Monday, March 1, 2010

Trip to the State Fair

We recently took a trip to the Florida State Fair.  Michael took the day off of work so that we could go on a Monday, because going on the weekends is a nightmare.

Let's just say that most of the fair is a little too state fair-ie for me.  I grew up in a small town and belonged to 4-H.  We always entered different competitions, such as cooking, sewing (the first time I ever sewed!), cat show, etc, and every year we went to the 4-H fair.  We would often spend the whole day there while my mom & dad were at work.  Maybe it's nostalgia talking, but I remember really enjoying the small town feel of our local fair.  I would give up all of my fabric (okay, maybe not) for a taste of the homemade ice cream and a meal from Pork Producers right now!

The fair from my youth is a planet away from the Florida State Fair.  We had our bags checked on the way in and I had to dump my water, just in case it was actually vodka.  The security worker shared with me that one lady brought in a 12 pack in her diaper bag.  eek.

At the 4-H fair in my hometown, the midway took up about 1/4 to 1/3 of the fair grounds, and it was never the main attraction in my mind.  At the Florida State Fair, at least 50% of the grounds are dedicated to ride after tacky midway ride, carnies calling out to you every 5 steps, and all kinds of nasty foods that I wouldn't even feed to the pigs in the (small) livestock barn.  Is it truly necessary that we offer deep fried butter balls to the already grossly overweight general population??  And that there is not only one, but two locations at the fair to buy said butter balls?  And how about a burger sandwiched between 2 Krispy Kreme donuts?  Is your mouth watering yet?

I say we need less midway and more fair, but that is just from this country girl's perspective.  Now there is one very bright spot in this otherwise abysmal waste of time & money - Cracker Country!!  I love this part of the fair and it's the only reason I wanted to go.  And I actually learned that they are open the first Saturday of the month, which means we can go next year and skip the fair!

Cracker Country is a collection of old log buildings moved from their original locations to this area of the fairgrounds.  There is an old schoolhouse, general store, a couple of homes, a church, an outdoor kitchen, and some other buildings.  Our trip coincided perfectly with our recent listening of the Little House on the Prairie book on CD.  It was great for Spencer that we could translate what we learned to a real setting.  The first thing we saw was two young men making real life Lincoln Logs!

Spencer & I played a quick game of corn cob checkers in the mercantile!
Cracker Country is the best value at the fair too.  While each ride on the midway costs $4-6 dollars and lasts about 30 seconds, in Cracker Country, you can hand dip a candle for $1.00.

You can also make a rope for $1.00.  

And you get to take both home - awesome!!  All you get to take home from the Midway is an empty wallet and a tummy ache from eating too much deep fried butter.  Although I will say Spencer looks pretty cool driving his boat!

My other favorite part of the fair is the livestock barn and the small animal building, where the bunnies and chickens stay.  We were able to see a lady spinning yarn from rabbit fur, which was super cool for me as yarn is my new favorite.   And the kids even got to pet the bunnies!

And on the way out Spencer spent the rest of his tickets to take Daddy on the skyride!  Of course they couldn't take the round trip ride because his $8 worth of tickets would only buy them each a one way ticket!

So if you head to the Florida State Fair next year, bring your (fat) wallet, butter starved arteries, 
and your pioneer spirit!


  1. An interesting commentary on the FL Fair, and a great read! Cute photos, too. I enjoyed reading you memories of days gone by......

  2. How do you deep fry a butter ball, anyway? Sounds like Florida cooks are very clever to figure this out without just melting the butter. Cracker Country sounds like my cup of tea as well.
    Great writing, BTW. I'll be looking for a kid's travel guide to the southeastern US next--or maybe the US northwest some day!!