This weekend I attended the Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem with my daughter, Carly, son, Rick, his wife, Jennifer, and my three grandchildren. It is an amazing fair and we had a great day. I had no idea we would endure the intensity of a melanoma growing sun in Winston-Salem in the middle of October. I got quite a bit more sun than my dermatologist would recommend…..which is none.
One of my favorite things about a fair is the variety of food available that I would not, could not, order anywhere else. I love a real carnival corn dog and funnel cakes, washed down with fresh squeezed lemonade. I abandon any concern for hygiene standards. Don’t ask don’t tell. One joint even fashioned their funnel cakes into French fries, making it easier to eat while walking the fairgrounds. Novel idea.
Something they do here in the south that may not be a big hit in the health-conscious Pacific Northwest, is that they deep fat fry everything. Healthy food like broccoli and string beans. Fry ‘em. Candy bars, Oreos, and Twinkies. Not unhealthy enough. Let’s fry ‘em. One place even advertised fried butter. I am not a health nut, but WTF? Who thought of that?
I am in a place in my life where I have become an observer of life rather than a participant. The fair is the absolute best place to people watch. If you ever lack in self-confidence or have image problems, just go the fair. You will feel like Brangelina with a touch of Einstein. Note to woman weighing 4 bills: There is no place on your body that a piercing enhances your look. Please do not show them to me. I just ate a corn dog.
I am certain that every person who has ever punched out a relative on Jerry Springer was present at this fair. And I am certain that the people running the rides that we entrust our children to have all done hard time or were acquitted on a technicality.
Mountain people, who only come to town once a year, come to the fair. There is a booth there where the carny offers to guess a rube’s weight, age, or birth month (Like in The Jerk). Judging from the people I saw, it would be more interesting to guess their number of extra chromosomes, number of teeth, or which is higher, their IQ or the temperature. If they really wanted to make the game challenging, they would have the yokel guess who their daddy is. Kind of a Maury Povich twist on the game.
After I had put in the appropriate amount of grandpa time and the obligatory waving like a moron at the kids on carnival rides, I followed the sound of music to the stage where various bands played all day. I heard two really good local bands: Doug Davis and the Solid Citizens and Kavish. Both were very enjoyable. I left before the Pranksters took the stage. They were a Grateful Dead tribute band and since I would not cross the street to see the actual Dead, a fake version did not interest me at all. Of course the advantage of playing a 2 hour Grateful Dead set is that you only need to learn one song. They tend to go on forever. The Grateful Dead have given me a very graphic description. When I want to portray a very foul odor I say "smelled like Jerry Garcia's beard."
Adding to the excitement of the fair was the fact that Wake Forest was playing Maryland at the adjacent football field. It was homecoming for Wake, so they had scheduled one of the worst teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference to assure a victory. Is it me, or does the Wake Forest mascot look suspiciously like Ebenezer Scrooge? They call him the Demon Deacon. I have no idea what that is, but when he comes onto the field he is riding a motorcycle. Wake Forest is an amazing school. It is very small but very competitive against the huge schools on its ACC schedule. They have a beautiful football stadium.
This fair is by far the largest I have ever been to. But I knew I was out of my element when I realized there are people that can tell goats apart. There was a tractor pull that drew more of a crowd than several major league baseball teams. But the coup de grace was that there was a line to get into the vegetable displays. I will stand in a line for a funnel cake but not to look at a turnip. Even a prize winning one.