Tuesday, August 19, 2008

State Fair

This past Sunday was the last day of the State Fair, and after a year of planning, a few of us decided to check out the knitted goodies at the fair. The Missouri and Illinois fairs are at the same time, and at the last minute we decided that the Illinois one was actually closer, and went there instead.

This post is very picture-heavy. You can see the rest in my flickr set here.

One of the funniest things (to me) was a big sign for the fair showing how to get to the different attractions. If you look closely, a very obsessive-compulsive person did the arrows--the thickness, length, and shapes of the arrows are varied to show the locations.
I'll start with the knitting. For the sake of not saying anything if there's nothing good to say, I'll say that my expectations for the knitting at the fair were super high. I expected to be blown away by absolute masterpieces. The whole fair system is somewhat confusing, as the town fairs, county fairs, and state fairs operate independently, and many occur at the same time. So perhaps the virtuoso knitters compete at the county/town level, and didn't show off their goodies here.

Well, there were a lot of bulky fun fur and fairly simple objects, but surely the knitters had a good time knitting them.

There were a few lovely knitted objects. This shawl was unfortunately folded up and it was hard to see, but the visible part is in a beautiful feather-and-fan lace pattern.

This sweater had very good detailed colorwork.

This cream-colored afghan was an aran-lover's dream!

The crochet was better than the knitting overall. I hadn't realized you could make doilies this nice.

This multi-colored one is especially gorgeous!

There was one piece of tatting, another doily. I'd never seen tatting before, so this was pretty cool.

Right after we walked in, they informed us that the "hobbies" section of the fair was closing, so we had to leave. :(

We moved on to the food section. I was surprised at how few baked good there were--no pies at all, and just a few cakes and breads. I'm assuming that a lot of the edible competitions happen earlier on, and the goods get eaten or they go bad sitting out for 2 weeks. There were two dishes still out, as part of the Spam competition. One is some sort of Spam dip served in a pineapple, and the other is a Spam-tortilla roll-up. Yikes.

Being a vegetarian, the produce and grais were way more appetizing.

Here's the obligatory giant pumpkin! The scale read zero, so either it was broken, or the pumpkin exceeded the limit of the scale. It was really huge, and came up about mid-thigh!Then came dairy, with all the cheeses, creams, and whatnot. Unfortuantely, there were no cheese curds left.

This is a calf and cow statue made entirely of butter!
We moved on to the various real animals in the fair. Most of the animals already went home, so there were just a few to see.

There was a competition of these animals. We had to ask whether these were baby horses or ponies, and learned of the existence of miniature horses. Ha! They are very graceful and thin, like ballet dancers.

This miniature horse is not a show horse because he is too stumpy, but he is cute and lovable so he's out for the commoners to meet. Look at his little bangs!

My camera ran out of batteries so I didn't get any pictures of sheep, or the huge bags of shorn wool. But here is an awesome plaque on the outside of the Sheep Pavilion.

I hadn't realized that the fair takes place on permanent grounds, and there are big buildings dedicated to each type of farm animal. I felt very sad for all the animals, as I'm sure they'd prefer to be lolling about freely instead of cooped up in cages (and, eventually, being eaten). Alas.

Of course, no fair experience is complete without some deep-fried food! I had some deep-fried mac-n-cheese. They tasted like mac-n-cheese from a box, except fried. That was a once-only kind of thing, ahem.

We had fries, corndogs, lemonade, kettle corn (!!), funnel cake, samosas, fried plantaines, etc. Again, not many pics of the food because of the camera battery.

Another hilarious (again, probably hilarious only to me) part of the fair was the "Ethnic Village." There's a little food kiosk for each cuisine: English, French, Dutch, India (they left off the "n"), Korean, Greek, Polish, etc.

The specialty at the Dutch kiosk was funnel cake, which seemed weird until they told us that funnel cake is Pennsylvania Dutch. Aaaah, o-kay.

The most decorated kiosks were the least "ethnic," and basically sold all sorts of weird fried things, like coke (!) and snickers bars. The take home message was that the world's cuisines consist of anything deep-fried.

Oh, except the cuisine from the Republic of Beer.

All in all, it was a grease-heavy but fun day. And we are all fired up to enter the fair next year, and win some ribbons!


soknitpicky said...

I'm wondering what in the world happens to the butter sculpture when it's all over? I mean, do they do some huge lobster fest and everyone dip into the melted butter or what?

tina said...

I'm sorry to have had to miss the fun. Especially the food, I really only go to a state fair to eat if the truth be told. Last year we went to the fair over Illinois way..... and I have to say I was also quite underwhelmed with the knitted goods. Personally, I think that it is b/c nobody enters anymore--- it doesn't seem like the popular thing to happen.

We should reverse the trend!

granny said...

im about to go to my first state fair!!

i hear at the minnesota state fair (the one i'm going to) they deep fry everything!

pretty excited.