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Taste of the West

September 3, 2010

I’m a big fan of The Pioneer Woman. The lady has style , sincerity, and skills that always leave me with a smile. While my heart may throb with some pangs of envy at her pictures of horses and recaps of life on the frontier, I was recently able to pretend for a few hours that my life in the Northeast had a Western flair to it, too.   

Sunday morning I woke up at the crack of dawn, went to an early Mass, and then was off to the 165th Dutchess County Fair with my parents and younger sister. I’m blessed that my parents are two people who I could live with and spend time with constantly. I sincerely enjoy their company and we always finds something to laugh about. Fortunately for me this weekend, they enjoy the atmosphere of a good county fair just as much as I do. While my little sister and her friend enjoyed the rides, my parents and I took in the sights, sounds, and smells. The whole aura of the fair is just a family oriented, country-lovin’ good time. Making my way through the atmosphere of cheerful faces and game stands, I resisted the urge to stop at every food vendor that boasts the region’s best french fries. (read: You may come to understand that this alone was quite a feat for me. I can consume french fries at any time, any day). Naturally I found my way to the horse barns and stalls and was excited to see that in just a few minutes a show was starting.  

Come 1:30, it was rodeo time. Now this rodeo, while it fulfilled my quench for some Western adventure, was not an event to boast about too much. The West isn’t in any danger of being put to shame. But I enjoyed it. Sure I saw enough chaps and cowboy hats to make me happy, but I have to say that  the most exciting part was the barrel racing, not the bull riding. Those ladies can ride! Even with the temperatures well into the 90’s, they made me want to throw on some plaid and slide on some boots. Oh, and saddle a horse. Much to my dismay, my camera decided it couldn’t stand the heat so it gave the battery a reprieve for the rest of the day. I did manage to get a few shots before its demise, though not the barrel racing or the ketchup I consumed with a side of fries. I mean fries with a side of ketchup. Hey, what’s a fair without some fried food? And don’t tell me that smell doesn’t make you crave them more.  

Boys look pretty comfortable with the beasts caged.

Please avert your eyes to the right.

Yes. Powered sugar, not powdered. Typo or phenomenon?

Fresh. Cut. Fries. Heaven.

There’s something about the fair that just makes me think of the older days before everyone was so “connected” by internet or cell phones or had to be entertained by television. The fair has that memory of a not-too-distant past where families, couples, and individuals would wait out the months for the yearly fair. When the day arrived they would rustle up some weekend spending money, drink some fresh squeezed lemonade, and play games to their hearts’ content. I’m glad to see that the fair continues to offer such enjoyment for so many. I like to think that quality time with friends and family is still at the heart of American life. Of course, some fried foods and a ferris wheel or two don’t hurt either.
It was a great afternoon, but the heat took its toll. I went home, drank my weight in water, and laid down to equestrian thoughts soothing my soul. Though I’m far away from any frontier, I like to think that Ree would approve.  
Does anyone else love to go to their County Fair? What are the attractions, exhibits, or FOOD, that you look forward to most?

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