Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Marion County Fair

The kids and I went to the Marion County Fair over the weekend. Having lived outside of the state for many years, I have a special appreciation for our county fair, as well as for the Iowa State Fair. When I lived in New Mexico, I attended the New Mexico State Fair every year. I remember teasing my wife Annie (a native New Mexican) that the “New Mexico State Fair would rattle around inside the Iowa State Fair like a BB in a rain barrel.” And it’s true. It 's also true that while the New Mexico State Fair is larger than the Marion County Fair, the Marion County Fair has more representatives of every farm animal except perhaps horses.

We wandered the fair entries and admired the handiwork of our fellow residents who chose to share their creativity with us. The animals caught the kids attention as they marveled at the size of the horses and cattle and the playfulness of the goats. The bent over cages and spoke gently to rabbits, and laughed out loud at a rooster they decided to call "Elvis" because of his hairdo.

Of course they rode some rides, and played some games on what I presume is called the midway--I don't know what else to call it, but I thought it a fine midway for a county fair. I was pleased to see some old fashioned games--tossing dimes in dishes brought back some memories, but what really caught my attention was the game where one tosses darts at balloons in an attempt to win a stuffed animal. An old man with a soft voice took my couple of bucks and handed the kids darts. They threw, threw again, and again, as the man continued to hand them darts as the kids continued to fail to pop a balloon. Finally, my son popped a bright blue one, and the man handed him the biggest stuffed animal on display, saying "Congratulations! You win the grand prize!"

My daughter continued to toss darts, to no avail. Finally the man said, "Want me to pop one for you hon?" She nodded, and the man popped a big yellow balloon in the middle of the board, smiled, and asked her to take her pick of stuffed animals. I don't remember which stuffed animal she chose, but I do remember the smile on the man's face as the kids gleefully waved goodbye as we walked away, stuffed animal treasures under their arms.

Dr. Bob Leonard

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. Glad to find a fan of the fair and particularly the Iowa State Fair. Figuratively speaking, I've seen that same balloon guy a million times over. There is an old blog post here you might appreciate. (These are many of the same carnies that come to Des Moines every year (or did until this year). All the best. SA