The Rock Creek Fall Fair is a tradition that has been going on in the tiny town of Rock Creek for just over 60 years – which is coincidentally the number of years my Granny and Grampa have been married and living in that little town. My mom was Fall Fair Queen in the 1962, when they still did that sort of thing. (We have the home movies documenting her reign, which involved lots of cape-wearing and float-riding.) My grandparents are life members of the fair, which saves them the cost of admission – a reasonable $9 per person.
Since I was last at the fair, over 10 years ago, it has gotten a lot bigger. The basics are still there – the early morning “Cowboy” Pancake Breakfast, the Tilt-A-Whirl, the 4H kids strutting their meticulously groomed farm animals in the show ring, and the big local boys gunning the chainsaws and throwing axes in the logger sports show – and they didn’t feel terribly obscured by the rows of ubiquitous vendors of cheap jewelry, fake tattoos, and hippie wear. There was also a great display of tractors and dirt bikes.
My cousin won a third-place ribbon for his steer in the show ring. He graduated from high school last year and he plays a mean classic rock guitar, but he still goes to 4H and raises a beef steer. A second cousin also won a prize for their lamb at the exact same time, while her mother who runs the local general store explained to me what the judges are looking for when they are squeezing a lamb’s rump – a certain shape means better meat.
I have a pretty big extended family, and most of them live in that area, so I ran into a lot of my cousins, second cousins, and aunts and uncles in the course of the day. I hadn’t seen many of my cousins in such a long time that I kept mistaking their babies in baby carriages for their first children, who are now just old enough to run around. How strange that all my cousins who now have children all have two. My sister just had her second baby last week.
After eating some roast chicken for lunch – complete with coleslaw and bun – Donovan and I decided to wash down the food with some beer. You know you’re in the country when the beer garden serves only cans of Bud or Kokanee. We had to drink it in this enclosure which quickly began to seem like a redneck holding pen.
Unfortunately, it had to be a quick trip. I needed to come back in time to be thoroughly confused by Language Studies class. But at least, there was a little time away to enjoy small things such as petting goats, sighing at bunnies, and checking out all that prize-winning jam.
Oh yes, and a couple notes on the road trip itself: Floydd is no longer gay! The sign has been cleaned! In Hedley, a pub’s road sign advertised the draft as follows: “Best Head in Town $3.” We didn’t get a picture. BY the time we drove back, the unintentional offer of cheap sex was gone, replaced by crude messages from the local kids.