Caramel Apples, Cotton Candy, Elephant Ears, Fried anything, Footlong Corndogs…(my personal favorite) sweet potato or minced meat pie gathered with wonderful straw hat adorned fellows, bellowing, “howdy pardner” on a tractor. Is there anything more innocent, precious and simple? Just down home good folk wearing cut off jean shorts who can’t get more gosh darned genuinely kind. Well, it’s that time of year. It’s time for a great State Fair.
Step right up and win an ashtray!
Other than rock fights, potato fights, wiffleball games, basement boxing matches, and an occasional sibling showing up on Christmas with a worn down 20 dollar snowmobile, (which we proceeded to destroy), Spokane had little to offer………other than the annual STATE FAIR!
There were pigs, chickens, rabbits, bulls, cows, ducks, horses, cats, and every other animal anyone could eventually eat while living in Spokane. It was our five dollar Disneyland. There were also rides. I remember thinking to myself, “should I sacrifice this money on a corn dog, or ride the “zipper” or perhaps, the “sizzler”? Knowing I could perhaps do all three, I was both dumb enough and smart enough to skip the corn dog because it would be projectile vomited on one of the rides, thus wasting one dollar and ruining someone’s shirt.
The innocence of those days makes me remember that we didn’t have to drink and get thrown out of a bar to have fun. We simply needed a snow cone, a funnel cake, and as a good friend once told me, “you gotta get the crusty pup”. That’s a corny dog to you and me.
Deciding to further research this complex subject, I combed the streets of Seattle and Bremerton, Washington, interviewing people seeking memories of past State Fairs. My wife thought this was a frivolous idea, therefore, I did it anyway. Some of the people requested their names should be changed to protect their innocence.
Top Ten State Fair experiences and or prizes…..in no particular order: These are all tape recorded responses so forgive me for the lack of sentence structuring.
1: Craig Handjob: “winning ashtrays and beer steins only to carry them back on my bike to my mom and dad who didn’t drink or smoke”
2: John Dwellingson: “proudly displaying my half Iron Maiden mesh T-shirt I just won for my first girlfriend”
3: Taco Stone: “displaying so much corn on the cob in my teeth that people thought I had never been to a dentist”
4: Britter Bear Gannon: (that’s her native American name) “won a goldfish after playing a game costing my parents 50 dollars. It was dead by the time we got home”. (Ironically, she ended up marrying a dead fish)
5: Larry Johnson: “won or found a cat. I was stoned at the time so I really don’t remember. (Coincidentally, he ended up marrying a woman who is allergic to cats. He no longer smokes pot). These were fascinating people!
6: Jackhole Brownstain: “winner of the best pornstar mustache competition”
7: Yawn Larson: “I ate an entire watermelon, including the rind and seeds. Threw up for two days but won an etched ACDC mirror”
8: Seamus Mcgillicutty: “I saw the biggest balls of my life on a bull. I haven’t been to a fair since” (some of these testimonials are sad)
9: Conner Russell: “my dad was going to beat up the man running the pony rides because he didn’t think it was safe enough”
10: Russ (he used this name as though it was the equivalent to Cher, Madonna, or Prince) After only providing this mysterious name, he said to me only two words. “demolition derby”. He then strolled off to find the closest monster truck show.
Initially, I began making fun of the idea of State Fairs as being complex. Currently, I am amazed at the capacity and complexity a State Fair maintains. There’s just too much to offer. Therefore, I would like to ask my friendly followers to add anything I am missing. But take caution, because I have the 12 foot corndog of dreams story to offer regarding The Spokane County Fair. It involves a man only known to some as, The Old Man. Not the dude. The Old Man.
Just wait until I talk about Carnivals. That may be dubiously better, or flat out worse.