A few days ago we (the kids and I and my dad) went to the Altamont Fair. It is a three-county fair that's been around for ages and ages and I absolutely love everything about it.
When I was a little girl, we learned how to address a letter at the end of the school year. We would carefully write out our own name and address and at the end of July, in the mail you would get that envelope filled with free tickets to go to the Altamont Fair. It was an envelope full of excitement because first of all, you were getting mail, and second of all, it had tickets! To see animals! And go on rides! And eat fair food! I bet there is COTTON CANDY!!!!!
So every year I would excitedly run and show my mother and grandmother my FREE TICKETS FOR FUN and a certain female authority figure in the household, who was not my mother, would sniff and say, "Harumph! Fairs are FILTHY!!" and we would not go.
I am not joking when I tell you I was 19 years old the first time I went to the Altamont Fair.
I love bringing my girls to the fair. We used to go with Danny, too, until he made one too many faces while smelling the cows and wearing an ironed golf shirt. "I don't think you're really a Fair Person," I told him and now we go during the day and he doesn't seem to mind missing it at all. I dragged my dad along, too, for support since I was bringing Alec in a stroller, and while he had a great time, my mom told me afterwards he took a three hour nap as soon as he got home.
We saw lots of different animals: goats and cows and horses and ponies and chickens and sheep and our favorite, the rabbits. ( I have a secret hankering to get a couple of rabbits to keep in our backyard.) While we were walking around, we saw the goat judging and I eat up every second of that. Something about seeing school age kids who have raised their own goats and try to win awards for them just absolutely tickles me... it seems so wholesome and pure and good. I am mesmerized by the judging: the discussions of bettering the breed, why one goat's characteristics are more valued than another, and so on. I'm pretty sure while we were watching the judge was talking about collapsible udders. I'm not sure what button that pushes with me, but it most certainly ties into the fact that I was a farmering Pilgrim in a past life. (See previous post on this subject.)
We also went to the recreated Farming Village, with period storefronts, and the 1800's Farmhouse. Outside the Farmhouse was a sign that read, "Come inside to a time when men were men, women were women, and children were unpaid labor." I smile every time I think of that.
We got the girls' faces painted, got balloon hats, ate some yummy food, watched a monkey show, and walked all around.
I love this monument to simpler living, without cellphones and text messages and fast-paced living and kids growing up too fast; this celebration of savoring a moment, delayed gratification, the joy of hard work and the togetherness of families working towards a common goal. Of course I have no idea if that's how the people showing animals at the fair feel or live but it's a romantic notion in my head just the same.
I am so happy to share this with my girls, even if it's just for a day.