Wednesday, September 05, 2007

project 365 #247: fair setup 1

Yesterday night I went to the fair. No, it hasn't started yet - it was my fifth year of being the grandiosely named Assistant Superintendent of Art at the Mountain State Fair, which means, basically, that I go every year a couple of days before the fair opens and work for four or five (or, on a couple of particularly godforsaken years, six) hours hanging up the Art that people have entered, hoping for a ribbon, at the Mountain State Fair. In other years I've also gone back at the crack of dawn the next day to help judge the art and hand out ribbons and record all this most faithfully for posterity on many complicated forms. This year I pled pressure of work (which is true) and skipped the morning bit. Besides, my view of art is not always the one shared by Mountain State Fair Artists and I think perhaps the dropoff in number of entrants I've noticed over the last five years could just possibly be related to the fact that I tend to give blue ribbons to meth inspired ballpoint pen drawings of Ozzy Osbourne on napkins (damn, that was a good year) and heap scorn upon PBS inspired insipid oil landscapes in big expensive ugly frames. Heh. I think I've improved the art at the fair no end.

Also, every year they give me an embroidered button down shirt that says Mountain State Fair on it and sports the yearly theme and logo, which this year is a goat looking all tough and biker-y and saying Full Throttle Fun! The goat beats the hell out of the pig saying Go Hawg Wild from a few years, which was on a khaki shirt and which I gave to N in hopes that he would wear it up to Baltimore and start some kind of strange new fashion. Last year's shirt was black, which was awesome and also featured a hog on a Harley and I wear it often.

It's fun to go to the fair before it opens and watch people unloading giant pumpkins and listen to people argue passionately over where creepy needlepoint dolls should go and so on. There was a man at the fair with 12 perfect eggs and he was arguing passionately that there should be a category for his eggs to be entered into while five fair volunteers were arguing back that while, in a perfect fair universe, this would be true, alas, at this non Platonic fair, there was in fact no category for eggs. One of the men arguing this had no arms and no legs, but he offered to make an omelette the next morning. It was highly entertaining.

A went with me to help out his year. Last year, S did it, and before that my friend D went with me two years in a row and we snuck beers in the parking lot, which helped the whole art hanging thing a whole lot. One of those was the year that the hurricane hit and the wind was howling and water was bucketing through holes in the roof and the art was getting wet but the intrepid fair volunteers were still there, worrying about the dioramas and the Very Special Arts exhibition. So, next year I'm going to need another helper. I swear it's kind of fun. Honestly. Yeah. You should do it. It used to be that they gave all the volunteers a packet with a t-shirt and a pin and a coupon for J&S Cafeteria and a couple of free passes to the fair and an invitation to the volunteer appreciation pig picking (which I have never attended, because I can never get anyone to go with me and besides, I'm a little afraid that I'll recognize the pig in question from the fair and that will traumatize me for life.) This year, though, volunteers don't get nothin'. Not even a free pass and that's ridiculous. The coordinator lady, new this year, said, "They only get a pass if they work 8 hours during the actual fair." Hmmm. So working 4 hours in a hot hall hanging heavy art and hurting your back doesn't count. What the hell? This isn't LEAF we're talking about here - it's a five dollar ticket. They should get a free pass.

Of course, I do. Get a free pass and also VIP parking, that is, but last year I didn't make it back to the fair after setup. This year, I wish to change that. Let's go to the fair! I'll drive! And I'll even pay for half your ticket if you promise to go look at every single llama with me, because I like llamas. And chickens. And fried things on a stick. Yes, it's fair time - wanna go?

3 comments:

Jer said...

I've never been to this fair, but that's about to change. Funnel cakes, carnival rides, pygmy goats and ART! I'm so there! Could be a good place for a Blogger/Flickr gathering, too.

Edgy Mama said...

I usually take the kids one afternoon during the week, when it's less crowded. They like llamas too, though they're really there for the rides.

Jennifer Saylor said...

Felicity, I will trade you a bootleg of "Other Voices, Other Rooms" for a few good quotes about the fair:

http://jennifersaylor.wordpress.com/2007/09/04/college-reporter-needs-mountain-state-fair-quotes/