26 Moments At The Fair That Will Restore Your Faith In America

26 Moments At The Fair That Will Restore Your Faith In America

Visiting your county or state fair will cure you of worrying America is all snark and no bite.
Rebecca Cusey
By

If you’re starting to think America is all narcissistic selfies and contentious Internet comments, there’s a cure for that. Pack up the family, slip on your cowboy boots, and head on down to the county or state fair. You’ll see that there are plenty of people who still know how to work hard, make things, and have fun. Here are 26 steps to get your very own injection of American exceptionalism.

1. Mosey through the crafts pavilion and see that people do, indeed, still make things. Beautiful things. Hard things.

David Amsler / Creative Commons

David Amsler / Creative Commons

2. Head over to the farming pavilion with the whopping big pumpkin and see that people do, indeed, still grow things.

Ryan Somma CC

Ryan Somma CC

3. Notice the pride ordinary Americans pump into their oversized pumpkins, plum jelly, and peach pie. There’s no swagger like a first place ribbon at the state fair swagger.

Danya Bateman / Creative Commons

Danya Bateman / Creative Commons

4. Those pumpkins are really big. Like American hearts.

Danya Bateman / Creative Commons

Brian Magee / Creative Commons

5. Scoot through the animal pavilions and let the kids learn where their milk and burgers come from. Show them how American farmers have created abundance and fed the world.

Steve Tatum / Creative Commons

Steve Tatum / Creative Commons

6. Notice the hard work and pride the 4-H kids put into raising sheep, cattle, and even turkeys.

Thomas Hawk / Creative Commons

Thomas Hawk / Creative Commons

7. So many bunnies. So cute.

Dave Pape / CC

Dave Pape / CC

8. Take a moment to appreciate the majesty that is Butter Elvis.

Leia Scofield / CC

Leia Scofield / CC

9. Funnel cake.

churl / Creative Commons

churl / Creative Commons

10. There is no feeling better than strapping on an all-day wristband for rides at the fair. That’s freedom right there, folks.

Brittany Randolph / Creative Commons

Brittany Randolph / Creative Commons

11. They go by many names. The Zipper. The Vortex. Cliff Hanger. Orbiter. The Tornado. They all mean spinning until you’re dizzy. MORE PLEASE.

Chad Fust / Creative Commons

Chad Fust / Creative Commons

12. Stagger away from the rides to the lumberjills demonstration, from logrolls to tree-felling. Those axes are sharp and those women know how to use them!

13. Four words: Foot-long chili hot dog.

Lisa Bunchofpants / CC

Lisa Bunchofpants / CC

14. Watch the shepherd dog competition for a perfect blend of man and beast creating teamwork on a primal level.

Hotash / Creative Commons

Hotash / Creative Commons

15. For something completely different, head over to the racing pigs. Laugh as their little tails wiggle!

Brent Moore / Creative Commons

Brent Moore / Creative Commons

16. Spend some time with the greasemonkeys in the tractor section. Pick their brains about what those old machines did and how basic machines work, and hear how they maintain them just for the love of machinery. Let your little boy wander to his heart’s content as things whir and chug and thump and patapatapata around him.

Curtis Anderson / Common Core

Curtis Anderson / Common Core

17. Go full circle from old machines to new as you take in the robotics competition. Try to get the number of the nerd on the winning team so your daughter can date him. He’ll probably rule the world one day.

18. Pulled pork sandwich with beer and a deep-fried Twinkie chaser. There are no calories in food bought at a fair.

stab at sleep / Creative Commons

stab at sleep / Creative Commons

19. Join the stream of people headed into the arena. Notice how Americans come in all different shapes and styles, but we have more in common than we realize.

Brian Magee / Creative Commons

Brian Magee / Creative Commons

20. Stand with your fellow Americans, put your hat over your heart, and sing the national anthem like you mean it, without a trace of irony.

Al_HikesAZ / Creative Commons

Al_HikesAZ / Creative Commons

21. Extra points if you also sing “Proud to Be an American” and know all the words.

Kentucky National Guard / Creative Commons

Kentucky National Guard / Creative Commons

22. Cent for cent, there is no better bang for your buck than a demolition derby. It has all the drama of a gladiator fight, the thrill of victory, the pain of defeat, plus big crashes and gas fumes.

AllieKF / Creative Commons

AllieKF / Creative Commons

23. Or maybe some faded but still-great band rocks the night with treasured tunes.

Nick Ares / Creative Commons

Nick Ares / Creative Commons

24. Or perhaps take in a rodeo. Amazing young women race their horse through barrels and brave young men defy gravity on the back of a bull.

Baker County Tourism / Creative Commons

Baker County Tourism / Creative Commons

25. Take that wristband and take some more rides after dark, when the fairway is all twinkling lights and flirting youth.

Victoria Pickering / Creative Commons

Victoria Pickering / Creative Commons

26. There is nothing better than the top of a Ferris wheel at night, the lights around you, the breeze ruffling your hair, the sound of laughter coming from below. It’s good to be an American. Still. Now. Always.

ElizabethHudy / Creative Commons

ElizabethHudy / Creative Commons

Rebecca Cusey is a movie critic based in Washington DC. She is a member of the Washington Area Film Critics Society and a voting Tomatomer Critic on Rotten Tomatoes. Follow her on Twitter @Rebecca_Cusey.
Photo Chad Fust / Creative Commons
Photo By: Robert Hensley
Photo Kentucky National Guard / Creative Commons
Photo By: Richard Hurd
Photo Al_HikesAZ / Creative Commons
Photo Brian Magee / Creative Commons
Photo stab at sleep / Creative Commons
Photo Curtis Anderson / Common Core
Photo Brent Moore / Creative Commons
Photo Hotash / Creative Commons
Photo Lisa Bunchofpants / CC
Photo Ryan Somma CC
Photo David Amsler / Creative Commons
Photo Brittany Randolph / Creative Commons
Photo churl / Creative Commons
Photo Leia Scofield / CC
Photo Dave Pape / CC
Photo Thomas Hawk / Creative Commons
Photo Steve Tatum / Creative Commons
Photo Danya Bateman / Creative Commons

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