Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Redneck Days of Summer: Part 6

This post will wrap up my recaps of the Fair. (Was that cheering I heard??  No... couldn't be!)

Like I mentioned before, I spend as much time at the Fair as possible. I didn't take pictures everyday, and so I'm really only scratching the surface of all the things that the Fair has to offer. A new development at the Fair is Antique Village, which my grandpa and grandma help out with many times during the week. There are exhibits with antiques (duh) and old pictures from my hometown and surrounding areas. I find it fascinating, and for the last 5 or so years, I've actually learned a lot about this area. I've even felt a little old as my grandpa brings in antiques that I distinctly remember playing with or seeing him use on the farm when I was younger. I really had no idea how old some of his things are!

Now, since I'm there so frequently, I often don't play the "tourist" part; I prefer just walking around and seeing people I haven't seen since the previous year's fair. This year, Jenna joined Josh, my sister, and I and we had a lot of fun being kind of touristy (read: dorky) as we took in the Fair on the last night.
Bingo! Jenna's grandma got us hooked on bingo the second we turned 18. At the fair, it's a whopping $.50 a card to play!

Lindsey (my sister) was SUPER excited to play! (Sorry Linds, I had to!)
Jenna Bingo'd twice, and I didn't win anything, hence the sadface.
Posing in front of the Corn Dog stand... with a creeper in the background. Honestly, my sister isn't always making that face...
The best Fair game in the world. Seriously. Put a quarter down on a square that is painted to look like a specific type of candy. Lindsey picked Hershey Kisses and I think Jenna picked Cotton Candy (?).
Then, a ball gets thrown onto this table, and if it lands on the candy that corresponds to where you put your quarter, you win any candy of your choice! Lots of fun, and a cheap way to entertain yourself.
The obligatory picture in front of the Ferris Wheel to bring our time at the Fair to a close. This year we were all enamored with the Ferris Wheel because the lights were replaced with LED lights and were super bright and pretty... it doesn't take much to entertain us!
I hope you enjoyed my recaps of Fair Week! I had a lot of fun, like every year, and I'm looking forward to next summer!
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Redneck Days of Summer: Part 5

This is what many people consider the best part of the Fair: The FOOD!

Disclaimer: If looking at lots of greasy, deep fried food makes you queasy, you may want to skip this post : )

One of my favorites is the bloomin' onion. Now, you can get these at some chain restaurants, but nothing beats the one at the Fair, split with your 3 favorite people. There's just something about the smell and feel of grease running down your fingers that just makes you feel at place at the Fair. (That sounds really gross as I reread it. But it's true. Don't judge) 
Now, I'm not a fan of corndogs, but Jenna is. This was her, and many other people's, must-have dinner at the fair.
Josh's food of choice is Old Tex barbecue. They cook it in a huge iron roaster and the smell is amazing! He loves the chopped pork sandwich, topped with their spicy barbecue sauce and lots of jalapeno peppers and pickles! I admit, I've become a huge fan of this place too, thanks to Josh.
The classic funnel cake. Even after years and years of going to the fair, my first funnel cake was actually just 3 years ago (it was my first first date with Josh, which I'll explain later, if you want to know what that's all about). These are SO much better than elephant ears. They're like fresh fried donut batter all tangled together. DELICIOUS! I think we split this one between 4 people.
One of the new vendors at the fair had fresh fried potato chips on a stick. They were really good and had a lot of different seasonings to pick from. Jenna is modeling hers, fresh from the beaches of Lake Michigan!
I didn't take pictures of everything we ate, and believe me, there was much more. An absolute must is Frazee French Fries. They are amazing, and I really can't even begin to explain why. There's just something about them that are so delicious, especially with a little malt vinegar on top. They are my Fair tradition, and have been since I was young.

There is also a gyro wagon with possibly the best gyros I've ever had. This guy is authentic Greek, and speaks very broken English. He also takes his time making the gyros, regardless of the size of the line of people outside his wagon. At any time, there is at least a 30 minute wait for his food, and believe me, the wait is definitely worth it!

What's your favorite fair food?

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Friday, August 27, 2010

The Redneck Days of Summer: Part 4

How are you liking my recaps of the Redneck side of my town? Hopefully you're enjoying it because there are 3 posts left! Today I bring you the cutest parts, seriously. This is a huge contrast from our friend with the lovely cartoon cows on his shirt. 

 4-H is a major part of the fair. When I was in 4-H, there was hardly room enough for all of the animals, food, and crafts that us kids made. Sadly, participation is dwindling, so this year saw a decline in the number of 4-H entries. To this day, my favorite part of the fair is watching the kids show their animals. Showing animals is so much more than just walking them around in a circle or putting them on a table for judges to look at; there are specific rules and procedures that need to be followed to the utmost perfection in order to be a good showman (showperson?). I used to show dairy cattle, and it was a big deal. Not only did my cow need to be cleaned and gleaming, I needed to know her lineage, anatomy, and other important facts about her production (most of this can be BSed and the judges don't know, but that's just not the way I roll!). 

Now, if you've never been in Michigan in July, let me tell you it is HOT! Shorts are not allowed in the show ring, and neither are sandals. It's long pants and boots! Not only is it extremely hot for the showman, but it's also hot for the cow. And sometimes they get a little stubborn... or wild. My very first year included being dragged in the dirt by a cow that just had no interest in being shown. Since I was all of 9 years old, I just cried and let her drag me. BUT - the next year I came back and scored 1st place in my division!

Although 4-H showing starts at age 9, they do a PeeWee show for kids under 9. This year it took place outside on the walkway in front of the barns, and Josh's 2 younger cousins showed their calves. Now, this is what I'm talking about when I say it's the CUTEST part of the fair! 

First they walk them in a circle around the judges. Five of Josh's cousins are actually in this picture, all of the people except the girl on the left side. The boy in yellow and the girl in red behind the calf are the showmen and are being helped by the group leader (in black) and their mom (in pink).  

After walking around the judges, the judges pull the calves in and line them up according to placing. In this case, everyone is a winner, so the calves are just lined up.
Don't you just love his boots! I don't know who is cuter - the calf or the kid! His calf is all of 10 days old in this picture, and he's handling it all by himself. 
Everyone gets a big pretty ribbon! Her calf is about 2 weeks old I think... The calf was being pretty stubborn and didn't want to walk, but once ribbons were handed out, Josh's cousin was all smiles!  

 As you can see, some parts of the fair are down right adorable! The fair is about so much more than rides, food, and carnies!

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Redneck Days of Summer: Part 3

So, what else is at the fair besides crashing combines and inappropriate shirts? Well... A lot! Josh and I went to the tractor pulls, which I had never been to. It was HOT outside, and the pulls are LOUD! So loud that they sell earplugs so people don't damage their hearing.
This is actually an antique tractor, probably from the 1950's. I loved the antique tractor pulls. There were quite a few models that my grandpa once owned, so it was a little bit of nostalgia.
Definitely not an antique! This one was SO loud and, as you can kind of see, produced TONS of smoke.

All of the trucks had tons of smoke and soot coming from the stacks. You can't really see, but the trucks and tractors were painted really nicely with different graphics and stuff. 
These tractors FLY down the track!
Ok, just keepin' it real, once again. It was HOT outside, and after a few beers, I was definitely not looking the greatest. Oh, and I've taken care of that mess of dark roots already. yuck.
This was the first time I've attended tractor pulls, but I'm sure it won't be the last. Josh absolutely loves them, and it's kind of fun to watch how fast these huge machines can go when they're hauling tons of weight behind them. 

Coming up  next: the cutest parts of the fair, and the best tasting parts of the fair :) Stay tuned!
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Redneck Days of Summer: Part 2

Yesterday I promised you the best part of the Combine Derby: The people. Specifically, one man who was sitting in front of us provided us with much entertainment.

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When I first saw him, I noticed the cows on his shirt, but didn't think much of it. People in this area, especially at the Fair, wear cows on their clothing sometimes. It's not really that odd of a sighting, sadly. However, upon further examination, I realized exactly what was on his shirt. Let's zoom in a little, shall we?
 Yes folks, that is the Kama Sutra, illustrated by cows. Only at the Fair... 

But how 'bout those suspenders??

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Redneck Days of Summer: Part 1

Mid-July in Mid-Michigan can only mean one thing: The Fair. People know my hometown for two reasons: The Fair and Prisons (more about the prisons later...). When I was younger, my summer revolved around the fair. I spent weeks perfecting my crafts to exhibit, went to countless meetings where I learned how to bake and cook and serve food, and worked with my dairy cows for the 4-H show (yes, I used to show Jersey cows... I've got pictures but I haven't taken the time to scan them in yet. Some other time). I lived at the fair for 10 days, but rarely spent time on the midway riding rides and eating horrible *cough*delicious*cough* fried food. Fair week usually involved some sort of "Fair Fling," or a boy that I sought out to pretty much be in love with for a week. In short, I love the fair.

Fair week always brings out the "best" in my town and surrounding areas. This year, I embraced exactly how redneck the fair can be, just so I could share it with all of you. Some of you already know and love/hate the fair (people either love it or hate it, most of them hate it), but I doubt you saw the sites I saw this year.

And so, I bring to you, The Fair AKA The Best 10 Redneck Days of Summer

This is a combine. It's used to shell corn that is grown in the fields. Or, at the Fair, it's put in a Demolition Derby.

If you don't know what a Demolition Derby is, check out Wikipedia's definition. In this case, combines are used instead of cars, and the last one running wins. This was the first year that the Fair had a combine derby, so it drew in LOTS of people. Seriously more people than I've EVER seen in the stands in the 25 years I've been going to the fair. (Although the Nelly concert in 2001 may have drawn more people... I wasn't there.)
This combine was my favorite! It was decorated like a cow, and driven by a kid I used to be in 4-H with. He won People's Choice! 
The combines are crashing into each other... it's really a lot more fun than it looks. These things are massive!
All of the combines lined up for the crowd

And the best part of the derby was the people... But I'm saving one priceless picture for tomorrow. Does your hometown have any strange but wonderful traditions that nobody understands but you just adore?

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oh Blogosphere... I've missed you!

I'll admit, I didn't jump right on Blogger the minute I finished my last final exam (final final?) of the summer. I was overwhelmed with the sheer amount of things I wanted to blog about. My solution? Just don't blog yet. Make sense? Absolutely not. Blogging fail.

Anyways, I've decided to put on my big girl panties and just get started with it! So on with the, blogs!

I'm just going to do a few posts to recap what happened in July: We bought a camper, which I posted about but never showed a pic. Well, here it is in all its glory! The perfect size for two people and a dog (who, coincidentally, thinks he's a person).

We learned the hard way that all of the supports need to be in place before we test the strength of the bed... yeah. We almost ended up on the ground. Oops! One metal bar makes a world of difference!

We also had a wedding in July at the fabulous Soaring Eagle Casino Resort. Josh's cousin Tony married the lovely Juliane and they threw a fabulous party! Josh's parents got a hotel room for Josh, me, his sister Ashley, and her boyfriend, Jason. Here are just a few pics from that night!
If you like that necklace, I know where you can find it :)

The four of us on a search for ice cream after the reception wrapped up (or maybe that was just me...)

Ashley and Jason (who just celebrated their 1 year dating anniversary Sunday :) )

Open bar with beer and wine = these ridiculous pictures

hahahaha I just love him

They weren't clearing away my empty glasses... I think it was on purpose

Yeah I just couldn't resist   

Stay tuned for the Best 10 Redneck Days of Summer...You won't want to miss it!!
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