Monday, April 28, 2014

Simple Joy of the State Fair

September 11 - 21, 2014
Every state in our union has this delightful tradition annually known as The State Fair. The state fair is a gathering of food, rides, and exhibits that normally lasts a week or two and allows for family-friendly good times. This year the Oklahoma State Fair will be from September 11 - the 21st. I am excited because for the first time in many years I am going to exhibit some of my photography work.

The state fair has been a gathering place since the very first one held in New York in 1841. The purpose of the state fair was as a way to promote agriculture through exhibitions. Eventually various forms of entertainment such as rides and concerts were introduced. In Phoenix our state fair brings well over a million visitors each year. Oklahoma State Fair, held in Oklahoma City, brings in over 900,000 visitors.

There are many exhibits at the state fair that fall under a wide assortment of categories such as livestock, equine, creative arts, wine competition, art exhibition, and my favorite, arm wrestling. Local craftsman, farmers, 4H students, and others produce the best of the best of their product and show them at the state fair with hopes of taking home a blue ribbon and the purse (often around $100). You won't get rich showing at the state fair, but most don't enter thinking they will. Pride, honor, and respect are what you win when showing at the state fair.

One of the best things about any state fair is the variety of food. There is no limit to the calories one can consume while walking around seeing the sites and enjoying the entertainment. Deep fried Twinkies, turkey legs, ice cream, and cotton candy as well as a cold beer can all be found in close proximity. Local food that are region specific can also be found. Wandering into exhibition tents, you can bid on homemade goodies such as pies and canned goods. The variety is endless.

The entertainment is as rich and varied as the food selections. This year the Oklahoma State Fair will be offering Disney on Ice as well as The Charlie Daniels Band, Colt Ford, King & Country, and Jerrod Niemann. There are lots of local talent that perform as well and of course no fair would be complete without pig races too! Oh, and while you are at it, go check out the butter sculptures. Who knew a cow made of butter could ride a Harley?!

I am very excited this year to pass on the tradition of the state fair to my granddaughter who is three. She is at the age where she can really enjoy the sites, sounds, and flavors of the fair. I can't wait to see her face when she discovers she is the subject of the photos I have entered in three separate categories. So, if you are in Oklahoma in September, come take a gander at all the state fair has to offer.