State Fair greatly in my esteem: the cleanliness. All the animal barns were very well ventilated and cool. Animals smelled very little or not at all. There were also plenty of clean, well-maintained restrooms. I never had to use a portable toilet. In addition to restrooms, there were hand-washing stations and hand-sanitizer dispensers throughout the fairground. It was very easy to clean my hands after petting animals and before eating food.

Dumbtechgeek’s father joined us at the Fair by lunchtime. For lunch, I was expecting barbeque and root beer, for I heard there would be a barbeque competition and a root beer garden. But alas! Competition barbeque was not for sale, the only barbeque booth I found had long lines, and I never found the fabled root beer garden. I settled for a hotdog.

Aside from seeing animals and eating food, we also watched tap-dancing performance by some really cool senior citizens. We watched a dog race, and I won a Frisbee for answering a question (Laika is the name of the first dog to reach orbit. I learned this from reading a webcomic. It is a tragic story. We received recipe cards, buttons, and grocery bags (Bean there, done that). We took a trolley ride around the fairground. We looked around in lots of shops, though we hardly bought anything. We visited the Pioneer Village, which I would say was my favorite attraction. I could have spent hours there being mesmerized by the spinning wheel, and would have bought a bag a grits from their mill if they had them. If I go to Indiana State Fair again, I am definitely going to see the Pioneer Village again.

Our day at the Fair drew to a close as we all got too hot and tired. Even I, slower to react to heat than others, had to sit down with a large iced tea just to get enough energy to start walking again. I was positively exhausted! We quit the Fair without enjoying everything it had to offer. We missed at least three sideshows we meant to see, did not taste any never-before-tried fried junk foods, and left many possible activities unexplored. We could only comfort ourselves by saying there will be other chances.
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