Beb said in comments yesterday that the Michigan State Fair felt “hollowed-out,” and that’s it in a nutshell. In this, our fifth fair together, Kate and I have an arrangement: We get there before noon, and I buy her a wristband that will allow her to ride all the rides she wants. When she’s done, we eat something and commence mommy’s fair, which is animals animals animals and whatever else looks interesting. This takes us through until late afternoon, mostly.
It didn’t this year. The horse barn was empty but for a couple teams of draft breeds. The sheep are bunking with the dairy cattle, the goats are in a tent, most of the rabbits had already hopped home. (There were plenty o’ pigeons, however, a hobby that has always interested me, kinda sorta — I guess I should leave some crackbrain pursuits for my golden years.) No freak shows. I turned on my heel and left the commercial building when I saw the right-to-lifers had set up a pamphlet display complete with color photos.
The Miracle of Life tent, while not as rockin’ as last year, was the brightest spot. Baby chicks, baby ducks, baby calfs, baby lambies and my favorite, baby pigs — what’s not to love? (Baby pigs are my favorite because Spriggy could look, from some angles, like a little Babe-type feeder pig.) Nothing was laboring, though, and except for the hatcheries, the miracles were not in progress.
We left by 4:30. Our last fair.
I did spend some time in conversation with a dairyman. For your information, Holsteins give the most milk, Jerseys give the richest, Guernseys are somewhere in between, as are Brown Swiss. I already knew that. But I figure you have to make small talk over a bottomless glass of chocolate milk (50 cents), and a man likes to talk about his work.
But even though there were numerous petitions scattered around, pleading with the governor to save the fair, I have no doubt they’re for nought — the longest-running state air in the country, pfft. I wonder what they’ll do with the buildings, many of which have that 19th-century Grange hall feel. My favorite is the poultry/rabbits/pigeon building, which has a wide central staircase between floors, all wood, painted so often the edges have taken on that rounded look you find in old hole-in-the-wall apartments. There’s a central courtyard with a pond, where the waterfowl hang out. A century of city children looked out over that courtyard and marveled at the sight of exotic Asian species of geese. No more. It’s like the end of “Charlotte’s Web.”
The TV reports were all from the Midway, of course. What a bunch of barking morons.
And you know I wrote that last sentence so I could use it as a transition, don’t you?
Barking morons II. A local angle (Fort Wayne): “I’m afraid there’s going to be some attempts at brainwashing,” said Amy Riecken, 31, whose two sons attend Imagine MASTer Academy, a charter school on Wells Street. “I’m very conservative, and what I’m hearing is this is going to be what can you do for President Obama. It feels like Hitler’s Germany to me or like we’re living in Cuba.” Arf! Arf!
Barking morons III. Singing morons, maybe.
Why do I keep agreeing to 9:30 a.m. meetings? I’m outta here. Have a great Labor Day weekend.