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Friday, August 25, 2006

A Redneck Af-Fair

There's no other place like Lebanon, Tennessee to host the annual Wilson County Fair, otherwise known as, "A Redneck Af-Fair." Last night, eight of us including, Mandy, Amanda, Lisa, Sarah, Emily, Natalie, Lana, and myself, entered through the gates to participate in some carney rides, livestock observation, and as Sarah says, become "Fair Fatties."

(I wish someone had told me to put my sunglasses on...
And I also wish the lady that took this picture had not framed the porta-potties in the background...)
Top row, L-to-R: Lisa, Sarah, Lana, MA
Bottom row, L-to-R: Mandy, Emily, Amanda, Natalie

A casual stroll through Fiddler's Grove yielded pens of exotic camilidae. We were greeted by a gangle of alpaca, happily munching on their hay. Further up, a proud llama and her even prouder, breeder, posed for photo ops. Choruses and shouts of "Tina, come get some ham!" and "Come here you stupid llama!" rang out when the eight of us laid eyes on the majestic creature. And I got tickled, because the llama's breeder held a surprising resemblance to an infamous character we all know and love...

As hungry as we were, it was our mission to find the Circle C Racing Pigs before the sun went down. We salivated past the endless stands of fried food, past the blinking lights at the Midway, and finally made it to the pig races, just in time to see the racing billy goats. The small pigs were up next, followed by the racing ducks, and then the main event, the racing potbellied pigs. Natalie was chosen to be the cheerleader for the first pig, "Rudder Martin," and she was awarded a blue ribbon and the title of "Pig Queen" when Rudder took home the victory.

At this point, we're starving, wanting to substitute the wafts of manure for wafts of trans-fat. Sarah, Lana and I sat out on a hunt for an extra-long corndog, and were rewarded when we found a vendor as greasy as the food he was selling. Three bucks and a squirt (or five) of mustard later, and I was one happy camper.

Acquisition of a full belly probably wasn't the wisest decision, as we skipped to the Midway for some gambling on the carney rides. On the way over, I spotted Ronald McDonald and pulled Lisa over for a photo. See, Lisa and I are alumnae of Alpha Delta Pi, myself of MTSU, Lisa of UTMartin. After we get our picture made, Lisa looks at me and a light bulb goes off above her head. She says, "Ohhhhhh, the Ronald McDonald House is ADPi's philanthropy---that's why you wanted me to take a picture with Ronald..." Ding-ding-ding!

We made the right decision by attending the Fair on a Thursday night, rather than a Saturday night, like we did last year. Lines for the rides were minimal. A few of the gals headed toward the Tilt-a-Whirl and I talked Lisa into riding the Spin-Out. The rusty ride spins you upside down and in all directions, feet dangling, while you are precariously hanging from these tentacle-like arms. It looked pretty harmless and I'm always up for some roller coaster-related fun, so what the heck, right? We lucked out and the carney guy didn't take our tickets, so we were pumped to ride for free. About twenty seconds into the ride, as Lisa and I began to scream our heads off, I thought to myself, "this is going to be the day that I die, and my last meal was a corndog." All of my weight was being shifted to the top of my body when upside down, and as I was a thrust six inches off the seat, all I could do was pray that the harness didn't unlock. The Spin-Out was incredibly scary, yet freakishly thrilling. The ride was fairly long, and after being tossed around in the spin cycle for three minutes, Lisa and I emerged, a bit disheveled and out-of-breath with laughter. We asked a nearby lady to take our photo, and it was obvious, by not only her toothless grin, but her inability to operate a digital camera, that she was a Lebanon local.

Lisa and I met up with the rest of the gals, greatly disappointed by their bum ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl. Next we headed for the Himalaya, an old favorite, and also managed to ride for free. Then, after a ride on the Flying Bob(sled), we took a break. My favorite Fair ride was still on the list of things to do, so I talked Emily into riding the Gravitron. We stood in line, waiting for the previous group to exit, and just as we thought we were about to board, the ride operator rotated the door to the backside. We stood there for a few minutes, and began to hear rumors of someone "exorcising their demons" aboard. At that point, Em and I look at each other in disgust. Picturing the likely path of vom in a centrifugal environment, I told Em that we should see what the carney operator has to say. Well, the carney operator was Hispanic and didn't speak any English, so I asked him in sign language, mimicking the motions of a barf and whether or not it was all over the Gravitron. A couple of confused nods later, Em and I walked away disappointed.

I sold my remaining ride tickets to three dumb teenagers, that were willing to pay face value for the tickets. If I had been in their shoes, I would have at least tried to bargain with me. We ended our evening with some post-ride fair (get it? fare), with Lisa's funnel cake, Amanda's cheesecake, and my frozen chocolate-covered banana with nuts. Yum.

Needless to say, I'm sufficiently faired out. We survived the rusty rides and the abundance of too-easy TAR moments, and I'm happy to say I won't be back until next August!


Blogger Amanda said...

Carneys. Small hands. Smell like cabbage.

'Twas definitely an afFAIR to remember. You got some great pics, MA! Send me the one of the group photo pretty please, love, your ride-screaming friend.

ps- is your side sore from the himmelaya?

3:31 PM

Blogger emilyb said...

Those are some GREAT sunset/ride pictures. Wow. It was fun...let's do it again next year!

4:21 PM

Blogger Sarah said...

I thought I had read this blog, but apparently I just read Amanda's twice...VOV.

I think that's one of our better group shots!! Lovin' it.

So glad to see my "fair fatty" phrase has made an impression. We could have done more damage, but I'm proud of our caloric intake.

And lastly, "Camelidae." Ya gotta be careful when reading/speaking that one...That's all I'm saying.

4:34 PM


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