We wait all year. And then the best day of the summer arrives. The one where we go to the Clackamas County Fair.
I love the fair. I love everything about the fair. I love getting a chance to peek in on this lifestyle I have always, always wanted to be a part of. I love how incredibly friendly everyone is. I love how the kids have this great air of confidence and authority, resting their heads on the rumps of their resting cows, tugging on their stubborn goats (and they really are very stubborn), cudling their bunnies, wearing their fancy new Western shirts. I love how totally nonchalant they are when they win a ribbon. I love how they sit around in the barn in camp chairs playing cards and eating elephant ears and gossiping. I love how serious and proud they are.
I love how willing they are to share it all with us.
I grew up horseback riding every weekend at a suburban Chicago stable. Every Sunday, one of my very generous parents would drive me to the stable, almost an hour away from where we lived, and hang out as I learned what a curry comb was, how to post on the correct diagonal, how to pick hooves, how to canter and jump (and jump and jump and jump). Sometimes I would get to hang out in the barn after my lesson, and that was my very favorite time. I was a city girl with a country heart.
I don't think that's ever really changed.
Especially when I see liquid noses, giant pink ears, and baby-cow eyelashes. [Squeeeee!]
I have to admit that some of the birds scare me, though. Good thing I have a macro lens. Don't peck me.
They don't call it kettle corn for nothing.
The lead singer said to the crowd of us watching the band, "So, tell me — what's y'all's favorite food to eat at the fair?" Andy and I without hesitation [and in unison, I might add] yelled out "KETTLE CORN!" which we were, at that very moment, stuffing into our mouths. For some reason, we were the only people who answered. She scanned the crowd and asked again, "Anything else?" And a smiling kid a few picnic tables away yelled out "LAMB CHOP!" Which was pretty much met with total silence. The singer said, "Lamb chop. Okay!" And then she gave up on us all and cued the band.
We saw the kid a few minutes later, having a great time on the mechanical bull.
One of the best things about the fair, besides just getting to walk around holding hands with Andy at the fair, is the Pioneer Village.
There's a circle of pioneer ladies spinning and embroidering.
What I really wanted to do was make a candle.
But it was a little too crowded.
I might get a book and try to figure out how to make one on my own, though. I've never made one before. It looks incredibly relaxing. Andy said he used to make them at summer camp and it was really fun.
Inside the pioneer cabin the afternoon light is golden.
We went back through the goat and sheep barn on our way out. I really didn't want to leave.
We said goodbye to the Grand Champion dam (that's her).
We watched one more round of sheep judging.
And then it was back to the city. What a fantastic day at the fair.