I almost forgot about the fair.
That's no small feat, let me tell you. Springfield, Ohio is the birthplace of 4-H (there's a plaque on the sidewalk and everything, so you know it's real), so the Clark County Fair is quite the event 'round these parts. We've gone every year that we've been here, though it's sometimes been out of duty instead of desire.
So we'll go, and do the fair things: walk the midway with a bag of cotton candy; stroll through the produce pavilions, and wonder what makes this zucchini better than that zucchini; coo over the (big) little piggies and chuckle darkly at the Pork Producers' stand selling delicious chops just across the way from the barn, the smell of barbeque just nearly masking the smell of manure.
But the main event, the one that the folks here come back to year after year, packing the stadium full on a Friday night (and if there are no seats left in the bleachers, they just pull their pick-up trucks around to the other side of the arena) is The Scramble.
It starts with the Kiddy Pig Chase. While the parents cheer them on from behind the chalk line, children run barefoot through the mud, chasing down four pigs, hoping to catch one of the red ribbons tied around the piggie bellies. There's a bit of drama - there always is. Parents who won't stay behind the chalk lines like they're told. Parents who are so sure that their child got to the ribbon first. A rumor floats down the line that one of the kids, outraged that she wouldn't be able to keep the ribbon she stole from the hands of another child, bit one of the teenage volunteers in the ankle.
But outside of the few sour grapes, the pig chase goes well; the winners get their prizes, and the rest happily splash in the mud puddles until their parents come to collect them.
The teen volunteers heard the pigs into their pens as quickly as possible, so as to spend the most amount of time playing "Who Can We Make the Most Dirty Against Their Will?", which does include the time honored trick of kneeling behind another person's legs and waiting for them to step backwards. Even the Fair Queen gets in on the act, walking delicately across the arena in her clean white dress, mud slicked up the backs of her thighs.
Once all the kids are safely out of the mud, a volunteer runs out to re-draw the chalk lines, adding a big white circle in the middle of the stadium. It's nearly time for the Main Event.
Come back tomorrow, and hear the rest of the story.