My husband was commenting about how hot it is in our hometown this week – Great Falls, Montana. And it is also Fair Week, which I remember as always being hot! Great Falls has hosted the State Fair for as long as we can remember.
Going to the Fair when I was growing up was like a summer bucket list requirement.
When I was younger, I went with my girlfriends. One of our parents, probably whoever drew the short straw, walked us around the Midway, in the heat for hours, while we stood in line for rides. Some of my favorite rides were the Tilt O Whirl, the Scrambler, the Hammer (very scary) and the Rock-o- Plane (also scary). I have no idea if those rides are still around!
As we got older, we were allowed to go to the Fair without adult supervision. Considering how ‘un fun’ going to the Fair in the heat of the day was for our parents, I’m sure they were more than happy to turn us loose!
In addition to the Midway, there was the Night Show. I went with my parent to see the Lennon Sisters, which was a very big deal! I stood in line for Janet’s autograph, but my parents lost patience before I got to her window. As we got older, the Night Show brought in some ‘hip’ attractions. I remember when the Carpenters performed. Two of our friends from another high school were much more advanced than we were and managed to hook up with Richard Carpenter and another band member for the evening….or so they said!
Having a date to the Fair was a big deal! It involved walking around the Midway, going on a ride or two, and possibly the Night Show. It was also a requirement to win a stuffed animal, as I recall.
And then there was the Fair food! When I was little, I mainly remember cotton candy and snow cones. I did a great job getting my hands sticky and dripping syrup on my clothes. My husband remembers Pluto Pups and Neapolitan ice-cream sandwiches. We both remember Vikings (Swedish meatballs on a stick) from later years.
I was never into the exhibits or the barns, but my parents used to drag me along with them. I did like the Mercantile Building because it had some interesting gadgets and some give aways. My mother-in-law was a flower judge at the Fair for years.
This picture of me in today’s collage is from the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962. We were visiting my aunt and uncle. We went to the World’s Fair with them and they bought me the Robin Hood style hat with feather I am rocking in the photo 😊.
Going to the fair was part of our daughter’s childhood too. We lived in Puyallup and the Puyallup Fair, now the Washington State Fair, is held there every September. It generally gets underway just after school starts and is a much bigger spread than the Montana State Fair. I am sure she has some great memories of her fair days, as well. My favorite was the Fisher Fair scone – always a treat!
And, as luck would have it, the quintessential Fair band, The Beach Boys are playing at both venues this year!