Call me a redneck....it's been done before. But, if you ask me, one of the coolest parts of being a parent of young children is taking them to the fair. Even in a world filled with a continually growing array of entertainment, there's still something magical about a fair.
I first caught this low-brow bug as a child and then as a teenager with the annual "Westchester County Fair." It wasn't the world's greatest show, but I did get to see the 80's band Survivor sing "Eye of The Tiger" there. Plus, no fair ever boasted a more catchy/annoying theme song on local cable tv...."Everybody come join the fun...at the Westchester County Fair...rides and attractions...non-stop action...at the Westchester County Fair!"
Anyway, the greasy food, the rickety rides, the games with crappy prizes, the dull exhibits, the greasier food, the weirdo carnies, the loud music, the bright lights, the greasiest food....I just dig it all. And in Florida, because our weather rocks, fair season comes early. Most of the midways come to town during the pleasant months of February and March.
This year, we got our fill of the fair attending both the Florida State Fair in Tampa and the Strawberry Festival in Plant City. Both were really good times and easily exceeded the quality of any fair I'd ever been to before in Florida, Georgia or New York. In fact, the Florida State Fair was the biggest show I've ever seen. And the Strawberry Festival had a lineup of country music stars that could put the Grand Old Opry to shame.
Some of our top moments included visiting a 19th century "Florida cracker" village, feeding carrots to the giraffes, eating Johnsonville Brats cooked on the world's laregest grill, homemade strawberry shortcake fresh on biscuits (the real Southern way), watching Anna's and Jimmy's endless smiles on all the cool kiddie rides, and going to the Big & Rich and John Anderson concerts. I can still taste the Italian sausage and smell the fried dough. Or that could be the one-tooth carnie's b.o.? Either way, I still can't wait for next year!