Monday, August 06, 2007

It's Not Fair

I can't believe that on August 5, our regional fair began. It's not right! Growing up in this area, my recollection of the fair was that of the autumn bounty and harvest. That people and animals were comforted by the cool, crisp days and nights at the fairgrounds. We wore a sweater when we went over for evening dinner. Today, the fair near my home is experiencing drought conditions and record heat. I have not visited yet and I hope for rain before I roam the grounds to choke on the dust.

I expect this is all about money. The fair has become another summer attraction for the many tourists who flock to Northern Michigan. In the days of my youth, the fair was a time to celebrate the end of sumer and that hectic tourist season. It was a time to visit with neighbors and take advantage of the delicious meals the local churches cooked up each evening. Each church had their specialty dinner and over the course of the week I could taste them all.

Did I mention that I could ride my bike to the fair? And that a pass for the week was a reasonable way to enjoy meeting my friends and taking in all the different activities each evening? Today I must drive to the outskirts of town and wait in line to be directed to my parking spot in a dirty, dusty field. I can only afford to visit one day so I miss many of the activities that are spread out over the course of the week.

And dinner at today's fair is carnival food. Oh, I enjoy a good corn dog and Gibby's French Fries once in awhile. But it's a far cry from the fried chicken, hot roast beef sandwiches, fried fish, homemade pies, real mashed potatoes, locally-grown and harvested vegetables and local dairy milk that I enjoyed each night at the fair of my youth.