A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota Idaho, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Pembina County Fair

Alycia and I loaded the fur-kids in the car and drove up to visit her parents in Cavalier, North Dakota for the Fourth of July.  After spending some time visiting with them and wandering around their garden with the dogs, we left the dogs with them and headed over to nearby Hamilton, North Dakota (Pop. 61) for the Pembina County Fair.  It was nearing 7 pm on a warm, breezy, picture perfect summer evening. 
The Pembina County Fair is the oldest county fair in North Dakota.  It's exactly what I thought county fairs were supposed to be.  I grew up in San Diego and went to the San Diego County Fair every few years.  It's a huge month-long exhibition that attracts over a million people during its run.  It was fun (and HOT), but short on animals and "fair stuff" and seemed more concerned with separating you from your money.  At the Pembina County Fair? 
The 4-H folks were out in force and well represented.  There were cows...
...and a handful of sheep.  This fair was big on animals and agriculture, and also held on the hallowed ground and in the sacred halls where Alycia displayed her award winning guinea pig, Mokey, back in the day.  That's right, while other kids were wrangling cows and horses, Alycia was taming one of the most fearsome beasts ever domesticated by humans - the guinea pig.  Alycia claimed that there was a gold plaque somewhere that commemorated her local dominance in showing guinea pigs, but no such plaque was to be found. 
There was also an assortment of tractors.  The tires on that green tractor?  They were taller than I was, probably seven feet high. It makes a fun picture, but boy are they impressive machines in person.  
There were 10 of so food options including (Hallelujah!!!) mini-donuts.  This is the mini-donut machine, and yes it was exactly as awesome as it looks.  Also yes, the mini-donuts were fantastic, but they packed quite a digestive wallop.  Let's just say that a little mini-donut goes a long way, sometimes very quickly.  
The Midway had a dozen rides and games, most that had seen better days.  The rides included the futuristic maze/fun house called the "The Odyssey 2000" that looked like it was first built when the year 2000 was a long way off into the future.  The ride and game operators also added to the small town fair ambiance, they were true carnies, almost right out of a Stephen King novel about a cursed carnival full of vampires.
The sun was just starting to dip into the Western horizon and an earthy scented breeze helped keep the temperatures pleasantly warm.
I watched the Ferris Wheel slowly turn its mostly empty cars against the blue sky and smattering of tiny clouds.  This was the true fair experience for me.  It was reassuring to know that the County Fair is very much still alive, you just might have to go looking for it.  
It was nearly 9:00 and dusk was settling in, although there was still plenty of light.  Alycia was quite content and I was in the midst of a sugar high, thanks to the mini-donuts and lemon-lime slushie.
The fireworks at the Fair weren't slated to start for another hour and a half, so we decided to pack it up and head back to her parents house in Cavalier.  We brought them treats though, a Fry Bread (which I learned is pretty much a giant donut) and the other half of my package of mini-donuts.  They happily chomped their treats and we recounted the glories of the Pembina County Fair.

I think we'll be back to visit again next year.  This was our second County Fair of the season, there may be one or two others that we have to visit.  We'll post pictures of those too, so stay tuned.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like county fairs because they are always such fun. I had two guinea pigs too. Sneakers and Loafers.