Taking A Whiff at Our First Tioga County Fair

 In Activities, Events, USA

Rain clouds rolling in could not stop the fun and excitement at the 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?

Rides of every color surrounded us, but where to start first?

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.

A cow gets a bath before its big debut at the fair

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!

We stuck to the teacups since most rides were still a few years off for pint-sized Dek

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.

First ones on the train opening night. What could be more fun?

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.

Dek checked out all of the animals while being held tightly in Grandma’s arms

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.

The diagram of a cow brought home the fact that these animals were food, not pets on display

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.

Jam, paintings, photos and veggies were just a small smattering of what was to be judged

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.

Ducks, devils and knives (knives!?) were just part of the fun and games at the fair

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.

Fried Oreos = heart attack in a tiny pouch but still worth a try

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.

Tioga County’s very own Blue Man Group performed. This guy is actually quite the musician according to my in-laws.

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.

Dek’s first hand stamp. Just don’t try to come back on Tuesday without paying.

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Showing 13 comments
  • Robin

    I really liked this one because it’s a great example of another new world to explore right under our American noses. Sorry we didn’t include them in your education! Glad little D’s country grandparents can introduce your whole family to such a wonderful tradition.

    • Reply

      Don’t worry ma. You gave me plenty of fantastic opportunities to make up for it. And you still have the Please Touch Museum for Dek 😉

  • Marina K. Villatoro

    Love it. We take our kids the local fairs here. I’m scared to death about the rides, and just pray they will be fine 🙂 But otherwise, they are a fun treat!

    • Reply

      So there are fairs in Latin America too! Oh boy, I will be picking your brain about those once we make our way down there. That sounds like something we definitely can’t miss!

  • Sonja

    I, too, had no association with farm animals until I had kids. Kind of unfortunate because children really learn from the experience of handling and feeding them, I think.

    • Reply

      I just figure I got a different exposure to animals, like pigeons, squirrels and rats. Hmmm…horses sound a lot better. And prettier.

  • Jen (@twokidsandamap)

    I have an issue with rides that you can pack up and take somewhere else. but we love to go to the fair and see the sights. It is definitely something else!

  • Becca@R We There Yet Mom?

    I love your post – it was as if I was right along there with you! I love local fiars and the family does too.

    I actually have been to the Puyallup Fair many many moons ago!! You’ll have to let us know how it has changed.

    Thanks so much for linking up today! I appreciate it!!


  • Lisa

    I’ve never been to a fair but it looks like so much fun! Except for the fried Oreos – not sure I could stomach one of those! Don’t forget that next weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving – so you’ll have some eating to do in honour of our holiday. 🙂

    • Reply

      How could I forget it was almost Canadian Thanksgiving! We will be on Orcas Island next weekend so I’ll have to figure something out. I hear there is a lovely pie and chocolate shop up there. And it is an hour or two closer to the boarder. Hmmm….

  • Blade Luxury Hotels

    Great article, I went to fairs when I was little and had some good memories rekindled while reading your article… Thank you for sharing~

  • Sarah V.

    Love the pictures, especially the first two! We went to the Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet, Texas last spring, and your post reminded me of that adventure.

  • Jim

    Those oreo things look pretty tasty.

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