Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's My Turn

We managed not to loose anyone at the Fryeburg Fair without having to put leashes on our kids. There were a few tethered kids on the fairgrounds and I guess if you have a kid who's prone to running off, it's a good idea. Remarkably, I didn't hear any loud speaker announcements for lost children or parents. Twice, though, we almost lost Silo, H's favorite stuffed puppy dog.
In the Natural Resources Building C wanted to buy a weasel pelt for $10. He could have gotten the skin off a coyote skull for only $3 or a raccoon tail for $6. Instead he came away with a disturbing coloring book titled "Utilizing Maine's Fur Resources," which was free and gave him the opportunity to color objects like long spring, under spring, coil spring, and body griping traps; not to mention the somewhat more humane and least-likely-to-ruin-a-good-ten-dollar pelt box trap.
The farm museum at the fair contained a massive display of antique odds and ends that was probably the final resting place for the many attic, garage, and basement collectibles that every house inevitably contains. The display of chain saws was staggering.
In addition to bathrooms for both men and women, plus a family bathroom, there was a "mothers' lounge." I pictured a bunch of mothers in there sitting around smoking, drinking, and playing video poker. There was no video poker at the fair that I could see (I didn't check the mothers' lounge), but you could bet on the harness racing and there was a big tent for bingo, and a smaller one for poker.
We paid $24 for four of us to ride the Ferris wheel making the next day's $24 per person admission to Story Land seem like a real bargain.
Shopping is popular at the fair - and not just for my as yet non-existant "I stood in line to see the pigs" t-shirt. We saw people going by with so many purchases they'd filled up their baby strollers and were now forced to carry their offspring.
You know what George Carlin would have said about that don't you? "That's all a stroller is, it's just a place to keep your stuff." One group went by with a stroller jammed full of goods and not a toddler in sight. Hopefully he (or she) was waiting with a relative to use the family bathroom.
The booth that was selling "the world's most absorbent towel" was doing a brisk business. Everyone we passed seemed to have bought one. I thought that there must be a booth offering orange yoga mats at a great price, maybe overstock because of the non-relaxing fluorescent orange color. That's what the world's most absorbent towel looks like - a rolled up, bright orange, yoga mat. These towels were selling for $20 each and lots of people were carrying around not one, but two of them. It seems like a lot of money for weird-looking towels. Why for $40 (plus $2 more) you and six of your closest friends could take a spin on the Ferris wheel.
Auntie Martha and Stephen met us at the fair. C was delighted and I think H was too though he wouldn't let Stephen escort him to the bathroom - family or otherwise.
The Natural Resources Building also included a booth with a display of very real-looking rubber scat. It was the hands on version of Everybody Poops and C couldn't get enough of it. Auntie Martha enlightened us by explaining that moose poop (I mean scat) is larger in the summer than in the winter because of changes in the moose's diet.
In addition to rubber scat, the real thing was in abundance at the fair. What is an agricultural fair for if not to watch various animals defecate? My kids were constantly pointing out super interesting things like, "look mommy! that cow just stepped in his own poop."
"That's an ox, honey."
"Look mommy! that ox just stepped in his own poop."
Speaking of poop, I was throughly impressed with the caliber of the restroom attendants. I wonder if they travel with fairs or if they were just local help. They certainly earned every dollar tip they were collecting - and they were collecting plenty - enough for a whole set of those super absorbent towels. The women minding the bathrooms were friendly and efficient. They would tell the people at the head of the line what stall was opening up so you knew exactly were to go without having to bend over and check for feet. It was a bit like being in a horse race.
"Number 14," Dee would yell, adding, "Number 14's heading out of the stall. And she's out ladies, she's out!"
One attendant was so good I heard her say, with her back to the stalls, I hear the toilet flushing in number 11 honey."

song: It's My Turn • artist: Diana Ross

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