So it’s early July again here in Prairie Home, and that means it’s time for the annual Prairie Home fair. At this time last year, we had just barely moved in and were still definitely getting settled when the fair came around. Quite honestly, we were a little bit confused as to why a whole bunch of people and animals would make their way out to Prairie Home, when there are so many larger communities around. Apparently, it’s been an annual event since something like 1915 though, so there’s definitely something to be said for tradition. It began this past Wednesday night and ran through late Saturday evening.
It’s really a combination of a small fair (animals, food, and other events) and a small carnival. This year they had a ferris wheel, a ride I used to call the ‘egg-turner’ back at the Tremont Turkey Festival (kind of like a ferris wheel, but instead of seats, there’s cages which spin upside down) and a ride that looks like a huge couch at the end of a long arm that basically swings around in a huge circle, dropping you almost straight down. Besides this, they had the kiddie roller coaster, some take on the Berry-Go-Round, the motorcycle ride I loved when I was little, etc, and a bunch of games as well. All in all, a nice little setup. There’s also a small grandstand with an arena, in which there are different activities every night. The first night was the tractor pull (we ARE in the country, after all). We didn’t go up to see it, but it had to have been better than last year’s, which took place in about 4 inches of mud because it had rained all day.
Jessi and I signed up to work at the main (non-carnival) food stand. We didn’t know it at the time, but this big stand, which uses all-volunteer labor, is basically the only reason that the Prairie Home fair is the only non-admission-charging fair in Missouri. They make just enough money there to rent the grounds, make it so that people entering animals/etc into competition don’t have to pay anything, and make sure that admission is free. We weren’t cooking (the guys in the back did an awesome job of turning out burgers, hot dogs, chili dogs, nachos, BBQ pork sandwiches, etc at an amazing rate), but we sold the stuff from 8-10 pm. It was actually about 11:30 by the time we got out of there, and they were still going, but some of the other workers were nice enough to let us go home. The event for the night was a horse show (barrel-racing and a whole bunch of other stuff I have no idea what it was because I don’t know squat about horses). The barrel-racing was really pretty cool to watch though, and we had a ton of fun selling food in the (completely chaotic) food stand.
Friday night was the four-wheeler rodeo, but we decided to spend some much needed break time at home just hanging out and finishing the rest of the Carnevale miniseries on DVD. We did go up and did our part to support the fair, however, by buying some of the delicious food we’d smelled all night on Thursday but hadn’t been able to buy. Last night was more horses (draft, show, specialty, etc…the really fancy stuff) and the doll-buggy contest, which Jessi helped in judging (I was lucky enough to get out of it this year). On a side note, I’ve learned that cowboy boots can be kinda hot on girls, so I’m determined to buy Jess a pair at some point; I think I might get myself some too to go w/some of my nicer jeans. Jess’ dad says the Larry’s Boots store down here is pretty cool, so we may have to check that out
All in all, the fair is a really cool little local event, and tons of people actually seem to come out for it each year. This year we didn’t actually wake up to find any cows IN our yard like we did last year, and the crazy people screaming around on their four-wheelers after the rodeo (at 12 a.m.) actually stayed out of our yard. The worst we got was a couple of dropped beer cans from people passing through our yard. Apparently it’s ok to take beer to the fair as long as you’re of legal drinking age and discreet about it. That being said, I think we did just fine, and even managed to get involved this year. Instead of something that made us kinda nervous like last year, I think we’ll be looking forward to Prairie Home Fair, v. 2012.