Monday, September 18, 2006

A day at the Fair

Yesterday I went to the fair. The Utah State Fair. For some odd reason I really like the state fair. I like to look at the livestock, the vegetables, the kitsch-y booths, the vendors selling miracle cures or miracle kitchen tools. Need your hand cast in wax? The State Fair is the place to be. Want to detoxify your body by soaking your feet in "high tech" water bath that pulls brown goo out of your feet? Or to buy a nifty new kitchen gadget that allows you to make the perfect salsa with ease? Yup. The state fair is your baby.

My kids are teenagers. My 17 year old son opted not to go with us this (how he loved the fair when he was little, it’s sometimes sad when they grow up), and my daughter wanted to bring a friend. The girls just wanted to ride the rides so after shelling out $18 each for ride wristbands my husband and I were to see everything else the fair had to offer.

We look at the livestock, what’s left at least, as it’s the last day of the fair so much of the livestock had to see. Tiny ones, fuzzy ones, straight eared, lop-eared. They are so cute. Then there are the monster bunnies. I think the monsters are Holland Lops, and they positively huge! Much bigger than my cat, and bigger than many small dogs. Every year I am so tempted to bring home a bunny!

Then we head to the agriculture building, where the veggies and flowers are now looking a bit past their prime. But the 100 lb watermelon is still big (but down a half a pound from its debut at an earlier county fair) and the giant pumpkins are massive; the largest was 718 lbs. This year the giant butter cow was accompanied by a butter girl and a couple of butter cats. Yum? There was a great big blue ribbon on a piece in the container gardening section; a succulent garden planted in a child’s red wagon, complete with a Barbie doll wielding miniature garden tools. Can you say kitsch?

I also really love the Home Arts building, with the baked goods and all the textile arts. Utah has many really excellent quilters, and I love admiring their a their work at the fair. From there we visit the Fine Arts building. I guess in Utah fine art is defined as painting and sculpture. My favorite part of fine arts is the children’s exhibit. Every year I am totally amazed by the talent of some very young children.

In contrast to the fine arts, is the Creative Arts exhibit. I guess Creative Arts is the catch all for everything don’t the know how to classify. Pottery, woodworking, ceramics, mosaics, stained glass (which many years ago was in Fine Arts, I guess it got demoted), jewelry, lego sculpture. Yup, I said lego sculpture. In among the gems, as there are always some very fine woodworking projects and pottery pieces etc., there are seemingly bizarre entries, like lego sculptures. This year there was a huge diorama of paper models of Star Wars space ships, all hung by threads in their own little cardboard box universe, or should I say universes, as the box was split in half so there were actually 2 alternate universes. The other bizarre thing about the creative arts exhibit is organization (or lack their of) of the displays, for instance stained glass was displayed together, but fused glass was spread throughout the building. Really cool creative artwork, sitting next to things that look like kindergarten projects. My husband was actually astute enough to notice the signs with the keys to the exhibitors. Their nametags were category coded by color: professional, amateur, kids, seniors, disabled. It was kind of a relief to learn that those school kid like displays were indeed made by kids, and that the poorly painted ceramic santa was painted by a disabled person.

One genre of creative art that I laugh about every year is the plastic canvas needlepoint. I dislike plastic canvas needlepoint, (I dislike plastic!) and there are always numerous plastic canvas coasters and plastic canvas tissue box covers and of course the requisite plastic canvas Barbie house. This year there was a twist on the dollhouse, - it was actually a giant plastic canvas Barbie boat (a yacht perhaps), complete with plastic canvas Barbie furniture. Quite the innovation in creative arts I’d say! At least this year I know, by it’s color coded card, that it was made by a senior citizen., so instead of wondering WHY anyone makes that plastic canvas crap, I have in my head this nice picture of grandmotherly figure making the perfect Barbie accessory for her grandchild. It makes the plastic canvas seem a little nicer!

The last big part of our trip to the fair is ride down the "Giant Yellow Slide" which everyone knows, because they make an announcement every five minutes is a "Utah Family Tradition". The announcements must be great marketing as the Giant Yellow Slide has become my family’s tradition!

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