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Day at the Fair

This past Sunday, I visited the Florida State Fair. I have to admit that I wasn't too enthused about going, but Tim had free tickets, as he works for the New York Yankees, and they are a sponsor of the fair. What I didn't realize is that Cracker Country was a part of the fair (it's a museum that's actually there year-round, but it's on the fairgrounds, so you can visit it with fair admission). When local friends first told me about Cracker Country, I thought it sounded offensive and certainly not celebratory, let alone educational. But then when I learned about the the origin of the term Cracker and the history of Florida Crackers, I was pretty fascinated, as I love learning about historical living, especially regarding day-to-day activities.

Upon arriving at the fair on one of the most beautiful days in recent memory--sunshine and cool, breezy temps, but warm enough for flip-flips (in true Florida fashion)--and got in with ease because we came in the morning and had free tickets. Cracker Country was the first attraction as we entered, and I was excited just upon seeing it. I could see it was modeled like a town square, with a school, general store, governor's house, and other necessary buildings we'd soon get to enter.

The classrooms at the state university I work at aren't this nice.

Neither are the bathrooms. Just kidding (sort of).

Now this kind of church I like! This was a wonderful bluegrass gospel band.

The excruciatingly slow process of extracting cane syrup from sugar cane.

Behold: the printing press.

Replicated old-timey newspaper.

After leaving Cracker Country, we went on to the main fair exhibits, which included any kind of food (or non-food) you can imagine fried or on a stick:

No, we didn't try it.

And animals in captivity:

Florida panther. S/he looks so . . . comfortable?

I wanted to go for a ride on this guy. But he wasn't one of the rides.

Who doesn't want to kiss a llama?

And a bear show that we didn't actually watch because we were too early, but because Tim works for the Yankees, we got to visit the bears before their show:

I think she likes me!

We're feeding them dog biscuits, btw.

They really were very cute and cuddly looking. From behind the gate.

Tim got his much-anticipated fair food, a giant turkey leg:

This is what kings ate, he told me.

After walking around the midway for a while, past the rickety rides that I wouldn't endanger my life on and the "freak" shows that were surely shams, we began to walk toward the exit. As we were leaving, we came upon the arts and crafts building, so I thought we'd just pop in to check it out. 

At one of the stands inside I came upon this magical jewelry, made from hematite. Here are its unsubstantiated claims (from the vendor):


But did I buy it anyway? You bet. It was actually very reasonably priced, and I liked the look of a couple of pieces:

This anklet is going to heal my foot injury.

These earrings will fix my sinus problems and cure my TMJ.

And thus our fair day was complete. If you've never visited the Florida State Fair, I recommend it--if for no other reason than visiting Cracker Country and observing the bizarre foods and people that only come out at the fair.

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