Thursday, June 4, 2015

County Fair

Smells. Odor. Aroma. The instant you enter the gate of a county fair your olfactory sense is bombarded by machine gun bullets of images that have lain dormant in the memory cells of your brain. Scientists maintain that our sense of smell is the last one we lose as we age and that it triggers more forgotten memories than any of the other four.
Go out to the fair that has endured for over a century and breathe in the enticing aroma of your yesterday when a ticket bought the excitement of the gaudy midway and a night of thrills. Take you grandchildren, banning all tablets & cell phones and let them explore the world of smell. Cover their eyes and encourage them to identify the odor of horse droppings, the sweetness of honey, the burnt sugar of cotton candy, the fumes of gasoline, and the buttery crispness of popcorn all coming at them in a calliope of sensation. Today they may believe the Grands are a bit on the balmy side, but in future years they will be introducing their own grandchildren to the different odors collected witnin the fenced grounds of a fair.
Summer time is fair time. To be a perfect county fair it must be hot enough to bake potatoes on the roof of the grandstand or rainy enough that rivulets of sweat dripping from you nose match the drops splashing in the puddles on the road. There is never anything fair-to-meddling about county fair weather. Mother Nature provides her own perfume to match the whim of her outstanding productions.
Fairs are first and far most about individual competition and the judge's decisions are final, at least until next year. The idea of individual competition has almost disappeared from our consciousness and been replaced by teams or groups, both in industry and education. Though for the life me I've never discovered a group brain. The county fair revises the importance of individual achievement.
Who bakes the best pie? Who preserves the crispest pickles? Who trains and rides the most skilled horse? Who raises the most outstanding pig? Who drives the strongest team of horses? Who creates the most intricate quilt design? These questions and many more are answered each year at the county fair. Who is crowned Grand Champion and takes home the purple ribbon of royalty? It is a glorious week of achievements and recognition for the individual and speaks to the very foundation of American principles.
It is also dirty, muddy, grubby, and loads of fun to dance along on the winds of smells , no matter what your age.

Nash Black thanks the contributors to Google Images for the photos on this blog, they are not their own.

1 comment:

  1. My first comment disappeared, so my apologies if there are two.
    I loved county fairs, but we haven't been in years. I loved seeing the animals, often brought by 4H club kids, and then I found out the winning animals were usually slaughtered afterward--what a horrible reward! But the scents of cotton candy, buttered popcorn, and the greasy metallic smell of the ride mechanisms are with me still. Nice post, Nash Black!