Friday, August 21, 2009

The Montgomery County, Maryland Agricultural Fair

Wednesday, our friend Michael, Ron, and I headed off to the County Fair. I haven't been to a fair in a decade, but as a kid, I was there (Latah County Fair) every year with my 4-H projects. I was a townie, so my 4-H projects didn't include large animals, but I entered many cooking, sewing, forestry, and electricity projects in the fair over the years.

So it was with very fond memories that I headed out to Gaithersburg, and the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. It might not be the experience of my youth, but I was sure the fair would have good times in store.

Contented Cow

Who can resist an adorable cow? This one was being groomed, and looked like she was enjoying herself. And why shouldn't she? She's at the fair! She's a Contented Cow. She's about two weeks away from being hamburger. I didn't whisper any of that to her, because I didn't want her to worry about anything. Cows have feelings, too. In addition to this bodacious bovine, we saw some very cute bunnies, which are just a couple of weeks from stew. But they were really cute, for as long as they are around. Reminds me a little of the Twilight Zone's To Serve Man. Do you suppose that rabbits ever think about things like that? Do they know what's going to happen?

Deep Fried Oreos

Food = Death. At least that's what this fair specialty appears to be offering. It tastes pretty good, though. Oreos are dipped in a sweet batter and fried. They are served very hot, and you can create a small nuclear meltdown in your mouth if you eat them too soon or too fast. It's just as effective as pizza mouth. The Oreo loses its crunch in the transformative process, but it still definitely tastes like an Oreo. It's an evil food, but worth it. And did you really come to the fair to eat healthy food? Fair = Adventure.

Lots of Country Ham Sandwiches

Did I mention that I had a Country Ham Sandwich in addition to the Fried Oreos? Michael and I have been to fairs before, so we understand the food and the animals. I think this may have been Ron's first county fair. So this was an anthopological experience for him. I'm not sure that he actually looked at the pigs and saw ham sandwiches, or someone's 4-H project that was going to yield a lot of Christmas money. The ham sandwich was delicious (although I did manage to squirt barbecue sauce on my wrist while overshooting my sandwich). And let's face it, pigs are cute. These were suffering some from the heat and the humidity. The stalls had sawdust on the floors, and the sawdust was soaked down with water, but the pigs still were taking it easy in the heat. These are big, beautiful animals, and I do feel qualms knowing what I know about their demise and my complicity in it.

Fried Dough!

Ah yes, the Midway! When we got to the fair, we hopped on a shuttle, that took us to the top of the fairgrounds, then we walked through the exhibit and barn areas to the Midway. Fried Dough. Well that just about sums it up! I saw the sign, and it captures much of the essence of what a county fair should be, while leaving you scratching your head, and wondering where you can find some Kettle Korn.

Michael and I rode a couple of kiddie rides. The really big rides didn't appear to be operating. I guess the crew was waiting for all the high school kids to get there for the evening. So we road some rides that tossed you around a bit, but didn't even come close to tossing your cookies. Not that we wanted to.

Freak Out

We had enough tickets to take one more ride, and we had to Freak Out. Wow. This is a great ride. I was praying for it to end before it did, and I'm not religious. You sit in seats at the end of a pendulum. At the highest part of the swing, you are approximately 70 feet above the ground, and it's a scary view. Michael and I both said, "Shit!" at exactly the same time. I said, "Jesus Christ" a couple of times, and am pretty sure that I meant it. The little kid sitting next to Michael kept saying, "Wait, it gets better!" He asked his friend when it was all over, "Want to go again?"

A young couple in their twenties was seated across from us. His face was white during the whole experience, and his girlfriend was laughing at him. You should go to the county fair just for this ride. I had such a sense of accomplishment when I stepped away from this ride. This is an awesome experience.

Oreos, Michael, Kettle Korn

And that was our day at the county fair. Pigs, Kettle Korn, Freak Out, and Oreos.