Friday, August 15, 2008

At the Fair

We're about halfway unpacked from Pennsic, and Aaron's about halfway moved into his new apartment. But yesterday we didn't make any progress on either project - we went to the Indiana State Fair.

There's a SP12 Question about fairs, so this gives me a chance to be good and answer it: "Have you ever entered your knitting (or anything else) in the fair? Would you consider it?"

I've never entered anything in the State Fair, but maybe I should. At Indiana's, there are usually a few spectacular pieces, a lot of mediocre stuff, and some truly horrible things. Aaron & I like to amuse ourselves at the fair by finding the most dreadful piece in the Home & Family Arts building, but I won't share pictures of any of this year's candidates, just in case someone recognizes them. I'll just say that plastic canvas embroidery and seed bead work tend to yield some of the best bad stuff, although I think the Very Creepy Vest With Heads we saw a few years ago was "wearable art." It probably tied with the Princess Diana Memorial Tissue Box Cozy for the all-time weirdest, although the embroidered plastic-canvas soap dispenser cover may be the Worst Idea Ever. How can wet sticky stuff and yarn be a good combination?

Speaking of bad ideas, there were a few in other places. For example, Ball State University has a new slogan.

Is it just me? "As long as you redefine 'education,' you'll be pleased with what you get here." Does it make things worse that this is Dave Letterman's alma mater?

But you can't spend all day at the fair making fun of stuff, right? There was plenty of cool stuff to see, do, and eat. Soon after we got there, we discovered that UPS uses this little golf-cart truck for fairgrounds deliveries.

There was a huge Indiana tourism display along one street. The people of Vevay, IN had a fun contest where you could try to bounce (plastic) grapes into a wine glass to win a prize - and lots of helpful information about their upcoming wine festival. We didn't win, but I don't think the prize was very wine-related, so it's ok. Or is that sour grapes?

At the tourism display, I learned that the Sisters of Providence of St. Mary of the Woods have established the White Violet Center for Eco-Justice, a ministry dedicated to sustainable living. So they have beehives, organic crops, and ALPACAS!!!! I only knew St. Mary's as the place girls go visit when there's a math fair at Rose-Hulman - I had no idea that now they're doing all sorts of fiber-related stuff. They're going to have a fiber retreat in September, and I think I may try to go.

Who knew that there was a big Wizard of Oz festival in Indiana? My sock does, because it stopped to meet this bunch, from the Yellow Brick Road museum in Chesterton. It turns out that the Wicked Witch of the West is a knitter. I wonder how she blocks her knitting?

And speaking of "who knew," who knows what this plant is? It was on display in the garden outside the Agriculture & Horticulture building, and it's very cool looking, and that's all I know.

Of course, the best thing about the fair is the food. After years of careful study, Aaron, the socks, and I all agree that the Lions have the best roasted corn on the cob. The Kiwanis were selling corn at the Tippecanoe County fair, but they were boiling it. So now we know that fair corn is a once-a-year treat, best at the state level. We split all the other fair food we buy, so we can taste more things, but we always get our own ears of roasted corn.

There was also lots of food that you don't get to eat, like the giant pumpkin...

...and the giant cheese sculpture. 1,595 pounds of cheese for the curious, which means nearly 16,000 pounds of whole milk. No samples available, though :-(

Then there's the food you don't want to eat. The Hot Beef Sundae was this fair's other spectacular entry in the Bad Ideas department.

The fair offered some ideas for things I want to do, like this naturally dyed sock.

And there were examples of things I never want to do. These people may have the Worst Job in State Goverment - wrangling the poisonous snakes for the Department of Natural Resources.

There are four poisonous snakes in Indiana, and they were all at this year's fair.

Here's a bit of random cool stuff - sculpture from the sheet metal workers. These guys were spending their days helping kids rivet together tool boxes, which has to be the noisiest job at the whole fair.

And some less random coolness - the Circle City Sidewalk Stompers, my favorite clown band in the whole world. You can't quite see it in the picture, but they even have a funny face painted in the bell of their tuba. I've been watching these guys - or this group, at least - at the fair for as long as I can remember. Roasted corn and a clown band. That's a pretty good fair.


Blogger Calliope said...

that looks awesome! We're heading up to the MN state fair in a week and a half. Illinios's (we've been twice, though not recently) has not been much to write home about.

One of the women in our spinning group is thinking of going on that retreat, too, I think...

5:59 PM  

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