Good Times at the State Fair

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?

9 Responses to Good Times at the State Fair

  1. Cindy says:

    Wow! Your enthusiasm is contagious. I want to go to my state’s (Texas) fair and I want to eat fried onion rings! And, grow pumpkins!

  2. I love our local county Fair. My favourite things there are the animals…from the rabbits to the cows…the baked goods and jam competitions, crafts and flowers. The bull riding and the fairy floss (cotton candy). This year I asked if the fairy floss people could make me a fresh one on the paper stick…just like I had back home.

  3. Lisa L. says:

    My local county fair is already over and sadly I didn’t make it this year. But in years past my favorite part was anything equestrian. I love watching the barrel racing, cuttin’ horse competition, steer wrestling, etc. I love to ride myself and I admire the level of skill and knowledge those riders have. And with my love of photography I enjoy the fine art competition and seeing all the local talent.

  4. Stoblogger says:

    I love the Texas State Fair which has far too many exhibits to begin to name them all, the Texas Star ferris wheel, and my favorite method of travel while there–the monorail, offers excellent photo opportunities. This fair is famous for its outlandish fried foods, some of which are quite tasty while most I can do without.

  5. Linda L. says:

    My cousin was a state fair winner with his chickens. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I took home my first state fair ribbon and the followng year I was Reserve High Point in one of the horse breed shows. The prize was a check and a trophy shaped like our state. Now that was exciting. Since then I won the state fair (in the 1990s) five times in a row in roping! Later, the same horse carried my son in leadline and walk-trot barrels and poles. Our fair was in August and was it hot. Allen, you are so lucky to have your fair in October. Have a great time and don’t get sick eating all the glorious junk food.

  6. Nancy Clendenen says:

    I too love the fair. When I was a kid I raised chickens, on a Naval Air Station of all places and exhibited them at the County and State Fair. This was out in California.
    Later my eldest son raised rabbits & exhibited them. That was in Arkansas
    Now in Louisiana there are no chickens now but I remember the excitment when I was a kid.

  7. Bev Hinkle says:

    4-H is the big thing in our family .. I was a member, my kids were members & now my grand-kids are. The Logan County Fair & the Illinois State Fair are the highlights of our summer .. both being held in August. Over the years, we have & still are showing cattle, pigs, rabbits, horses & goats, as well as the arts & crafts, knitting, crochet, baking & canning. My daughter have an on-going rivalry to win the machine bread class. This year my grand-daughter caught a goat in the goat scramble & will take her back to show at the fair next year. Just yesterday, the goat visited her 3rd grade class for show & tell….Fairs .. Food .. Family ..Fun!!!!!

  8. Kat Robinson says:

    I love the fair for a whole lot of reasons. My favorite place is the Arts & Crafts Building at the Arkansas State Fair. I love seeing what people have come up with year after year, especially the quilts and the vegetables.

    I just did a piece on my blog about the food that’s going to be out there at this year’s Arkansas State Fair.

    The 2011 Arkansas State Fair Food Preview”

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