BY ROCKY BERRY
You’re half-way through another Summer in everytown, USA; where did June go? Time does have a way of escaping when we’re busy. Maybe you’ve managed a day out of town here and there, but that great escape just hasn’t happened.
Whether you pull off an entire week’s vacation or simply manage to sneak off for a couple of days, we all know a *big ticket*-style break isn’t always in the cards; that said, you need to do SOMETHING before the traditional Summer months have passed you by and you’re back rooting through your Winter closet, looking for those longhandles and fluffing up that parka. If you’re not averse to a little travel, parking in a weedy lot, milling noisy crowds, a fuzzy purple admission stamp on the back of your hand and love the crazy kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and flavors of a dusty dog-day midway – you may want to consider shaping a short “breather” holiday around fair time – throw that cumbersome itinerary to the wind, strike out on your own and enjoy a sampling of regional traditions while soaking up the sights in the “next” zipcode – or neighboring state!
What better way to grab some time with friends and family, explore new-to-you historic landmarks and Summer scenery and enjoy plenty of down-home entertainment, great eats and crazy impulse shopping – (everyone needs a stuffed blue tiger on a stick, right?) all without breaking the bank and absolutely at your leisure!? All across the country, Summertime is Fairtime – why not go where the dizzying blur of carnival lights beckon and the obnoxious roar of a crowded grandstand chokes out the squawk of that needy cell phone – kick off your cares, shoulder your way through the sweet pendemonium and chow down on dangerously delicious deep-fried, spun-sugar and double-dipped childhood treats while you play to your heart’s content!
Just because your LOCAL event has dragged up and headed down the road doesn’t mean it’s over for the Summer; someone, somewhere else has raised the fattest hog, grown the biggest tomato or baked the very best blackberry pie, ever – and folks will show up to see who got the blue ribbon this year. The sweet language of fair time is universally spoken and understood; pity the stranger to that electric tingle of anticipation that arrives with the culmination of months of planning, growing, building, practicing, or just WAITING to push through that turnstile! Let your travel team track down the best of the festivities wherever you care to go – County and State Fairs and annual, seasonal festivals dot the maps in every state, popping up like wildfires as temps soar, crops flourish and vacation times roll around.
Big name Country and Western stars and small-town upstarts, truck and tractor pulls, mutton bustin’, bull riding, team roping and barrel racing, demolition derbies, livestock judging, horseshoe tournaments, sheep dog trials, hog calling and horticulture shows, fine photography, woodworking, jewelry and crafts displays, games of chance and demonstrations of lost arts, rows of gleaming, jewel-toned mason-jarred jams and jellies, pickles and preserves, pies, cakes and homemade fudge, proudly preserved regional traditions and that ridiculously sublime midwayfareyou just can’t pull off at home served up piping hot and heavy on the condiments and a heaping helping of noise, dust and sugar – all and more await fairgoers everywhere.
What’s not to love about these glorious celebrations of local agriculture, talent and tradition? There’s just something magical about the skyline of a busy fairground at dusk; for a few hours or a few days, the world is your oyster; you’re a kid again. Choose one somewhere you’ve never been, pack a bag – and GO! Get lost in the crowd at a concert, re-home that goldfish in a bag, grab an icy Coke and corndog and go catch yourself a classic case of ride-induced motion sickness; haven’t you earned it?