I don’t recall attending any country fairs when I was a little kid.
Fairs are big in Connecticut. From August through October you can go to Terryville, Goshen, Hebron, Bethlehem, Harwinton, Berlin, Durham, Woodstock – and about a dozen more. Or you can travel up to Springfield, Massachusetts to The “Big E” – the Eastern States Exposition – a regional fair for all of New England.
I guess my parents weren’t crazy about fairs – I didn’t attend the Big E or the neighborhood Terryville Fair until I was in my twenties. I suppose (actually, I know) it was a waste of money for a family with lots of kids – junk food and then carnival games that you can’t win and more junk food, and then rides to assist you in getting rid of the junk food.
I suffer from motion sickness. My husband can’t even back up the length of our driveway without warning me, “Close your eyes for a second.”
So carnival/amusement park rides and I are enemies. Mortal enemies. In my home town, we have an amusement park – Lake Compounce – that is rather famous for being the oldest continuously-operated amusement park in the U.S. My sister still goes there regularly, first with her children and now with her grandchildren, and reminisces: “See that ride? Your Aunt Nancy threw up on the ride. See this ride? Your Aunt Nancy threw up on this ride.”
So I’ve never had a great love of amusement parks or carnivals. But I did attend a church fair every year – Saint Anthony’s Parish in Bristol had a big fair – I think in June of each year. And I discovered – through a dare – one ride that didn’t make me puke.
The Ferris Wheel!
I may not be able to go around and around on a carousel. But I found I could go around and around vertically.
How I loved it. I loved stopping at the top and swinging the seat just a little bit. I was so brave!
I’d save my money for months so that I could ride the ferris wheel several times over the weekend. My best friend and I would go early and watch the rides being set up. I couldn’t wait.
The only thing besides the Ferris Wheel that I spent money on at the St. Anthony’s Fair was the most exotic food I had ever eaten.
Oh my God! The smell, the texture, the pretty pink (only pink, thank you) color. They way it dissolved on my tongue. And there was no other place to have cotton candy the whole year except St. Anthony’s Fair.
Now it is everywhere, and no longer has the power to enchant me. What a shame.
But I have found that country fairs offer so much more than puke-inducing rides. There are cows and chickens and ax-throwing and skillet tosses. And now even pig races and demolition derbies.
And though I don’t eat cotton candy anymore, I really love a greasy steak-and-onion sandwich. This year in Goshen, I had a steak-and-onion sandwich so greasy that when I picked it up, a river of steak-and-onion grease ran down my arms and shirt and all the way to my jeans. You can’t get much better than that.
But I demonstrated remarkable restraint.
Because I didn’t have:
Apple Crisp a la mode
Ice Cream Sundaes
Root Beer Floats
Slushies and Flurries
Corn on the Cob
Steak On A Stick
Chicken On A Stick
Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Deep Fried Dough
Deep Fried Oreos
Deep Fried Twinkies
Deep Fried Pickles
Deep Fried Snickers
But I could have.
I also could have had a Fresh Garden Salad.
But that’s just crazy.