I have to admit, fairs have always been a special place for me. Dad was the grounds superintendent at the local fair when I was growing up. Our house was on the property just outside the gate, and the fairgrounds were my backyard.
My bike took me all over the grounds. I liked to go to the wishing well, which was in a park-like setting. There were weeping willows, and benches, and nooks and crannies. As I played, I could picture the area as it looked in those 4 days that the fair was in full swing. Right across the way was the pastrami booth, which always had a huge line. That was the only time of the year I had pastrami, and it was such a treat. Of course, this was in the time of very few fast food eateries.
The VFW hall had the hamburger stand at the north end of the grassy area. You never had a grilled burger like they served. The smell of the meat on the grill and the onions permeated the air.
The shish-ka-bob stand was right across from VFW. Chunks of steak, tomatoes, onions, peppers. I never ate that then, but looking back now I bet they were terrific. I had never had food like that at home, and wasn't very brave about trying something new. And as I think back on the pastrami, I didn't try it for several years for the same reason.
Right around the corner was the taco stand. Seems like Mom was part of the group of ladies that ran it, and she helped on serving some. This was another popular stand, and always a line.
The common theme was the sense of community. Organizations were active participants, which of course meant more people could experience the fun and work. When you ordered that burger, or picked up the novelty item from the youth groups' booth, chances were good that you knew who was serving you and could share a laugh or comment.
I liked to ride my bike to the grandstand area, particularly on the day after an event throughout the year. I've pulled many nickles, dimes, and quarters out of the dirt that fell out of pockets and down to the ground!
There was also the livestock area. The 4-H and FFA kids camped out close to their cows, horses, pigs, or sheep, and the fair was a culmination of their work as they vied for ribbons and bragging rights.
Speaking of bragging rights, each of my sisters and I entered our chocolate vinegar cake in the baked goods competition over the years, and I'm thinking we each got a first prize ribbon for it. (I know I did!) And I had some crocheted slippers that got an honorable mention. Good memories.
The Fort Worth Stock Show is on now, and I may have to head over there. Haven't been in several years, and they don't have displays of quilts or handwork, but it's still a good time just waiting for me. There will be lots of those livestock, especially the cows!