Animals have played a prominent role since the Virginia State Fair began in 1854. Cattle, horses, pigs, goats, chickens, rabbits and sheep are always featured, and then there's the occasional zonkey.*
By the year 2008, it became nigh on impossible to distinguish between the livestock on display, and the humans being herded through food mazes and ride lines as if they were livestock.
Folks? Let me give you a few tips about going to the state fair:
1. Never--EVER--go on a Saturday. The End.
OK, there are a few other tips I'd like to share:
2. Never go on the last Saturday of the fair.
3. If you do either of the above, expect to share your visit with every overfed, overstimulated, over-sugarfied, over-fructosecornified family or family-like cluster who do not get out much (present company included) from the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, every other state in the continental U.S., plus several representatives from Europe,who stand out because they're the ones laughing and pointing at all of us natives shoveling deep-fried cookies down our throats while others are placing bets on how long it will be before the chest pains begin.
4. The proper adult to child ratio or ideal span of control should be 1:1 or at least 1:2. I was handling three children in a crowd which outnumbered the population of Hong Kong. No good.
After way too much time spent eating and riding death traps also known as rides, I convinced the group to see the animals. Approximately 2 hours later, after walking a distance equivalent to the length of the Appalachian Trail (with 3 children in tow), we finally found the barn area.
When I came up on these ducklings, I wanted to get right up there with them and slide head first down that slide.
While searching for other animal exhibits, we walked through a tent where they were showing cattle. We were right dab-smack in the middle of the whole event, and there were killer cows everywhere. These killer cows were being showed by children who could not have been more than 12 years old. We high-tailed it out of there, because cows can sense fear and weakness, and I was emitting enough "I'm petrified" hormone to create a stampede.
Finally, I found someone I could relate to. This individual had an attitude about being at the state fair and was sick and tired of being subjected to loud noises, people, crowds of people and throngs of people in close confinement and 90-degree weather.
Here is my new friend:
*A zonkey is a cross between a zebra and a donkey, although the term may also be used to describe Chesapeake Bay Woman in the hours after lunch, especially between 2 and 4, at the paying job also known as work.