Monday, 13 August 2012

Fair Time

So I meant to post last Thursday, but somehow I managed to save as a draft rather than posting. It was really just an explanation for why I was lax about posting...I wrote:

"Today and tomorrow are busy, busy. No time to take pictures. I'm out at the parents', and Mom and I are running around like the proverbial headless chicken. Must be time for the Fair. Entries to prepare and label, flowers and veggies and baking and handwork...
So far today I've baked bread and rolls, squares and cookies, and filled almost 20 vases with flowers, sewed the buttons on the baby sweater, and tagged everything but the jam and and the veggies."

Now here it is Monday evening, and I've just gotten back to the apartment and unpacked, on the road to recovery from a whirlwind few days.

Fair time was always one of THE excitements of the summer for us as kids. We waited eagerly for the prize-list book to come out so we could see what categories we could enter things in this year. The excited flipping-through and fighting over it came second only to that of the Sears Wishbook before Christmas. Then there was the decision-making - What do I want to enter? What do I have time to make? Followed by a few weeks when we were immersed in getting our entries produced. A friendship bracelet. A Lego display. A creature made of vegetables. And the fair itself - the petting zoo, the demolition derby, a treat of cotton candy, the spending of our small monies on trinkets, the finding out if our hard work had garnered a prize, and the (mostly good-natured) competition as to who had the most prizes.

I've been bringing things to the fair as long as I can remember, and in some ways, nothing's changed. I still like the petting zoo and the demolition derby. The treat of the day is usually ice cream rather than cotton candy, and the buying of trinkets is past. But the preparation is still quite a job, mostly because while you can make things like jam and handcrafts ahead of time, the baking, vegetables, and flowers kind of have to be done in the 24h preceding the Friday 10am deadline, when entries have to be at the fair. And so choosing how much to enter in those categories really boils down to two things: "What do I have time to do?" and "How much will fit in the car?" And Mom and I usually manage to get everything in, barely, and arrive with a few minutes to spare. After 20+ years, it's practically down to an art.

Sunday afternoon we pick up everything and bring it home. There is the sorting out of vases, consolidating what's still good into a minimum of bouquets - there are only so many places one can put a bouquet in the house. The sorting out and storing of vegetables, and the putting away of the paper plates we keep for the purpose and re-use yearly. Finding places for baking and opened jams and relishes in the fridge. Detagging and restoring to their places all the handcrafts. And finally, when we are both ready for a cup of tea and a sit-down, Mom and I count our ribbons to see who did better (Kind of ironic we were doing it on the last day of the Olympics this year). She won this year for total number and number of firsts. She usually does. But I got a Best of Show for one of my flower arrangements and she didn't, so we've both got something to boast!

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