Taking A Whiff at Our First Tioga County Fair
The hint of rain mixed with a sugary scent of grease was in the air. Vibrant colors, rarely seen in nature covered the landscape. The wind shifted. Suddenly I smelled excitement tinged with cow manure. Wait, what? Where the heck am I?
I was raised on Dorney Park and Wild Water Kingdom, Six Flags Great Adventure and the boardwalk at Ocean City, NJ. I got 5 of my 9 piercings on that boardwalk. I got a 2nd degree sunburn at the water park. I was not raised in a land where 4-H was a club at school. I in no way handled livestock as part of my education. The Tioga County Fair, just outside of Wellsboro, PA, was not an experience I had counted on during our trip back east this part August. I was sure glad we did it though.
I recognize that not everyone had the upbringing I did. There are so many ways to be raised these days, why not check them all out? I was thrilled to explore this new and intriguing bit of Americana. Being surrounded by fabulous fried food, farm animals and fun rides didn’t seem like such a bad way to educate myself. But where to begin? With the rides of course!
As I mentioned yesterday, I have a thing with fast rides that reach high heights. The whole plummeting to your death thing doesn’t intrigue me. Since Dek and the grandparents were with us, we kept it simple. The train, the slide and the teacups were just our speed. Dek loved them all.
While on the teacups, Mike and his parents made sure the cup seat stayed still since it was Dek’s first time. Dek tried his hardest to turn that wheel though. He had no idea what it did, but steering wheels are on cars so it must be cool. Moving onto the train we went around a few times before hitting the slide. Not my favorite ride, but it was a new experience for sure.
We quickly exhausted the rides Dek was old enough to go on. We headed down the lane of fried food (my favorite part of course!) to find the livestock barns. Chickens, cows, sheep and pigs of every shape, size and demeanor were to be found. Dek had not been exposed to farm animals, other than the small petting area at our zoo, so he stuck close to Grandma and Grandpa. Animals are fun to point at but still a little scary for such a small guy.
Next up were the juried exhibits. Photography, paintings, quilts, vegetables, dioramas, jam, pie and brownies covered more than two buildings. The craftsmanship was incredible. My mother-in-law had fun pointing out some of her friends from her quilting group and neighboring farms. This was a county of people who prided themselves on their work and it really showed. My humble pies and baked goods were put to shame. No box mix or store-bought pie crust were found in these delicious goodies that’s for sure.
As the sun started to set, we wound our way back through the carnival games (the knife throwing one was a bit disturbing. Knives. For kids to throw. Really?) We stopped off at one of the many food-filled carts for a sampling of fried Oreos. I’d heard a lot about these fried treats and decided I should finally give it a whirl.
After the first bite, I had to pondered what I had just put in my mouth. Basically it was a soggy Oreo with funnel cake around it. It needed vanilla ice cream or at the very least a glass of milk. We packed them up and headed back to town to the ice cream shop to add a little more sugar to our evening. Not sure I’ll be having fried Oreos again, but now I do wonder what a fried Twinkie or Snickers bar tastes like. I smell a mission in the making.
I have to say I was impressed by my first county fair. It was small in comparison to the big amusement parks from my childhood, but it was not lacking in fun and plenty to do by any means. There was a greater connection to the people as well. Instead of bored college students working a water slide, there were proud high schoolers showing off their hard work. There were retired woman debuting a new quilting pattern and yes, some of the usual carnival ride workers and grease fry guys to add to the mix.
Dek and I actually had so much fun that we headed off to the Whidbey Island County Fair when we got home. I had to see what our own area had to offer. No fried Oreos, but loads of Thai food and my very first corn dog.
I may now be a county fair addict. I’m actually thinking I might have to include a State Fair in my wanders next summer. I hear the Puyallup Fair is quite a sight to see. A friend promised there were fried Twinkies there. I think we may have a winner folks.