The County Fair

Picture by the Lonoke County Fair and Livestock Association

Picture by the Lonoke County Fair and Livestock Association

We walk up to the gate to purchase our tickets. Anticipation is thick in the air. The wiry little old man gives me my change and we set out for our adventure. The lights are spinning and I hear squeals of laughter. We round the bend and first is the food court. Nachos and cotton candy fill the air. We walk up to order nachos but I decide on lemonade instead. The nacho cheese can is coated in rust.

We make are way to the midway as the carnies yell at us to come win a prize. I move closer. The man delivering his well-practiced speech has lost his prison pallor. The tanned skin has somewhat dimmed the poorly made prison tattoos. He promises to let me win a prize. I smile weakly. I don’t know what I would do with a stuffed banana or a mirror stamped with The Grateful Dead.

We wonder over to an exciting ride of lights and sounds that will surely make our stomachs drop. Anxiously we look for the perfect seat. The worker leans over us to check our safety bar. He smells of beer and sweat. His eyes spew anger. I just put our lives in his hands. He takes the time to light a cigarette before starting our ride. True to its name, we are tilted and whirled to our hearts content. I decide it is time to seek the safety of the animal barns.

The smell of manure is circulated by the industrial fans at either end. There are endless rows of rabbits and chickens. We find the goats to be a little friendlier. A scratch behind the ear is welcomed. In the center of the building is a small arena where ribbons are being awarded. I speak to the County Judge in passing. He is wearing his best white shirt and cowboy hat as usual.

Somehow I love our small County Fair. I will be there again next year.

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