Recently I went to two rural country fairs in two adjacent counties. Both fairs were similar in size but they were in very different venues. One was in a town that’s poor, very rural, and the county itself is sparsely populated. The other (only an hour’s drive away) was in a small “city” that’s far less poor, and the county’s population is about triple it’s neighbor. It was practically a controlled experiment!
- At the “poorer” fair I drove up in my truck, parked in a field, and walked into the fair. No money changed hands and nobody cared where I parked. I didn’t see any “staff”.
- At the “richer” fair I was intercepted at the paved road and waved into an elaborate multi-lane queue. The queue was manned by a fleet of volunteers outfitted with matching t-shirts, reflective vests, and scowls. I handed an utterly humorless, reflective clad, future TSA employee $5. She wouldn’t look me in the eye and dismissed me with an imperious wave. Then I was shunted from one grim, menacing, volunteer to the next until I parked exactly where I was “ordered” to park. I counted seventeen volunteers in all. They all acted like the pre-fair warm up was to get kicked in the spine before attending their Mother’s funeral. I’m not sure why one fair got by with an open field and the another needed a militia to collect $5. Nor am I sure why volunteering to “help” park cars makes you desolate and hardened. It simply it is what it is. (Note: both parking fields were roughly the same size and equally filled. Despite what you’ve been led to expect, “chaos” did not break out in the unmonitored field.)
- Dogs have fleas; fairs have politicians. At one fair the Democrats and Republicans had (nearly) adjacent booths.
- Democrats were giving out bumper stickers (I forgot what they said).
- Republicans were giving out little copies of the Constitution! Rock on!
- The Democrats just had a stack of bumperstickers. Want one? Grab it.
- The Republicans made you answer a trivia question (American History) before you got your Constitution. Racists!
- The Republicans gave candy to children (but not adults). One pre-teen kid didn’t want candy. He dutifully (and correctly) answered his question and received his Constitution. I practically exploded in joy.
- America Fuck Yeah!
At the “poorer” fair I bought a raffle ticket for a gun.
- There’s always a gun raffle.
- As is customary, the profits go to charity.
- I always buy a ticket.
At both fairs but especially the “poorer” one there were booths run by many churches.
- Soulless heathen that I am, I couldn’t differentiate the difference between booths.
- The assorted denominations seem to get along fine. I’m glad because a religious war at the fair would feature old folks with heart conditions and it could get ugly.
- They all wanted to save my soul. Thanks guys, I appreciate it.
- A few went overboard with graphic anti abortion stuff. I avoided them like the plague. Even if abortion is murder we don’t need an ugly poster near the cotton candy booth.
- One was giving away free water. Don’t drink the water!
- At the “poorer” fair I bought a raffle ticket for 1976 snowmobile. I hope it runs!
- The “richer” fair had mounted cops and periodic ATV patrols by the reflective vest club.
- The “poorer” fair appeared to have no staff anywhere.
- Crowds at both fairs were identically happy and very well behaved.
- Both fairs had live music and it all sucked. Nobody minded.