Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gettin Frisky at the Fair

After all the tomatoes of late July, August was reserved for me to scrub the red stains off my cutting board, walls and self.  Now that I've finished that we're getting back to the business of learning new things.  The end of summer in Louisville doesn't offer much unless you're finishing up a garden, planting cover crops or already dreaming about next season or so I thought.  Enter the KY State Fair (Aug 18-28).  Billed as an agricultural offering with a side of thrill rides and deep fried madness, this was an event I looked forward to for months.

Last Saturday Fuschia and I finally managed to find a common day off so that we could head off to see what we could see.  My initial thought upon arriving: why the hell is the fair inside? and why are there 5 million people here at 10am?  Turns out the fair draws people from every holler in KY,a feat that only KY basketball can also perform.

We paid the entry fee (ambitiously priced at $28 for two people and 1 car), grabbed our free (or $28, depending on perspective) program and headed into the 'C' hall.  Naturally being Cactus and Fuschia, we had managed to stumble into the food court. With no self control and no previous sustenance that day, we availed ourselves of the offered junk food. Breakfast of champions? Philly cheesesteaks with mushrooms. Yummy.

Finally feeling ready to throw ourselves into the milling herd (every pun intended) we headed off to the animal exhibits in hopes of seeing a few piggies. Turns out the animal areas were HUGE and filled with cows, pigs, sheep,goats, and horses.  Fuschia, being a refined suburbanite had never been so close to farm animals and spent most of an hour enthralled with petting each and every creature.
Feeling exhausted (code for hungry) we headed off in search of 3 mythical fair foods: the donut burger, fried butter and fried Kool-Aid.  Eventually we discovered the fair food area in the middle of a baking asphalt parking lot and set about seeing what was what.  On offering were all the usual suspects plus a few I hadn't seen before: deep fried Derby Pie and Maple Bacon Ice Cream Sundae. 

After discovering that the fried Kool-Aid was just cherry drink mix in funnel cake dough that had been deep fried, we opted for the deep fried Derby Pie drizzled with raspberry sauce and sprinkled with powdered sugar.  We both were skeptical that this deep frying and drizzling would in any way enhance the already awesomeness of Derby Pie, but we're always willing to eat saturated fat in the name of research.  Boy am I glad we did.  That fried pie was easily the best Derby Pie I've ever had.  Ever.
With the sun heating up the place, we decided against further culinary exploration, even though we had found a place with the donut burgers (cheeseburger on a Krispy Kreme).  Sadly the fried butter continued to elude us.  Needing to cool off we headed into the 4-H exhibit all to see the Great Pumpkin.

We found not one, but three gianourmous gourds. The winner came in at a whopping 996 pounds, with the second and third places right behind at 980ish and 886ish.  Those things were big enough to make a hobbit condo.

Wandering deeper into the veggie/fruit/nut display we discovered 2 important things: a lot of old people really like to look at tomatoes and we're not very good judges of the relative merits of fair entries.  Either way we had a good time and decided that nothing would do but for us to enter something random in the fair next year. Black walnuts possibly as there were only two entries in that field.

The rest of the afternoon we spent looking at bees, tasting honey, admiring quilts, cakes, home canned goods and really hideous hobby craft entries.  We went to a petting zoo, walked inside a TARC bus (oh the fun), and entered a few drawings for trips to Disney.  I was determined to get my $28 worth.  By the time 4pm rolled around my feet were begging for relief so we took a spin around the fairgrounds on the tram. Approaching speeds of 3mph, the tram gave us a chance to cool off, rest and look at the motley assortment of folks milling around.  Halfway round the parking lot we conceded defeat to the heat and crowds, jumped off the tram and spent a delightful 30 minutes playing hide and seek with the car. 

We'll be back next year for sure, most likely with a few entries of our own and a willingness to dominate the donut burger.

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