Sunday, October 23, 2005

Fare Thee Well

It's almost 11 PM on Sunday night and I'm just now sitting down to my computer again.

Today was my third visit to the Texas State Fair this year. The fair closed tonight after 24 days. Organizers' preliminary gate figures indicate that 3 million people visited this year. The fair generates $350 million dollars for north Texas every year. You can add my $7 for a turkey leg to that figure.

Organizers claim that the Texas State Fair is the most popular state fair in the U.S. The first state fair was held in Texas in 1886. The corny dog was invented at the 1942 fair by the Fletcher brothers. And the Texas Star is still the tallest Ferris wheel in North America at 212 feet.

Fair Park in Dallas is 277 acres. The way my feet feel tonight, I think I walked every one of those acres.

Every year, I whine that I don't want to go. I remind family and friends of the crowds, the heat, the noise and the over-stimulation. Every year, I allow myself to be dragged back. And every year, after about 30 minutes, I revert to a ten-year-old gaping at the life size statue of Elvis and two hound dogs done in BUTTER (last year the butter sculpture was the Snoopy gang). I oh-and-ah at the birds of prey exhibit (the eagle soars from the top of the Ferris wheel to his handler's outstretched arm). Every year, I sit in the new cars and pet the goats in the livestock barn and watch the border collies herd the sheep. I sit next to five-year-olds with wide eyes and enjoy the moment just as much as they do.

Oh, well. Only another 341 more days until next year's fair.

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