“Too Big To Miss” is the annual tagline of the Oregon State Fair, but this year it was also a label that could have been applied to the group we faired with–all of us sporting bright golden-yellow t-shirts with our own tagline, “the family that fairs together, stays together.” (As quoted by Molly Filosi; t-shirt design and printing by Rachel Morell.) The fifteen of piled into cars and made our way to the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem for a day packed with thing things you do at a fair: the eating of greasy, overpriced food; the viewing of farm animals; the watching of people; the oohing and aahing over beautiful photography; the bargaining for as-seen-on-TV items in the commercial area (“but wait…”); and the doubled-over laughing at the Travis Fox hypnotist show, among other things.
Going to the fair is a Macy tradition dating back to the time John was about 10 years old. The Williams grandparents took him and his siblings to the fair and the tradition has continued–twenty two years later we are still going! (Too big to miss, I tell you!) Because the annual affair began with the Williams’ we are always pleased when Grandma Edna wants to come along–at 90 years old she still wants to spend an entire day walking around the fair with a bunch of “kids” and we are so glad for it. She was a trooper once again, even providing her famous rice krispy treats with peanut butter and willingly sporting the t-shirt.
If you have never been to a state fair or a fair of any sort, it is surely an experience not too miss–well, it’s at least a once in a lifetime must-do. Garrison Keilor, of A Prairie Home Companion, describes it beautifully in a National Geographic article. Somehow the fair experience is relatively consistent from state to state, perhaps taken more seriously in some places than others, but still with a similar rhythm, similar oddities, and similar food. Maybe we’ll see you next year?