Fair thee well

While I by no means consider myself an expert on the Chenango County Fair, Iíve spent an awful lot of time at the fairgrounds this week. After my fourth visit of the week (on day 2 of the fair), the thought crossed my mind that I might have some useful advice for others contemplating a visit to our annual agricultural exposition. So, brushing the fair dust from my shoes and removing the last traces of powdered sugar from my fingers, I sat down to compile what I feel is a comprehensive list of ďdoís and donítsĒ for those interested in seeing and experiencing all that our 162nd annual county fair has to offer. I hope they will prove useful to both seasoned fair-goers and ďnewbies,Ē alike.

First and foremost, I feel obliged to remind people to carefully consider their footwear options before stepping foot on the fairgrounds. While warm, humid weather may delude you into thinking that sandals or flip flops would be an appropriate choice for this outdoor venue, I would caution against either of those options. Unless you like the sensation of mud oozing between your toes, that is. I, for one, definitely do not.

Ladies, Iíd also have to recommend against bringing your favorite handbag. While it might compliment your outfit nicely, it could prove cumbersome as your day goes on. I speak from personal experience when I tell you it will make it exceedingly difficult to juggle that cinnamon and sugar covered fried dough masterpiece along with the doggie bowl filled with fresh cut french fries you know you wonít be able to resist.

That bag is also potentially dangerous while you are being tossed around on your favorite amusement ride. Plus, you donít want to tempt fate by making it easy for anyone with sticky fingers, if you know what I mean. Not that Iím saying thatís a problem at the fair, just that itís better to be safe than sorry.

If you feel you cannot do without your bag, might I suggest a fair caddy with you. This is a friend, loved one or un-lucky passerby that you select for the honor of holding your unwieldy baggage while you are riding the rides or snacking away on fair food. The best candidate is someone who is really too chicken to ride any of the really good amusement rides, but doesnít like to admit it. Theyíll welcome the excuse to keep their feet firmly on the ground (and their lunch down).

One thing you will definitely want to bring is your camera. How else will you capture your boss looking distinctly green after heís ridden the Zipper one too many times? (And after last year, we know that once is more than enough to put mine over the edge.)

Now, I know that we havenít had a whole lot of sun this summer, so you might be out of practice, but please donít forget to slather on the sunscreen. You want to look back at your time at the fair and smile, not cringe. And we do, too. Letís face it, lobster red is not an attractive look on anyone and sometimes it is nearly as painfully to see someone with a bad sunburn as it is to have one.

Dehydration is another danger when you spend a lot of time outside. Donít forget to keep hydrated. And, by the way, that means drinking lots of water, not hanging out in the beer tent.

Now, letís talk about cushioning. In general, no one wants to be known for having an overly large posterior; but at the fair, it can come in handy. Particularly if you are planning on taking in any of the spectacles at the grandstand.

The new stands are very nice, but after awhile they can be a real pain in the you-know-what. Iíd never really thought of myself as lacking in the padding department until I went to the demolition derby last year. This year, I have vowed to be prepared. If I go, it will be with cushion or, at the very least a nice, thick sweatshirt in hand. I highly recommend others do the same.

I love all that greasy fair food, but Iím afraid it doesnít love me. But that doesnít mean I can resist the savory lure of sausage and peppers for lunch. Donít worry, though, Iíve just replenished my supply of antacids and scheduling a post-fair cholesterol test is on my to-do list for next week.

But right now, Iím afraid there are some deep fried Oreos calling my name and Iím heading back to the fairgrounds.

See you at the fair!

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