Up With the Chickens

Raising children and chickens on a little buffalo farm


on September 3, 2012

I admit it. Every year I dread the fair. It’s filthy. It’s crowded. And it’s expensive. Every year I tell the children that we will go one night and only one night. And every year we go at least three times.  Occasionally I will here someone complaining, “The fair sure isn’t what it used to be when we were kids.”  Well, actually, it is.  Maybe better.  It’s just that we aren’t the same as we were when we were kids.  Adults who show up expecting the same level of excitement they had when they were eight are most certainly in for a disappointment.  But my children are never disappointed.  And the truth is I really do love the fair too. Here’s why…

1. Good Friends.  Good Times. I get to see friends from all over the county all in one place.  It is a bit like a hometown reunion.

2.  The livestock.  Okay, I admit that I suffer from a little bit of envy since I don’t have any pigs or sheep.  And I think the fainting goats I asked for for my birthday but did not get would have been a HUGE hit. But I do like to see the animals.  I find the pigs especially delightful.  It’s all so E. B. White. Plus, several of my students (past and present) show livestock. It’s amazing how hard these kids work all year long, and I want to show my support. It is great any time kids have a hobby, but unlike a lot of extra curricular activities, this hobby will carry over into real life, real world living.
3. The talent show. For such a little county, we have a lot of talent. This year’s show featured country music singers, a classical pianist, a rock guitar soloist, and a gospel rap/hip hop group.

Miss Carroll County,, posing with a rock guitar genius

4. The footlong corn dog. I’ve never actually eaten one, but each year I have the renewed hope that I will bring myself to do it.

5. Free Bibles. I won’t actually let my kids take them because we already have plenty of Bibles at home, but I’m still glad to see my neighbor Charles and his Gideon friends greeting people at the gate each year!  Way to spread the love guys!

6. The parade. It is small Southern town America at itsbest.
Jr. Miss Carroll County 2011

7. The Cattlemen’s Booth. Local farmers and ranchers serving up good food.  And you always get to eat with friends.

8.  It’s filthy.  I know I mentioned the filth as one reason I dread the fair, and it is.  But it’s also one reason I love it.  For one week out of the year, I really do let go of my germophobe tendencies.  Well, I sort of let go.  I just choose to eat with dirty hands rather than brave the fair public restroom. Still, I consider it a small victory.

9.  All my chicks in one basket.  Expensive though it is, for one glorious week, all of my children want to do the same thing.  And fortunately the Big Kids get terrible motions sickness, so we save big on arm bands.

10. Community.  In short, county fairs, Friday night football, town festivals, and the like are what make a town a community.  It is because we are a community that our  town will roll out to eat spaghetti and buy cinnamon rolls and raffle tickets to support a sick little girl heading to Mayo Clinic soon.  It is because we are a community that dozens of people gather to celebrate our fire station’s 100th anniversary with good  Bar B Q and good fellowship.  A community rallies behind a young man and his newborn son when he loses his wife in childbirth.  A community prays for it’s shared concerns (even if we gather to pray in different places).  We have the same beliefs.  We have different beliefs. We agree on issues and we disagree.  We stay here after high school, and we move away and start new lives n other towns.

Of course, not everyone who has ever lived in a town like ours, has a warm fuzzy feeling about it.  In fact, few of us are in a state of constant euphoria over small town life.  We sacrifice a lot (Museums, theaters, restaurants, shopping, and Starbucks) to live the small town life.  We put up with limited opportunity, boredom, gossip,and again, no Starbucks.  But in the end, even without mocha lattes and some of city life’s other perks, most of us are happy here- because we are a community.  And that’s even better than a latte.

  Linked to homestead-barn-hop-61.html


  1. Leah Stone says:

    Eureka!! I found it! Enjoyed your blog this morning, Laura! Very entertaining and interesting and funny too!

  2. Thanks, Leah. It keeps me off the streets. : )

  3. Barbara says:

    This made me smile. Our lil fair board members who take vacation days to work the fair, only to be bashed really need to read this! By the way …. I could hook you up with a pig!

    • Thank, Barbara. I really don’t know why people complain about the fair. The rides are decent. The food is great! And we get to see all our friends and neighbors animals and crafts. I only dread it each year because it’s exhausting – but exhausting in a good way. I might take you up on that pig, but we might need Audrey to come out and give us some pig showing lessons.

  4. Karen Johnson says:

    I really enjoyed reading it too! Very eloquently said!

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