I have never been what youíd call the Chenango County Fairís biggest fan, although I must admit the annual event has grown on me over the past three years (spent covering the fair for our hometown daily). In the past (as an adult, at least), fair week meant it was time to head for the hills, so to speak, and I did everything in my power to avoid the noise, dust, crowds and confusion. I would Ė no joke Ė stock up on foodstuffs, a brand new book or two, any other essentials and literally lock my door.
What can I say? Put me in front of a crowd, on a stage, with a guitar in hand, and Iím fine. Put me in the midst of said crowd and ... well, itís just not my cup of tea.
Two and a half years as a staff writer with The Evening Sun, however, has gone a long way toward changing my opinion of the controlled chaos that is the Chenango County Fair, now (unbelievably) in its 165th year.
My how the time flies.
Not that I really engage in those activities the fair is best known for; I donít think Iíve ever seen a tractor pull, have no urge to watch people demolish already demolished vehicles as a form of entertainment and rarely break down and gorge on fried dough, cotton candy and other ... err ... fair fare (sorry, had to sneak that one in there).
Thatís not to say others shouldnít enjoy those activities, of course, if theyíre so inclined. And while I typically make a trip or two to the much-maligned (yet extremely popular) beer tent, I do my best to limit my spending (and imbibing) while roaming the midway.
As a child? Not so much. In fact, I used to work my tail off in the weeks leading up to the fair, performing all manner of menial tasks for my father, all for $20 that would mysteriously vanish just hours (if that long) after I walked through the gates.
But at least I got to ride on the Ring of Fire (also known as the Ring of Death, the Ring of There Goes My Lunch and the Ring of Whose Lunch is All Over My Lap?).
Nowadays, in my old age, Iím happy to cross that one off the old bucket list. Whatís the old adage? With age comes wisdom? Regardless, Iím wise enough now to know youíll never see this intrepid reporter strapping into the Ring of Agony, Ring of Doom or whatever youíd like to call it any time soon.
The same goes for games of chance, as far as Iím concerned. As a kid, sure, Iíd spend my last dollar (and a lot of dollars before that) trying to win some absolutely ridiculous prize that probably wouldnít even make it to the car, let alone home. Now, I just canít see throwing my cash away.
What I do enjoy, however, is the entertainment the fair typically brings to town year after year. And this year, with the Blues Associationís Summer Concert Series (always a good time), a performance by Norwichís first-ever rock-n-roll band, the Monarchs, Greg Allanís Garth Brooks tribute and so much more, thereís a little something for everyone. And while Iím certainly not the biggest Garth Brooks fan on the planet (really, Iím not), itís something different, which is nice, and at least itís not Loverboy.
Now Iím going to have ďWorking for the WeekendĒ stuck in my head all day, which is never a good thing.
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