This past Sunday my father, my husband and I packed into a Jeep Wrangler and went to the Ohio State Fair. The evening prior we had decided we wanted to arrive at the fairgrounds early, as in 9 o’clock in the morning. This decision was made with the weather forecast in mind because storms, according to our meteorologists, threatened to invade central Ohio later Sunday afternoon. The morning held the greatest chance of avoiding soaking rain drops, which seemed all around ideal for visiting the fair.
As it turned out, there was one brief downpour that served to cool us down midway through our trip, so it was a welcomed visitor. Also welcomed visitors were the clouds and wind. Here’s a tip we learned from our time there. If you see that there will be windy conditions, cloudy skies and a chance for rain, this is what it means for your visit: a fresh, consistent breeze, no blaring sun and a mist to cool you off from your trek around the acres of asphalt. Who would have guessed it would turn out to be a major bonus?
The fair is always a ‘I can only go once every few years’ event, but when I go, I do enjoy it. For me the adventure is mainly about the animals. I love cattle, which admittedly is a genetic trait coming down from my mother’s lineage. I especially love Jersey cows; sadly our day at the fair produced no Jerseys but rather the closest breed to a Jersey, a Guernsey cow. I was able to pet her. They are cute, sweet and soft, but not the same.
During the one rain storm of our trip, we happened into the cow barn and watched the judging of Ohio Shorthorn cattle. They are quite an adorable breed with their stocky bodies, fluffy coats, large eyes and manageable nature. In other words, it would be difficult for me to not turn this breed of cattle into a pet. They are bred for their meat, but perhaps I could add a few to my future herd and tell everyone they are a new type of dairy cow.
We ventured around for what most people would say is the main staple of the fair: the food. I will hide nothing from you and admit this was my second motivation in visiting the fairgrounds after visiting the cattle. I wanted to get some delicious fried food. I will also hide nothing from you when I say that my ability to consume vast quantities of fried food does not exist, except in my imagination. This being the case, I knew I had to choose wisely. How could I resist deep fried mashed potatoes? They were delicious by the way. And deep fried red velvet coated Oreos? Ah, certainly worth trying because the cake-covered coating provided a pillowy exterior that was far superior to the ordinary fried Oreos. The final celebration of food was an elusive funnel cake with Bavarian cream topping. It used to be so popular, but the deep fried gummy bears must have pushed it out of the category. Side note: Deep fried gummy bear? Who considered this? They are giant gummy bears if you are wondering because I certainly did when I heard a DJ talking about them on the radio. The idea perplexed me far longer than it should have. Back to my point, the funnel cake was my final tasting adventure of the day and it was well worth seeking it out back behind the helicopter rides, haunted house and kiddy roller coasters.
To work off the fried goodness, we walked back to the dairy area to check out the butter sculptures, which were a fun assortment of Ohio animals such as a salamander, whitetail deer and cardinal as well as the ever-present, always popular butter cow. As a sculptor, I appreciate having to work in a medium that would be as challenging as butter. Plus, is that a good way to begin a diet? “So you’re commissioning me to make 5 sculptures out of how many pounds of butter?” I think I would need to cook with olive oil for the next year after that project. Either way, I’m so glad there are willing artists because the sculptures are fun to see.
Last on our agenda was the Agriculture building. My dad is growing pumpkins in his garden this year not because he planted them but because they sprouted themselves from the Halloween pumpkins of last year. That’s a testament to those seeds that they overwintered despite the ridiculous arctic temperatures. Because the gourds are growing at a rapid pace, I was curious if the fair would have a few on display. I was also curious if his pumpkins could rival the ones other people brought in. We went to the Ag building, but alas there were no pumpkins. They must be arriving this week for their competition. His potential in winning a gourd competition will have to go unanswered for 2014.
All in all, it was a fun time with my family, lovely animals, mild weather and good food. We came home and rested, I finished reading ‘Mrs. Poe’ just as the weather radio began chirping about a tornado watch in our area. The fair, summer reading and tornado sirens, is there any better way to mark summer in Ohio? I think not.