Saturday, August 31, 2019

The State Fair - "Don't Miss It--Don't Even Be Late"

I can’t let the last of summer slip by without talking about the state/county fair. Our state fair actually occurs in late September and early October, when the weather tends to be just right, but for many, summer is when their fair is held. I remember as a kid the excitement would build for weeks as “Fair Day” grew closer. My uncle was a carny and got my sister and me on all the kiddie rides for free. As an adult, I look forward to the food and entertainment the most and maybe a ride on the Ferris Wheel with my husband. I always indulge in a buttery corn on the cob, and when I leave, I’m often toting a chocolate-covered cheesecake on a stick. I have fond memories of attending fascinating shows, fabulous concerts and viewing animals I rarely get to see. Did I mention the food? Oh my—so many choices.
The Alabama State Fair - the Amphitheater

The first fairs were created to solve problems of distribution. Many were situated along major trade or pilgrimage routes. One of the earliest recorded fairs was the great Aztec fair that Spanish conquistadors founded on the present-day site of Mexico City. These festivals provided the chance for people to demonstrate their skills and crafts, exchange ideas, and barter for goods. 

Modern-day fairs provide opportunities for entertainment, travel, commerce, and socializing. They also play an important role in the social and economic lives of rural Americans. For urban folk, they provide a way to learn about and appreciate rural and agricultural lifestyles. Livestock and agriculture competitions sponsored by manufacturers and agricultural societies, such as the Cattlemen’s Association and the 4-H Club are fixtures of state and county fairs. Home crafts like quilting, sewing, baking, and canning are showcased and awarded ribbons.

Young people throng to the midway and spend hours whirling, dropping down from the tall heights of the roller coaster, or casually riding the Ferris Wheel—and maybe even sneaking a kiss. Older fair goers sample entertainment ranging from music concerts to pig races and dog shows to daring motorcycle stuntmen to yummy pie-eating contests. Midway barkers encourage visitors to take in sideshows, try for prizes in the game booths, and indulge in cotton candy, funnel cakes, or fried alligator.

With so many options, the state fair is hard to resist. Departing fair goers left with new friendships formed, some with disappointing losses, and others so stuffed “they can’t eat for a week,” but everyone has a fond memory of their visit to the fair.

I never played many of the games on the Midway, but there was one I liked—the racehorse game where you shoot water into a hole to make your steed move. I imagine it was my love of horses that led me to that particular game—that and I won a time or two. I also entered a counted cross-stitch picture in the fair one year. I didn’t win first place, but I got an honorable mention. And then there was the year we lost our four-year-old son at the fair. Talk about scary. We got him back, and he grew up to be a soldier. Share a memory of a time you attended the fair. What are/were your favorite fair foods, ride, or events?

Here are a couple of Fair Food recipes below for you to enjoy.

Corn Fritters 2


2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup 2% milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons grated onion
1 can (15-1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained

Oil for deep-fat frying


1. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, parsley and salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs, milk, melted butter and onion until blended. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Fold in corn.

2. In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat oil to 375°. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls, several at a time, into hot oil. Fry 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Mini Cream Puffs

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs


1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
1-3/4 cups 2% milk
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
Confectioners' sugar


1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a small saucepan, bring water and butter to a rolling boil over medium heat. Add flour and salt all at once; beat until blended. Cook, stirring vigorously, until a film forms at the bottom of the pan, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes.

2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until smooth. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny. Drop dough by 1-in. balls 1-1/2 in. apart onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until puffed, very firm and golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

3. Meanwhile, whisk together pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes or until thickened; let stand 5 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Cut puffs in half. Fill cream puffs with vanilla filling; replace tops. Dust with confectioners' sugar; serve immediately.


Lawmen and Ladies of the Old West Team Up to Track Down Outlaws

On Track for Love by Vickie McDonough

A new job and a move to a new state put Railroad Agent Landry Lomax on track to meet Cara Dixon—a spirited woman holding a derringer on a train robber. This stubborn woman is not one he wants around his young sister, but then they end up in the same St. Louis boardinghouse. But could Cara’s gumption help him trap a gang of train robbers?

Vickie McDonough is the best-selling author of more than 50 books and novellas. Vickie grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead, she married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams penning romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie’s books have won numerous awards including the Booksellers Best and the Inspirational Choice awards. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, doing stained glass projects, gardening watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website:


  1. Probably my favorite fair memory was when my grandmother was at the fair watching the rodeo, and a bull jumped up into the stands somehow. Even though it was about two rows away from her, this feisty lady (must have been in her 70's or early 80's) was swinging her big pocketbook in the direction of the beast to scare it away!!!!

  2. Love that story. Thanks for sharing. It gave me a chuckle.