05 August 2013

The Iconic Midwestern County Fair

One of the fun things about this move is the catching up. It's been days of back-to-back grill-outs, board games, heart-to-hearts over junior mints and iced tea, and listening to my eight nieces and nephews (eight under eight) recount camping and tooth-losing stories. But Friday night, I tell you, Friday night, my sister-in-law called me up and invited us to go with them to a bunny auction the following afternoon. Yes, a bunny auction. If you're anything like me, you're thinking to yourself, "Who in their right $*(&(@#* mind would auction a bunny?" But if you're like my husband, you hear "bunny auction" and think:

The fair is about 2 minutes away from our new apartment, this particular sister-in-law lives a mere 8 minutes away, and I'm super close to her and all three of my sisters-in-law. Her and her family have the whole "lots o' acreage in the country, surrounded by corn, duck raisin', chicken raisin'" thing going and the two oldest girls had earned the privilege of bunnies. Cue the bunny auction. Where you buy auctioned bunnies. Hop hop.

Now as much as I love the city, people in the country are wwwaaayyy more pleasant to be around at a big event. Way more. Like, I took the stroller (Something I would never do in the city. I almost always wore Abigail in the city), and people didn't mind. They apologized if them bumped me, some made their kids wait until we passed, and others let their kids run up to Abigail and say "hi" because they all think she's a baby and, as a general rule, everyone in the country loves babies.

Abigail signing "bird" at the birds. Just to make sure we're all clear about who's who.

In addition to bunnies, they also auction birds, goats, cows, and had pens full of sheep, pigs, and horses, some for show, probably others for auction. They have competitions and winners proudly display ribbons and trophies on their shirts and on pens.

A vast majority of the animals are raised by kids, and the auction was entirely youth-oriented. It was amazing to me to watch these kids, probably ranging in age from 8-16, carrying around ducks and rabbits, their shirts tucked in, work boots on their feet, the girls with long, modestly braided hair. They looked so responsible and mature. So very different from the teenagers we saw on the L trains in Chicago, trendy clothes with strategically placed lacy cutouts, dyed hair, earbuds buried deep in ears, and eyes locked on an iPod with a personalized protective case. Very different lifestyles.

These guys are meat bunnies. You buy these bunnies at an auction and eat them. Auctioned bunny meat.
Hop hop.

The auction yielded my nieces no bunnies (they have hope for some from a nearby family farm), but then we proceeded to Iconic Country Fair, Part II: The Rides

There was a lot of awe and amazement and my husband re-living his childhood alongside elephant ear stands and sunburnt kids begging for more ride tickets. There may or may not have been a demolition derby during which cars may or may not have caught fire unexpectedly. And if such an event did occur, I would probably have heard about it from my dramatic niece after my sister-in-law and I would have retreated with the youngest back home for bedtime and girl-time while the guys took the older three out to watch junked cars crash into one another. Such things may or may not have occurred. But if they did occur, it would surely only happen in the country.


Matt said...

Great post! I love your imagery. Hop hop.

However, I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any alleged "demolition" activity.

Anonymous said...

I sure do miss the county Fair, especially in Ingham County. Thanks for the reminder of awesome childhood experiences and the pictures. There is nothing quite like it down here in GA. Missing summers in michigan!
God Bless you!
Abby Gonsalves (used to be Dahl)

Liz said...

Awww. I haven't been to that fair since I was 15. I thought there was a rule you had to go with at least one Beauregard ;o). Good memories.

Jacqueline said...


You are right. We ran into Keith & Michelle and their kids at the fair : )