In which I give myself a blue ribbon for Most Enthusiasm About Giant Vegetables

Okay. I have a confession to make: I love state fairs. No, seriously. I love them. They are amazing. Where else can you celebrate the culinary, artistic, agricultural and just plain weird achievements of a state on a grand scale? NOWHERE, I tell you. I will never stop loving state fairs. When I was growing up, my family went to the Kentucky State Fair every year and it was always one of the highlights of my summer. This year, I went for the first time in four years, and it was awesome. Here’s what happened.

Very first thing, my mom and I went bunny shopping. You tell me where else you can go shopping for bunnies with every breed possible represented. We were looking to find my very own Indiana Jones James Bond (aka Bunny Bond) among the members of the Leporidae family, and let me tell you, there were some serious contenders.

Friendly, but the wrong color. (I’ve always wanted a grey bunny.)

Right color, but female.

These posters have been around since I was a kid, and used to scare me into submission, but this year, I was petting every bunny in sight.

And then we saw him. He was perfect—lop-eared, grey, dashing, cuddly—everything you want in a bunny named after two of Hollywood’s greatest action heroes.

Ready for your close-up, Indy?

His breeder even let me hold him for a while and he snuggled right up to me.

This is me, with my bunny, at the State Fair. Also known as heaven.

With the promise of picking up Indy to take home with us FOREVER in three days, Mom and I moved on through the exihibits.

We saw some Dairy cows. We thought about taking one of them home, but figured that one new pet was enough for our family to deal with.

Then we went to the room of GIANT VEGETABLES, which after the bunnies is pretty much my favorite thing about the Fair.

Look at all that gorgeous produce!

Sorry, Linus. The Great Pumpkin didn’t arrive for another two days.

While the Great Pumpkin had yet to arrive, I was very impressed with the State’s largest watermelon. 273.3 pounds of melony goodness, you guys.

I wanted to sit on it, but the judge didn’t seem too keen on that.

The state’s largest beet…basking in its beet-y-ness.

I’m usually not fan of beets, but this one’s got my vote.

These poor little beets never even had a chance.

After ooh-and ahhing at all the veggies, I met up with my cousins and we went to see a show. That’s another thing about the Fair—it takes you back to a simpler time, when vegetables are incredibly interesting, and a show that normally wouldn’t be on your radar becomes the best darn thing you’ve ever seen.

I was too awed to take many pictures during the show, but I just want to point one thing out.

This guy is standing on FIVE CHAIRS. I cannot even stand on one without feeling like I’m going to fall. So, this man is a superman. End of story.

As we wandered through more of the exhibits, we somehow stumble onto the Hall of Pageant Queens. I toyed with the idea of stealing a crown, but they seemed glued to their heads by hairspray, and I didn’t want to get stuck and made part of their act.

We also got to see the Ugly Lamp Contest, a staple of the Kentucky State Fair. This one was especially great.

I don’t even know.

So much ugliness is actually kind of pretty.

I also loved looking at the cakes. Some were creepy. Some were beautiful. All looked delicious.

Why yes, this cake does include creepy fondant babies.

Innocent, sleeping, fondant baby doesn’t know it’s creepy.

Dinner was a corndog (obviously) purchased from one of these red and white booths…aka the only place to buy a corndog. I wanted to try deep-fried Girl Scout cookies, but the line was too long.


And finally—TA-DA! Freddy Farm Bureau himself, the official greeter of the Kentucky State Fair.

His old face was better. Then it fell off of a truck, and the powers that be gave him this face. My dad was in the meeting where they decided what he would look like and says that’s when he perfected his “I’m not laughing, I’m coughing” bit.

So, that was my sojourn to the 2012 Kentucky State Fair. Say what you will about America, but seeing the cows and the giant beet and Freddy made me feel pretty proud of my state. I can’t believe that other state fairs could measure up, but I’m willing to sacrifice my time to find out. So, here’s my unofficial offer to any Travel/Lifestyle magazine—want to do a Feature comparing state fairs? Want to know who has the biggest pumpkin? The best corndogs? The most beautiful cows? I AM YOUR GIRL. If you pay my expenses, I will gladly go from state to state checking out all that our fair country has to offer in the way of fairs. I’d love to spend more time around folks who love their lives and take pride in their crop and livestock and creepy fondant babies. I certainly know I could learn a lot from them. And maybe I’ll even learn how to milk a cow.


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