Aaaaahhhh the state fair. For those who have never been it conjures up images of great times, fun rides and amazing food with nothing but smiling faces and cute little animals. Well I am hardly a state fair veteran but this is my second one in my second state and I have to say that between Arizona and Texas, there can’t be much more to see at these things. Other things you will see is a ton of rides, some good and some not; ungodly amounts of filthy and fried foods; all types of people-literally all shapes and certainly sizes; and the most fun of all is the animals and more specifically the animal races. If you’ve never seen pig racing then trust me you are missing out because I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time.
First there is some MC type guy from Arkansas (I will get into carnies later) who does the pig intros and calls them names of celebrities with a swine play on words. For instance, Hamela Anderson, Pig Rock, Jennifer Hammiston and a ton of other that I can’t remember but he does it in some great accent in full Southern pig racing gear. It’s really pretty well done and then he divided the sections of the racing ring into four sections and designates a cheerleader from each group. The winning cheerleader gets a prize which is of course a pig snout. Generally the cheerleader is a small child who gets really excited about the potential of winning and getting the prize and all of the ones selected were small children except for me. For some unknown reason this guy picks me-I was happy to do it but unfortunately my little piglet didn’t win which turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
After the piglet wins, the kid is brought up to the MC guy and is given his snout and is then directed to do a little piglet dance and it goes something like spreading your legs, bending your knees and doing a strange looking knee flap like you just scored a touchdown dance and then putting your waist into it. It was pretty funny to watch him and the kids do but let’s just say I was thrilled not to do it!
After pig racing, what else does one do besides eat your face off. If you’ve never been to the state fair and especially the Arizona State Fair, they specialize in deep fried foods. I mean deep fried anything! I had been hearing about the deep fried snickers bars for over a year now and I finally had one yesterday and it was seriously heaven (see below). I may have lost a few months off my life due to potential heart attack but man was it good. Then of course there are the deep fried Oreos, Twinkies, Dill Pickles, Asparagus, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Additionally, they also put everything on a stick-again everything!
When something is deep fried it is always served on a stick. You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten something weird off a stick. A snickers bar for instance or a pickle and even pizza on a stick. Who eats pizza on a stick? Honestly-well in Arizona they do these types of things and it’s fantastic to see.
Aside from pig racing and food there is plenty to do with a ton of fun rides-I mean that. Also, they have tons of games that you cannot possibly win but it still never gets old trying. Additionally, just plain people watching is amazing at these things. You really see the whole spectrum of humanity at a state fair and in Arizona you see it all. More tattoos than you thought possible, all races, shapes and sizes and many of these people live for the state fair and it is fun to watch them enjoying it and having fun.
Finally, it brings us to the Carnies. These are the amazing people who travel from fair to fair working the games, the rides and the food stalls and living in a trailer park in the back parking lot at the fair. The things that must go on between the Carnies after the lights go off at the state fair-I can’t even imagine. Carnies take a lot of flack and get made fun of quite a bit but they do a great job running the rides and keep us safe and suckering you into shooting a basketball that’s too big for the hoop while forking over a few bucks for the displeasure. God bless the Carnies!