Food, fun, and fairs

By April 22, 2016Writing about Writing

asdfasdfasdfadsfaI walked along the stalls of cows. There were different breeds–most I didn’t know, but I could name a few (Hereford, Jersey, and of course the Black Angus). It was a hot day in August, and the smell of the cows took me back to my days helping my cousin with his cattle on the farm. Even though I am from Iowa, a state know for farming, this wasn’t just an every-day cow experience for me. It was the first day of the Mississippi Valley Fair!

My friend was showing her young Hereford (it’s a brown cow with a white head), and we were going to get some lunch before she had to get back to barn duty. I’m sure you’re wondering what, showing her cow and why does someone show a cow. Well, a big part of a fair is the agricultural competitions. Livestock, tractors, produce, there’s a competition for it all. She didn’t win.

fooodOnce we met up, and I got to have some light-hearted conversation with her very chatty heifer (a young female cow that hasn’t had a baby), we hit the main drag for some fair-standard food: corn dogs!

Fairs, county fairs especially, have been around for quite a long time. The idea of a fair goes as far back as the Romans, who had street festivals and other celebrations. But here in the US, the fair goes back to the 19th century when local communities would gather to celebrate, well everything–especially agriculture. There’s always entertainment, shows, competitions, and of course a lot of food.

20a4120a327cc95f6a7a5db042619c4cFor those of you who have never been to a fair, look up your local county, or even State, fair, and make some plans to go check it out this summer. Fairs have it all. Food, rides–usually their construction is questionable, which makes the ride even more fun!–shows, tractor pulls, classic cars, rock and country music, food, all sorts of animals, arts and crafts, food. Like I said, they have it all!

A fair is a great experience and a guaranteed good time! It’s a cultural tradition here in the US, well at least for those of us from smaller communities. So, seriously, find one and go this summer. You won’t regret it.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Erin K. says:

    Hi Mark. I didn’t know you were from Iowa – so am I! I love that you wrote about this topic, it’s so unique and fun and Midwestern. My grandparents, who are farmers, would enter their produce into the agricultural competitions at fairs (although I’ve only been to the Iowa State Fair once). Fairs and festivals are definitely sites that I encourage everyone to experience at some point.