I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned my absurd love of fairs. Maybe it’s my Midwest upbringing, but I LOVE FAIRS. All kinds: local, county, state, whatever. I love everything about them. I love baby animals and prize-winning chickens and little kids showing pygmy goats. I love gussied-up llamas and livestock judges waxing poetic about cows and fancy horses with braided manes. I love midways and overpriced rides and smells of awful fried food and obnoxious barkers trying to get people to play their ridiculous games. I love expo halls full of craft booths and tables covered with handouts about bugs. I love handmade quilts with ribbons pinned on them and dioramas with model trains running around the edge and forestry exhibitions of endangered animals. I love ugly but lovable elementary-school art projects and musicians demonstrating mountain dulcimers. I love samples of local honey and displays of exotic fish and barns full of rabbits.
I just really, really, really love fairs, and the Florida State Fair is one of the best I’ve been to. I saw the Budweiser Clydesdales, fed a butterfly, and watched a woman weave cloth with a wooded loom. I tasted ice cream some guy made as part of a demonstration to get people to buy some contraption or other. I found out that Florida has a special kind of horse called a Cracker that does a funny little trot and saw a kid get hauled over to a hay bale by a goat he was trying to show. I watched people feed carrot sticks to giraffes. I spent seven hours looking at wooden clocks and bonsai trees and recycled yard art. It was great.