Friday, August 18, 2006

Opening Day at the Indiana State Fair 2006

First of all, I can't believe it has been 11 days since my last post. Now y'all know I usually do better, but a lot has been going on lately, which I'll tell you about in another post. But first I gots to go back and relive opening night at the Indiana State Fair.

If you've been reading since last year, you know our friend Dave LOVES the state fair. The only person who loves it as much as he does is our friend Kent. He and Dave have not missed opening day at the fair in 10 years. I've known for sometime that there was ritual and protocol involved in their opening day trip, but since I'd never been invited I could only imagine it. I'm here to tell you that this year I made the A-list and got an invitation. Writing about it may kick me off of it, but it was too fun not to share.

Here's how it went down:

6:00--Met Kent, Dave and Ken at the Dairy Bar. I got there before Ken did. Kent was giving him directions on the phone when I arrived. After hanging up, Kent announced that Ken was "on property," which is fair lingo for being on the fair grounds.

6:15--I had clothes issues. I'd come straight from work and was still wearing my khakis and light salmon pink, orange, and cream striped shirt. Casual clothes are code, but I thought I'd be home in time to change. To make up for it I bought a sno-cone the color of the pink stripe in my shirt (flavor: Pink Lemonade).

6:20--Ken finds us. He won't be staying the entire night which includes an Indiana high school bands marching contest, but he will join us for the tour of food. All fair food is not alike I learned. You can get corn in several places, for example, but the only place you SHOULD get it is at the Corn Growers' Association booth. Same with the Cattlemen's Association for beef. Dave is most insistent on this point, which I find funny since the only thing he will eat is corn-on-the-cob, no butter. Actually that is not true. He did eat half of a pile of King Taters, the spiral cut russets which are deep fried. These are my favorite favorite fair food, and I ate mine and some of Dave's. Then we bought tickets for the marching contest.

6:30--Tradition holds that you must see the World's Largest Boar, and you must be eating when you see him. It took a little planning to get food in everyone's hand. (My sno-cone was on it's last leg.) But we managed it. Then we popped in on the mule and donkey hitch races.

6:45--Stopped for corn and a lemon shake-up before heading into the ag/hort building. We made a request for Moon River from the organist playing in the middle of the room and then toured the flower arrangements and prize-winning vegetables. We chose our favorite gourd sculptures and moved on to the Home and Family Arts building, which Dave likes to call the Home and Family Farts building.

7:15--Home and Family Farts tours require that you stop by the fair queens photo wall. Patrice, a woman from our church, was a fair queen back in the '80s so we always pay homage to her picture. Dave and Ken can get way sucked into HFF. In fact, I ate an entire corn dog while listening to the Peruvian flute players outside the building before Kent was able to drag them out. It was almost time for the opening band. Dave said a woman was begging him to paint a quilty square and it was hard for him to break away. On the way to the stadium there was some discussion about how outrageous it is to ask someone to pay 4.00 for an Elephant Ear.

7:50--We run into Dave's boss, whom he calls Misses, who slips some snack money into his pocket before the show starts.

7:55--Ken leaves us and we make it into the stands just in time. The band contest is serious. We give scores, but we have to do it quietly because parents are all around us. We use hand signals. I'm quickly dubbed the Paula Abdul of the bunch because I'm an easy grader. Kent notes that points are struck if there is too much (translation: any) interpretive dance in the program. We cheer extra loud for the brave boys in the flag corps.

8:45--Dave informs me that my scores are all over the place. And in between performances we express our thanks to Dave's Boss with a thank you note written on one of the fans they hand out at the marching contest.

10:55--We stay for the end of the show, but not the judging. You have to rush home to catch that on the news.

I don't know if I'll get invited back next year, but I'll always have the memories from this one.


Anonymous David said...

Dear Troy,
I am near the point of tears. I am so touched by this State Fair blog. I had begun to think that your blog well had run dry. I have checked your site at least 5 times per day...I have memorized every hair on Clare's cute little snout at this point. What memories, what memories I shall carry from opening night. And I'll cherish each one. The Indiana State Fair is quite simply, in a word...magical. We were honored to have you along for the 10 year anniversary of band night judging. And thanks to Kent also, for his excellent whistling skills, especially when there was a band parent close by...I'm sure they were proud of their child.
Kudos to male flag corp!!

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Sally said...

I have to say that my favorite 2006 State Fair memory is the fact that the Deep Fried Sauerkraut Balls were a much bigger hit than the Deep Fried Chocolate Covered Strawberries.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Patriece said...

Okay, it's Saturday night, can't sleep and and I have decided to read church member blogs to entertain myself--acutally my first time ever reading a "blog" in my life and I have to say--I think I'm addicted! Your trip to the state fair, and yes I am an authority on this! has got to be the most entertaining I have ever heard of in my long history--yes it was the 80's! so far. I would like to add that I have taken Brahm to the Band Day evening final competition event every year for the last 6 years, he has his very own silver lame flag (yes, purchased for him right outside the grandstand a few years ago) and also dreams of one day going to a high school big enough where he can join the flag corp too! Every year I have had to answer where and why there is no wall of State Fair "Kings" and have suggested to him that when he is old enough, he will need to write the state fair board of directors about this so perhaps sometime in your fair going future, you will have another wall to visit of another church member in order to "pay homage" too! Oh yea, sorry it was the 80's--big hair, big make-up--"What can I say?"

10:54 PM  
Blogger Troy said...

Patriece, do you realize that the only thing that could have made this post better was having an actual fair queen post a comment about it! You have perfected the post. We are honored. And we will SO help Brahm push the fair kings proposal through. He gets our vote for being the first one!

7:57 PM  

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