Monday, October 01, 2012
Going to the Fair
Every year my family would go to the Hillsdale County Fair. We lived in Michigan until I was about 11 years old, and I vividly remember this tradition. My parents would bundle us all up, load the car and make the one and a half hour drive. We would arrive when it opened and stay until dark.
My dad loved taking us to the fair. He grew up in Ohio and loved all things agriculture (or so it seemed to me). He never lived on a farm, but had many friends and family who did. He knew every type of farm tractor and piece of equipment. He could tell a field crop or breed of animal from the car window and would often quiz me in the car. I think I was the only kid in the fifth grade who knew the difference between a John Deere, Allis Chalmer, Massey Ferguson and International Harvester. To this day, I will notice the farm animals, crops and machinery while driving in the car. I have even been known to ask my kiddos what is growing in the fields, although all too often now it is soybeans or corn.
My fair memories are all about those machines and animals. My dad would take us to all the ag buildings. I think he faced fair day with a little spring in his step and a song on his lips. He loved visiting all the barns. We saw cattle, horses, chickens, turkeys and of course bunnies. I wanted a bunny so badly. I would plead and beg for one of my own. They were so cute and cuddly, and many were for sale. I really wanted a horse, but I knew that was out of the question. A bunny seemed like a reasonable alternative, and they were inexpensive to my young mind. My mom would tell me no about the bunny, while my dad explained far too much about the reproductive proclivity of the animal. After a break for lunch, which my mom had packed and was eaten until the same huge oak each year, we would continue our viewing of the fair. A big highlight was the small engines and tractor pulls. My parents would finally drive home when it began to get dark.
Every year I have visited my husband's family in Michigan, my parents ask if we will go to "the fair." There is never a question as to what they mean. And every year we miss it. Our previous trips have never been this late in the year until now. On Sunday, our family headed out to the fair. In my parents' tradition, we visited all the animal barns first. The kiddos were able to pet many animals. One man brought his 2 month old kid(the goat kind) out of its pen, so we could pet it. My kiddos loved this. They felt the wooly coat of sheep and saw the gorgeous big brown eyes of Guernseys. We asked lots of questions of the owners if they were nearby. Aine was particularly amazed by all the children who had animals. We looked at ribbons and tried to determine the difference between Grand Champion, Reserve and all the numbered places. In between the animals, we also viewed the home economic buildings to see the canning, sewing, knitting and domestic wares.