Sunday, August 31, 2014

Take Me to the Fair

Our tiny county fair concluded last night. It's quite a feat of volunteerism and dedication for such a small county. With a population of less than 2500 people, pulling off events like the Fair and the Maple Festival (in March) says a lot about the folks who live here. We may be small, but Highland County is a community that pulls together for the important things: fairs, festivals, and helping our neighbors in need.

I worked a shift selling ride tickets on Friday evening. Watching the children on the midway brought back a lot of memories. I grew up less than 20 miles from the West Virginia State Fair. Our family's annual afternoon and evening at the Fair was always eagerly anticipated by my sisters and me. We looked forward to the rides the most and would have gone straight to the midway upon arrival if we had been in charge. But our family's budget didn't allow for unlimited ride tickets, so we slogged through the exhibit halls and barns first. Although there were some interesting things to see, us three girls were chomping at the bit to begin our adventures on the midway. After taking in all the exhibits, it was back to the car for a picnic supper, which Mom brought from home, packed in a Styrofoam cooler. Even though we girls would have rather eaten fair food, we knew that the picnic supper meant more money for ride tickets, which was OK with us! After supper, there was more looking around until it began to get dark. You see, my parents knew that riding the rides was much more fun in the dark, and even though it meant they had to endure a lot of complaining, they made us wait. And then, when the sun finally went down, what fun we had! Thousands of colored lights blinking and twinkling, music blaring, kids (and grownups) laughing and screaming. Ride after ride, we were whizzed, jerked, spun, scrambled, twirled, and whooshed through the night air until our heads spun and our stomachs rumbled long after we headed home. By the time our car pulled into the driveway, visions of Ferris Wheels and roller coasters danced in our sleepy heads.

Now that I'm all grown up, the midway, with all its lights, noise, and stomach-churning rides doesn't hold the same appeal for me. But, after I finished my shift on Friday, I wandered around the midway with my camera. It was a beautiful night: the air was clear, not too muggy, and a beautiful crescent moon hung over the fairgrounds. I had fun snapping photos, playing with the camera settings to see what kind of photo resulted. I learned a lot about nighttime photography, which I hope I can remember! Here are some of the best photos of the evening.

I think of all the rides, my favorite was, and still would be, the Ferris Wheel. It's a kind of glorified backyard swing, which I loved, and the view from up top is exhilarating. What are some of your favorite memories of going to the fair?