Branded For Life

I read with a great deal of amusement about the redheaded two year old who drove his electric John Deere tractor to the Chisago County Fair.  He made the national news and it was a relief to see something fun in the media for a change.

He is certainly an enterprising youngster, and I am glad his adventure was a safe one. I only hope this isn’t something that people bring up  for the rest of his life.

I hope there are other, more edifying things that will define him.  It would be terrible to be branded as a wild man at age two.

Tell about your experiences at the fair.

26 thoughts on “Branded For Life”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I am a child of the County Fair, having been born during the Story County, Iowa Fair much to my father’s delight. He was a very involved 4-Her, even in adulthood. That meant you showed cattle, advised others on showing cattle, ate there, slept there. My mother rolled pie dough at the fair in the 4-H food booth until her first labor pain, almost 66 years ago. The pain started, she sent someone for dad who took her to the hospital. And then he returned to the fair. When he came back to the hospital he took a nap in her hospital bed while she was in the delivery room.

    I also was very involved in the Plymouth County Fair as a 4-H member. It was so much fun and fostered many friendships and romances among our 4:h population. I won red, white, and blue ribbons; gave a demonstration that went to the Iowa State Fair, and generally reveled in the entire experience.

    The cemetery Dad is buried in is next to the Story County Fairgrounds where he spent so much time and joyful experience. We bought a cemetery plot that is nearest to the FairGrounds. In his funeral procession, we had the driver choose a route that ran past the exhibition ring where he showed his 4-H cattle, then proceeded to the cemetery, in a last salute to what he loved the most.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. The first “pop” concert I ever attended was at the MN State Fair – saw Captain and Tennille in their “Come in From the Rain” tour. Was dropped off at the grandstand with my cousin (also a C &T fan) and picked up after the concert finished. I was maybe 11 or 12 at the time, my cousin slightly older. Guess the Captain and Tennille crowd was safe enough for a tween to attend alone (or at least my safety seemed more assured than my mother’s sanity sitting through “Muskrat Love” performed live…).

    A decade or so later, with some maturity in my musical tastes, I went to see Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie at the fair. A fantastic concert (how could it not be with a couple thousand people singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” in all its parts with Pete) and one that you could sit and realize that you were experiencing living legends. After we left the concert, the fair was pretty much closed up for the night – except for the recording on a side show trailer that touted to be some crazy creature or other with the tag line, “…and if it’s not for real, we’ll give you the truck.” To this day that sends select friends giggling.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I’ve been to the state fair two or three times. Not a fan of crowds combined with heat/humidity and/or rain. Not a fan of greasy fried exotic foods either. If you’ve seen one cow, you’ve seen ’em all. Most midway rides make me dizzy/sick/nauseated. Who needs to pay to see sideshow freaks when, as George Carlin said, “If you’re born in America, you get a ringside seat to the [daily life] freak show.” (my addition in brackets).

    However, I’ve been a wine judge at the Steele County Fair for the last 7-8 years. Kind of a freak show in itself because a group of us “country bumpkins” gather around a table, sip wines that range from undrinkable to darn good, and pretend we know diddly squat about wines. Since I was in the wine biz for several years and drink wine every day, I at least know “diddly” about wines. But our scoring system is so flawed that the grand champion wine can win merely because of drastic grade inflation by two of the eight or ten judges. (we taste wine in pairs).

    So it’s a freak show in its own modest way, and local winemakers get a chance to brag about their monumental accomplishment and pretend they are a big guppy in a small pond for a little while. All harmless fun to distract us while the men behind the curtain pull levers, blow smoke, create thunder and lightning, and tell us to “pay no attention . . .”

    Chris in Owatonna (who is surprisingly pessimistic this morning) [insert ‘question mark emoji’ here]

    Liked by 4 people

  4. My first fair memory is as a maybe 6-year-old at the Storm Lake (IA) County Fair, and I just loved the whole scene, but esp. the Ferris Wheel.
    I didn’t really pay attention to them again till living in Mpls, and for a while I felt as Chris does – too hot and humid and crowded PLUS you have to walk for miles in the dust and double back because you don’t have (or didn’t read) the map… Then I went with our baboon Linda, and wrote a blog post about that:

    Alas, I haven’t made it back for a State Fair romp since we moved here, and this year isn’t looking likely either… Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve only been to the MN State Fair a few times and while I certainly enjoyed it, I don’t miss it if I don’t attend. As Chris said, I’m not a big fan of huge crowds, heat, humidity, hawking peddlers at every corner, etc. But I do so LOVE the Renaissance Festival. Yes, it’s more expensive and an even bigger freak show of characters than the fair, I just so love it — all of it.

    I’m even splurging this year for my oldest son’s 30th birthday, and we’re going to the Feast of Fantasy in the Bad Manor at Ren Fest. Been wanting to go for years and I can’t wait! We’re going on Labor Day when the tickets are cheaper. Maybe I’ll do a blog about it …

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Maybe I’ll see you there. YA & I always go to Ren-Fest on Labor Day because it’s less crowded. Everybody else is at the Fair


  6. I saw that article on the news and was reminded of the story that has followed me through my life about the time I jumped on my tractor with pedals and the steering wheel and drove out to see my grandparents horses at the barn 7 milesout of town

    I was picked up by a police officer had a stoplight and brought back home he was very exasperated because I had settled out and was almost there

    i was two
    i told hem we lived in a big white household on bluff in brainerd and he drove me home

    Liked by 5 people

  7. I think it’s a pretty fair bet that this story will follow the kid the rest of his life – oh, he’ll be remembered for other things, too, but this will NOT be forgotten.

    When Husband’s family was still (just his older brother and sister plus baby Husband), they lived at about 34th and Blaisdell in S. Mpls. One day Brother, who couldn’t have been more than 2 or 3, climbed on a city bus behind some other passengers, and rode to the end of the line, where he was found by the puzzled driver. He eventually made it home to a frantic mom – the case for a fenced yard! This story was told again and again for as long as he lived…

    Liked by 3 people

  8. We are in Newcastle, WY. Today in Luverne , MN the Rock County Fair is in full swing. They expect the sow in the Discovery Center to give birth to piglets tonight. I remember my cousins showing their Chester White pigs at the fair. The pigs were dusted down with baby powder to look their best.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. My father got lost in a corn field when he was two, and all the neighbors had to help look for him. He never was allowed to forget that. Then there was the time when he was 4 and he tried to get his two year old brother to drink gasoline. My dad was a very busy little boy.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Dang it- long post written and lost it.
    Sigh. Start again.

    I grew up with the Olmsted County Fair.
    Mom and Dad were involved with Farm Bureau and the American Dairy Association and both had booths at the fair.
    We stored the Farm Bureau booth at our farm and we’d haul it out a week before the fair and hose it off and fix what was broken and load it on a wagon and haul it in a few days before the fair started.
    And Dad was in charge of the ‘All you can drink’ milk stand for a few years. We get milk in big 5 gallon plastic containers and load them into the dispensers at the fair. AMPI would bring a cooler and deliver milk in the mornings. Weekends were a problem because they wouldn’t deliver on weekends and we’d have to get a late delivery Friday afternoon and getting the truck in and having room was an issue. Milk was .10 / glass when I was selling.
    I remember when the malt stands first came in. That was a big deal.

    Mom ran the ‘Blue Stage’ and organized the Talent show every year. She always had a grandchild or two helping her out.

    Course I was in 4H so had projects to enter and be judged and the 4H club had to work in the ‘Burger Barn’ one day of the fair. I always hated that part. But otherwise we were there every day and I’d look for girls but never talk to them. And I’d spend a lot of time in a tent playing video games.

    And a lot of years, we’re trying to bale hay, or the oats is ready to combine, or we’re baling straw during the fair. And yet it all worked out.

    Dad was elected to the Fair Board and served on that for a lot of years. He’d spend a month there before the fair getting it set up.
    One of his jobs was setting up the pipes for water to the vendors. Dad didn’t like being told what to do. (Sounds familiar) And the city told him all the vendors needed back flow preventers on the pipes. Dad argued with them. And put back flow preventers on all the pipes.
    Then the city said a licensed plumber had to install all the plumbing. Dad argued. And hired a plumber. But he also worked out a deal with the plumber. Dad would still lay out and hook up all the plumbing, then the plumber would come back and inspect it and sign off on it.

    Then one year Dad fell down in the bleachers and broke his leg. The fact he didn’t know exactly what he had done concerned all the doctors and they decided he needed a pacemaker and I really think that was the beginning of the end. Took 15 or 20 years, but Dad had never been in the hospital before that.

    Kelly and I were dating and at the fair and met Mom and Dad walking down the street. Kelly thought it was so cute how they were still holding hands.

    When our son was born during the fair, we called the fair office and had it broadcast over the loudspeakers. “Congratulations Joe and June Hain. You have a new grandson!”. Dad was working in a building and missed it but people started congratulating him and they got to the hospital soon enough.

    The county fair is on this week.
    I’ve kinda lost contact with the fair. Haven’t even been there in a few years. But we’re planning on going this year.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. A number of years ago #2son and I were at the MN State Fair. At the now-defunct Heritage Square, a couple of friends were competing in a singing/dueting/guitaring/mandolining thing and we were listening. Son got bored and said he would go off to see some of his favorite things that are not my favorite things (TV and Radio Station booths). We had an IfYouGetLost place (Startribune booth) but after the competition ended, I felt some panic (we were cell phone free in those days). I wanted to stay where I was (hug a tree) or have someone else there while I went out to look. Anyone else I knew was long gone.
    FINALLY he showed up. No biggie, he just lost track of time.

    We went out the next day and got cell phones for each of us.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do enjoy the fair but #2son and I decided that every other year was enough. A couple of years ago, though, I went 3 times – once to hear a friend perform at one of the free stages, once with #2son and once to do some Contra dancing as part of a group organized by Tapestry Folk Dance center. I have done the Contra dancing there for a couple of years but we have been cursed by downpours after just a couple of dances. We were supposed to dance in the street and pull in innocent bystanders but last year we ended up (our group plus bystanders) crammed on a tiny stage by the Education building.

      Liked by 1 person

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