August 27, 2012
Blue ribbon birdie.
Remember my utter glee last year, as I released my inner cowgirl at the San Juan County Fair?
Well, once again (my fifth summer, now!), it was back, and so was she. I. Her. Well, whoever that dimpled chick with the humongous pile of french fries is…
How does she keep her girlish figure? With this carbo-loading extravaganza!
Yup, I did the fair three days in a row last week, toting various sets of off-island visitors along with me. Every one of them thought the whole thing was as adorable, fun, and downright hilarious as I do.
Lacking the nerve to belly up for the logrolling or beer drinking contests (were there any?), I did enter three county fair competitions: for nature photography, essay writing, and poetry. I humbly and proudly report that I received a first prize blue ribbon in each. Given the fact that I failed to bring home a Pulitzer, Oscar, Grammy, or MacArthur “Genius” award this particular year, much less win a $1 lotto scratch-off, these shiny regional recognitions made me smile. Plus, there’s something extremely rewarding about being given a nod by others for things that one loves doing, but does not do for a living.
I wonder what I’ll write about next year…
The photo, “Incoming,” (this post’s lead pic, and subtitled “Duck!! No, eagle”), had been awarded a prize earlier this summer in the Ernest Brooks marine life photography contest. The event was sponsored by the legendary Mr. Brooks, and the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, on whose wall the photo has been displayed all summer during their show of Brooks’s recent, truly stunning works. What an honor to be a tiny part of the exhibit!
At the museum: this photographer’s first-ever exhibit. Or, framed photo, for that matter! Thanks go to fellow islander Bob Stavers, for getting the bird off the computer and onto the paper.
Other personal county fair highlights (of the digestible kind) included a coconut/watermelon Sno Cone, and the “Hungarian” curly garlic and cheese fries as modeled three pix above (if you’re reading this and happen to be Hungarian, fill me in on this exotic health food tradition, since I missed out when I was in Budapest years ago).
And, of course, since you all know me so well, a trip or several here:
Apparently, this is what happens when you plant beer seeds.
After strolling through the cheery, colorful sprouting beds of beer, we opted for a stronger crop:
I am not going to explain what happened to all the tequila that was in this bottle.
Milling around the hot, dusty fairgrounds, locals run into lots of friends, which makes the whole thing a very social event. Truly, as I’ve said before on these pages, it’s really like living in a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. And visiting the various and, uh, diverse booths can be almost as entertaining.
For instance, since every woman knows that firemen and paramedics are an unusually handsome subset of our species, I couldn’t help but stop here for a little while:
Just look at that gorgeous cut-out face… he’s a little two-dimensional, but cute.
And although San Juan County happens to be overwhelmingly Democratic, fortunately the Republicans showed up, if only to remind the Democrats why they are not Republicans:
A sign to the left instructed, “shoot first and then ask questions.” Hmm. God bless America. Soon, I hope.
And then there are the weird, random [possibly heartbreaking?] booths like this:
Really? Is this a commentary on the specific needs of San Juan County?
Friday afternoon, I got one helluva perfect tattoo:
Long-brown-haired busty kelp mermaid meets orca. I mean, perfect.
As did my fellow San Juanian “Island Sis” Lorraine:
Her house includes eight dog paws, but her arm could only support one.
In true drunken sailor fashion, both our tats were preceded by very potent margaritas. And they were followed by a raucously giggle-infested ride: Lorraine had the brilliant post-cocktail idea to fling ourselves around in this slapped-together contraption:
Well prepared with tattoos and tequila, Thelma and Louise throw their collective weight around the county fair. Hang on to your hats!
Once aboard and airborne, this ride tested the laws of physics and gravity far more thoroughly than either of us had expected. I do not think we ever stopped shrieking, laughing, occasionally swearing (mostly Lorraine; I’m a @#$%# saint, of course), and wondering whether we were about to be unceremoniously face-planted in the beer garden when these randomly moving metal parts, assembled by underpaid men with beer on their toothless breath, suddenly disintegrated.
The two paratroopers, coming in for a landing, mouths still agape and thankful their chutes stayed opened, too.
Zooming in: Notice the death grip I maintained on my iPhone the entire time. And no, that was not our shoe on the ground. I think Lorraine was exclaiming something unpublishable.
Yes, there is incriminating video of this, in which, just like the poor little children on the ride with us, you, too, can experience the decibels of our ridiculous screams and guffaws.
And I’m delighted to share with you that while there was plenty of tilting and whirling, there was no hurling. Classy broads like us not only can hold onto our straw hats, but also our lunch, even when hitting Mach Two in a kiddie ride.
Lorraine and I have decided to get tattoos again next year; a new tradition. That is, if we haven’t ended up in a parlor with real ink sometime between now and then, after yet another debauched day of carbo-curly fries and tequila. Next time you run into me at Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall, dressed politely in my skirt and heels, ask me to roll up my sleeve, just to check.