This weekend Boyfriend and I voyaged to the coast to visit the Ventura County Fair. The only fair where you can watch the surfers from the top of the ferris wheel. We go to this fair every year, and each time the things we see and do solidify our intentions to attend next year.
The weather this time was meek and mild during the day; in the evening the maritime dusk condensed into a fine mist that melted on our faces like newborn rain. But when we arrived there was no time to think on that; there was no time to stand and stare, to dodge the children and their equally aimless parents, to smell the piles of bratwurst cooking on open grills…we had to move quickly. The Turkey Stampede – back, no doubt, by popular demand – was about to being.
The passage of one year did not lessen the competitive majesty of the event. The winners were inevitably the ones who remembered that they had wings, and were able to figure out what they were used for. There's a lesson in that for all of us, I think.
The Wildlife Experience was next, and it introudced someone new, a dramatically patterned stealth glider:
It stared beyond us and the palmtrees and the ocean, thinking perhaps of cold forests and frosted nights. It stared at us with magnificent disgust. It was rather grand.
From there, we elbowed people aside and pushed away all obstacles as we feverisihly and frantically cleared a path to: The Bunny Barn.
Once inside, we immersed ourselves in a Velveteen world of Lops and Dwarfs,
colored white, lavender, fawn, otter, spotted, stippled and solid:
Boyfriend put hand and fingers – showing signs that Someone Isn't Wearing Gloves When He Trims The Trees – into considerable danger, risking an attack-by-nibbling on several occasions. All I could do was snap pictures and hope he wouldn't have to be fitted with a hook later on:
Meghan, a member of the local 4-H chapter, found herself to be the modest center of attention:
When we emerged into the sunlight once more, we realized that we hadn't a moment to lose. We were becoming lightheaded with the excitement of it all.
For there was a new show at the fair.
Something new, something daring – something which could change our world view and possibly even alter America's political climate.
First the human members of the troupe whipped the audience into a porcine frenzy by playing a song I wasn't familiar with, but which had the refrain, "I'm going hog wild!"
Then the pigs were introduced: Snort, Nellie and Petunia. And the pandemonium began.
There was hoop jumping:
There was lawn mowing:
There was football kicking:
There was horn blowing:
And, finally, there was suitcase packing, prepatory to moving on to the next fair. Life on the road is hard:
This, friends, was hammy hysteria, and it is no surprise that the Leno and Lettermans whows, as well as Animal Planet, all agree: Valentine's pigs are a panic.
As we staggered away from the proceedings, deeply moved, yet at the same time confused, we found ourselves lured by the barn smells, by the rustling sounds of alfalfa and hay being cut, by the bleats and baaaas of sheep and goats becoming impatient. We came upon rows and rows of pens – all containing either sheep (warm or shorn),
or goats: amber-eyed, wearing beards or…goatees, ready to mistake your sleeve for an appetizer.
We continued our walk all the way to the far end of the fairgrounds, towards the stables and the large corral used for all equine competitions. We watched the finalists for the drafthorse pulling competition – 3 pair:
To see these fine creatures, so massive, yet with the feathers dancing lightly around their fetlocks, was quite moving, and our applause was most heartfelt:
Now, since these horses were so large, reins were too subtle a controlling device; so the drivers also had to rely on their voices to guide their teams. I was able to hear quite clearly the driver of the first team calling the name of his lead horse: "Nancy". That rather delighted me.
Now, I'm convinced that this fair – as much as I love it – is involved in a nefarious conspiracy, a diabolical plan to make every one of its attendees sick; to have each one experience an unexpected reunion with their lunch. The fair's rides are located next to the gallery of gluttony, a dazzling street of edibles designed to tempt, to amaze, to make one believe once more:
And there is not a single ride that does not hurl or toss (ironically), swing, pitch or bounce.
I promised Boyfriend that I would go on one. And I'm not saying that it was Hell, but I thought I saw Dante sitting across from me. He later told me that he was going to add another chapter.
So, I would like to advise all of you: visited your local county fair. And If you come away tired, dusty, sunburnt, queasy from eating several meals made up entirely of grease and sugar or barbequed fat – fainting from the deliciousness of it all – if you find yourself in all ways physically disrupted, yet full of memories of bunnies, turkeys, pigs, fragrant farmyards, horses in glittering silver harness, wild animals, wild rides…well, I gave you fair warning.