Last night the 3 year old was with one set of grandparents and Mrs. SMEs was in Houston. It was just me and the boy and the 95 degrees.
“Movie at Ragtag or Boone County Fair,” I asked, hoping he might settle on the air conditioned option. The only factor favoring the fair was the fact that he was dressed like a loon…no laundry having been done at the other grandparents’ house this week (and a totally forgivable offense).
“Let’s go to the fair,” he said. And so we did, and had a wonderful time. It’s not the cheapest way to spend an evening, I’ll say that.
$5 to get in.
2 x $15 for ride bracelets.
4 x $5 for carnival games, pony rides, etc.
$15 for dinner and drinks.
$15 for entry to dirt-track racing.
On the whole, it ran me close to 100 bucks for the whole-shebang, though you could do the fair for considerably less. But really, it was worth every penny. The racing (old beaters banging each other around the mud track) was fun as hell, and might as well have been the Indy 500 for all we cared. The rides, while dated, were well-maintained and varied. The grizzly show was nice and the 4-H tent is full of birds and bunnies the kids want to get out for you to pet. The games, while shockingly expensive, gave us lots of extra chances and we almost always walked away with a prize. The Children’s Barnyard has goats and pigs and sheep and you can touch most of them. There are pony rides and camels and a dude with alligators. It’s pure, kitschy Americana and it’s a blast.
And as I sat atop the grandstands, holding a giant inflatable bat and watching ATVs race around the tiny track, it occurred to me how little of this side of life – representing perhaps a majority of how mid-Missourians live – I ever see. Everyone knew everyone in the stands, as well as the drivers on the track. Asphalt and paving companies handed out koozies in the stands. There were dozens of show hams hanging in the building behind us. I sipped my $2 Budweiser, ran my fingers through my son’s hair and resolved to come again next year.