Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

A Day at the 2010 Wyandot County Fair

Dragon on the midway

Even though I’ve spent most of my life here in Northeast Ohio, it’s a sure bet that I’ve been to the Wyandot County fair in Upper Sandusky more times than the Stark County fair, which takes place in Canton, roughly 15 minutes from my house.

While I only have one specific memory of the latter – the year I talked dad into taking me into the Freak Show tent (the paintings on the banners outside turned out to be far more entertaining than the actual faked freaks) – if you ask me to visualize a county fair, the one I build in my mind’s eye is the one I’ve been going to since I was little, across the street from Upper Sandusky High School, in the shadow of the town’s water tower, a cluster of big old trees and white buildings and a grandstand and a dirt racetrack.

My parents both grew up in Upper Sandusky, and my grandma and other extended family still live there, so Jenn and Kelsey and I have tried to make it over for the fair ever since we moved back to Ohio in 1999.

How small is the town, people-connection-wise? The first time I ever took Jenn over to the fair – just the two of us, mind you – when we got out of our car in the grass parking lot, the police officer who’d directed us to our spot said, “Hey, you’re Pam and Rich Booth’s kid, right?”

I ran around these fairgrounds when I was younger than Kelsey is now, hanging out with the kid who lived next door to the house where my grandmother raised my dad and my uncle. I climbed on the farm equipment the dealerships put on display. I remember being on the track one year for the tractor pull when the grandstand was packed to capacity, dad and I sitting in a couple folding chairs leaning against a metal guardrail.

Kelsey and I made this year’s trip with my mom and stepdad, Jeff. My youngest brother and his wife and their three sons drove over, too. We all met up at grandma’s house, and she joined us for a few hours.

Fall traditions

We spent the afternoon touring the livestock barns – Kelsey and I watched the auctions for a few minutes – and, yes, turning the kids loose to climb on these apartment-sized machines that lose their scale when you see them out in those expanses of corn or wheat or soybeans.

Baa-bey Road

SIXTH? I was robbed.

Red and black

Mom and Jeff and Grandma left after awhile, so my brother and his wife and I took turns with the kids on the midway rides. Though I no longer do well with horizontal spinning rides, I’m still enough of a rollercoaster fan that something like the Screamer is just fine by me, so Kelsey and I went for some loops.

Screamer

We eventually took a break for some fair food dinner (Philly steak sandwich & fries for me), and then as the sun started to set, my brother & sister & nephews needed to call it a day, so it was just me and Kelsey.

Of course, we did the ferris wheel (which still gives me slight gut butterflies) and enjoyed a nice sunset as well as a peek at the tractor pull:

Riding into the sunset

Tractor pull

And we paid two bucks to go in the ridiculously painted and terribly lame musical-themed fun house.

We parked ourselves by the fence near the track to catch some of the tractor pull – I can’t explain why, but when those beasts get thrown into gear and the engines rev to earsplitting, I get this electric thrill down the back of my teeth and neck and I can’t stop myself from smiling. And seriously: jet turbines on a tractor. I mean, come ON.

Our final fair-food treat of the night was an order of deep-fried Oreos (they plunk ’em in funnel cake batter, then into the fryer for a couple minutes) sprinkled with powdered sugar. I’d never tried them before, but >shudder< were they tasty.

We visited the barns one more time, and then headed out the gate for the walk back to grandma’s house, where we could still hear the track loudspeakers and the roar of the tractors over the treetops.

I’ve never been more than an average photographer at best, but I really like the shots I managed at the fair this year. You can find bigger versions of all the pictures here, plus others, in this set at Flickr.

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September 21, 2010 - Posted by | Current Affairs, Family history, Food and Drink, Ohio, Travel | , , , , , , ,

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