Monday, August 11, 2008

Observations From The Arlington County Fair

This past Friday my job tasks included working at a booth during the Arlington County Fair. Once again I'll be able to check another item off of my "completely apathetic whether I ever experience this in my lifetime" list.

Arlington county is apparently the smallest county in the U.S., checking in at just 26 square miles. A good chunk of which is occupied by the military, both living (Pentagon) and deceased (Arlington Cemetery). The Arlington County fair was proportionally sized.

I'm used to a county fair where there are crops, animals, and farm equipment. Where barns house competitions of the baking, canning, and weight-of-a-vegetable variety. Future farmers of America should be running around with heads and hands and hearts and health. There should be greasy foods on sticks and milk shakes and talent competitions entirely devoid of talent. A county fair needs interesting people, interesting smells, and interesting sights. To quote a Mr. H. Simpson, "If it doesn't have Siamese twins in a jar, it is not a fair."

To be sure, the fair had some games, and some rides, and some exhibits. But the scale was smaller than I'd hoped. This was more like a church carnival than a county fair. A single middle school field house was able to hold all of the exhibits and competitions, things that would take much more space at any respectable fair.

I was able to learn a few things while I was there. First, it was hilarious to place the Catholic League of Devotion to Mary (or something like that) table next to the GLBT table. But if I'm ever planning the layout of such an event, I'd make sure the "Former Gay" booth was thrown in the mix too, instead of placing it all the way across the gym. I'd also set the Republicans and the Democrats directly opposite of each other, and probably put the green party way in the corner.

Speaking of the parties, and their respective booths, I think we've got good reason to believe the Republicans are going to win this fall. I visited both set-ups, and the Democrats came across as much more pushy and stuffy, were generally unlikable and preachy, and were actually selling pins and stickers and the like, instead of giving them away. The Republicans had less material but were casually handing it out, chatting up anyone who was interested, and letting others pass unbothered. They even had someone dressed up in a cute little elephant mascot. They were connecting with people. The Democrats seemed desperate. Where the Republicans had an elephant mascot, the Dems instead had a couple of jack asses.

And seriously, who charges people to advertise for them? The Democrats should want as many Obama stickers floating around as they can get.

One of the interesting things about neither party naming their VP candidate yet is that all of the advertising material that's being handed out now only has one name on it. I think both parties are missing a chance to have their final ticket advertised as one at these types of events. I don't know that it matters, but it's certainly interesting.

And finally, apparently I'm old enough to join The Lions Club. I'm not really interested, but it was kind of a strange thing, because I've never thought about it before. That just always seemed like such a different world. A world with more early-bird specials at Denny's, if you know what I mean. It was just an odd thing to think about. Maybe someday I suppose. We'll see.

Well, that's the fair report. I'm hoping to get to a real fair a little later this summer, when we're back in Minnesota again. The Great Minnesota Get-Together will be going on when we're back, and that tops 'em all.

They've got Siamese triplets.

It was Labor Day weekend I was seventeen
I bought a Coke and some gasoline
And I drove out to the county fair

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Definitely didn't expect a Tim McGraw quote to feature on this blog...

And what, you expected agricultural stuff in a county with absolutely no agriculture? Go out to the Warren County fair if you want that. Or you can stop by Frying Pan Park.

And I know for a fact that the Fairfax County fair has awesome fried Snickers bars...