I raced harness horses for many years. It was a fantastic time in my life. There has been little to compare to the thrill of one of my horses crossing the finish line first.
My favorite place to race was the county fair. I looked forward to fair season every year. Not only was it easier to race there, and I felt closer to the race since the tracks are close to the barns we stabled at, but the entire fair itself was enthralling.
Once my horse and her equipment were unloaded, she was settled in her stall, and I retrieved her warm up pad with her number on it, I made my way to the fair.
The sounds of clanging and the rides going round and round were all around me. As I walked down rows of game booths and food stands, the smell of the ‘fair food’ invited me to partake. What would I have today? I enjoyed the gyros, funnel cake, and french fries covered in vinegar- to name a few of my favorite great greasy fair foods.
I visited each building. As I visited the Arts building, I saw all the ribbons awarded before the fair opened. The blue and red and other ribbons were displayed on the wining pictures, quilts, pies, cookies, cakes, and artwork the locals brought to the fair. I loved seeing what and who won first prize. Once I entered my own cross stitch piece. I wish I could say I won a blue ribbon, but we’ll get on with this story. It was just fun to participate they tell me.
Each fair I made sure I stopped by the 4-H building to see the vegetable art the children displayed. They brought gourds dressed as farmers and carrots with faces painted on them. Watermelons decorated and some with faces carved out like Halloween pumpkins were also some of my favorites creative additions to the fair. I always thought, ‘These kids have talent.’
The fair that was the blue ribbon winner for me was in Lancaster, Ohio. This fair had all the usual buildings and displays, but this fair was my fair to remember. As I strolled through the poultry building, I was fascinated. The 4-H er’s were preparing their chickens and roosters for show. Some girls had just given baths to their white hens. They were the whitest I had every seen. Then, using blow dryers, proceeded to dry them. I stood watching and was speechless. These young girls waved their blow dryers over the chickens as the chickens submissively and agreeably let them. Their little eyes were half closed as the warm air blew at and over them. Their feathers blew under the flow of air coming at them as they were primped for show. They seemed to be enjoying the whole process. While I was quite amazed, these 4-H er’s seem to be saying, ‘just another day at the chicken and rooster show.’
On the other side of the poultry barn, another amazing site awaited me. A young man had his rooster on a stump. He was working diligently cleaning the grooves in the rooster’s feet with a toothbrush- he had to be perfect for show of course. As this young man worked, what I found amazing was the rooster was not being held, he was just standing still, letting his young owner clean his grooves.
After enjoying each fair, I focused on my race horse. It was her turn to have my undivided attention. I brushed her, put her equipment on, warmed up, and then sent her to the start line. We were off! The race ran and sometimes we were even first across the finish line. Sometimes it was just great taking part in the sport- so they say.
I am looking forward to you sharing your favorite summer or fair or chicken or 4-H story with us. I know everyone’s been to the county fair.