Last month, on a hot dry Sunday afternoon, my boyfriend and I went to our county fair at my request. I don't exactly have a reason for wanting to go to the fair other than to take in the sights, sounds and smells. It's also a great excuse to eat terrible food and attempt win a prize that you have no need for. I enjoy the fair atmosphere mostly because it reminds me of all the fairs I went to in my early teen years in Pennsylvania, when it was one of the few times I was allowed to roam around unattended with my friends.
Reggie and I shuffled around the dusty fairgrounds alternating an exchange of "What do you want to do?" "I don't care, what do you want to do?" We ate corn dogs, brats and ice cream. Then, as we got to the farthest most end of the midway, there was a big colorful exhibit with flapping banners and a recorded carnival barker calling everyone to see the "great freaks of the world" and I saw this
There is a part of me that is perpetually immature so I snickered "Hey, I want to see that", not being serious. But my normally squeamish boyfriend was actually quite intrigued by the promise of a demon's skeleton and multiple two headed creatures. I typically have the stronger stomach but am easily scared by creepy things or gory images. I wasn't so sure about this. We paid our $2 a piece and entered through the thick yellow canvas flaps. It actually wasn't scary, as I had feared. There were a few pens holding live animals that had extra legs and some tanks of turtles with two heads but they didn't appear to be suffering. The rest of the exhibit was creatures in formaldehyde or taxidermy mounts to show off their grotesque features. I had made it through and was peering into the last turtle tank when a nicely dressed man in a bowler hat approached us and invited us to join a few other people at a small stage near the tent's exit. He started to speak and I realized "Uh oh, something creepy is about to happen here" and tried to dart for the exit. Reggie squeezed my hand and tried to convince me that it would be fine but as soon as I realized the guy was going to "swallow fire", I hid my face in the back of Reggie's neck and didn't look up until it was over. Apparently he took what looked like giant cotton swabs, lit them on fire and put them in his mouth. To me, that is much creepier than a mutant sheep with six legs. I joined in the polite applause and scooted out of the tent. We made a couple more laps around the fair grounds, I won a stuffed dog by throwing darts at balloons, and then we headed to the parking lot. Fair experience accomplished!
For me, the fair is about having fun and feeling like you've escaped every day life for just a little while. I'll look forward to the fair when it arrives again next year, but I'll skip the freak show.