How many events can compete with a state or county fair as a happy place, free of political strife, religious disagreement and purely devoted to a good time?
The phrase “fun for all ages” was invented for such occasions as last week’s Park County Fair.
Attendees included the old wanting to remember good times of their youth and youths too young to remember yesterday.
Some were too elderly to travel without wheelchairs, some too young to be set free from baby strollers or their parents’ arms.
And you know what? Those multi-generations may have been sharing the same plate of funnel cake, each with sugar-eating grins on their faces.
Fairs free the mind of stress. What, me worry? If you miss the last carousel, you catch the next one in a few minutes.
Compared to state fairs, the Park County Fair is a small one. It covers blocks, not miles. But all fairs pretty much include staple rides and foodstuffs, some of them so borderline as not to merit the definition of food.
That includes cotton candy, while pretty to gaze at, but probably the single least nutritious ingestible item anywhere. It includes none of the major government endorsed food groups for either healthy living or survival.
Certainly, at the County Fair, parents suspend the what’s-good-for-you food lineup.
Hot dogs, tacos and ice cream move to the top of the food chain. There are also always some derring-do items whose description make the eyes bulge in disbelief.
The winner at the Park County Fair was the hamburger cooked between two doughnuts. It has never once occurred to me to mix sugar into a burger. Main course, dessert, consecutively, yes. Same bite, no. They cost 9 bucks too.
Indeed, like a college education and buying a car, the price of taking foul shots for a prize, throwing jumpers at hoop, or a hoop at the neck of floating duck, keeps rising.
What was once three for $1 is $5. At the Midway ticket booth signs were posted saying credit cards were accepted.
Credit cards at the Fair. Cheesh.
Although not the same as a visit to Yellowstone National Park, animals raised by the youth of America were impressive. Cody’s Sydney Simone, 11, hugged a white rabbit as her father joked maybe she will move into bison raising.
Johanna Tomash, 15, of Powell, who is a sometime barrel racer at Cody Nite Rodeo, explored another type of livestock, showing a big, honking, dark-skinned member of the cattle family named Blue.
This was a hairy dude of a breed I am unfamiliar with. Even the ears on his 1,200-pound body sprouted hair.
The show animals, goats, sheep, swine and cows, seemed to be almost perfect specimens.
Inside one pen a little girl rested her head against a pig as a pillow. She looked sad, perhaps aware her pal might soon be reincarnated as hundreds of pounds of bacon.