I’m just about as excited as a fellow can be about the Arkansas State Fair opening up next week. I grew up going to local fairs and was a big fan of the agriculture and livestock competitions. My siblings and I often entered poultry, calves, pigs and, if the timing was just right, the giant pumpkin contest. It all depended on when my grandfather harvested his corn.
My grandfather grew pumpkins in with his corn. He’d buy about 2 pounds of pumpkin seeds and add them to the corn drill when he planted corn in the spring. Every so often the corn drill would spit out a pumpkin seed in place of a corn kernel and by the end of summer pumpkin vines could be found snaking between the stalks. At harvest time we kids would run ahead of the wagon gathering the pumpkins and by fall there would be a mountain of them piled up by the barn for feeding the cows and hogs. If the harvest happened in time for the fair we’d pick out the biggest pumpkin to enter in the giant pumpkin contest. I can’t recall ever winning, but prospect of winning was just as good.
Except for grabbing some fried onion rings and doing a little people watching, I spend most of my time at the fair off the midway. I love the livestock and poultry barns; the local crafts, food and canning is always worth a look; and the petting zoo is fun, especially if they have a glass paneled brooder so I can see the chicks hatching. My final stop is the sideshow area. I do love to hear a good barker.
Are you planning to go to your local fair this year? What’s your favorite thing to do there?