The County Fair

This morning, it’s 81 degrees (Fahrenheit; 27.2 Celsius) at 5 AM and it’s going to be 100 degrees F (37.8 C) with heat indexes of 105-110 F (40-43 Celsius). I don’t know if this is global warming, because it seems to always be this hot for the county fair. 

County fairs are for kids. Their agricultural/homemaking roots still linger in many of the events — livestock and 4-H project judging, photography and quilt competitions. A carnival blocks off the main street, with a midway and luridly decorated rides. Fair food consists of funnel cakes, fried oreos, and bratwurst.

Children come for the rides; high schoolers wander in packs to see and be seen in their purple hair and tank tops. Adults shepherd the children or come for the country music and their children participating in the Young Miss/Mr. Maryville competition. Girls in matching spangled outfits perform choreographed jazz dance on the stage.

I walk around the fair feeling like an outsider, even as I know some of the people I see. I didn’t grow up on a farm. I don’t identify with country music. I don’t have children. I wonder, not for the first time, where my place is.

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