Saturday, August 3, 2013

"A Fair" To Remember

...and one of the best jobs ever!

Whether I like it or not, the Ohio State Fair has woven itself through my life.  I'm not what you call an avid fairgoer and that's why it's so weird.  I've been to a few other state fairs and they aren't the same.  I would like to try a Texas one, because in the past that's the only other state that rivals us in attendance and attractions.  We Buckeyes do football and fairs with gusto.

In typical Ohio weather style, it either rains and is humid or we're in a drought and it's in the upper 90s.  This year, the one I likely will miss, the weather is a perfect 72 degrees with sun and a breeze!  It figures.

My parents would take us to the fair as an all day event starting the hour drive early and getting home really late.  We would have our plastic bag full of the pamphlets and "treasures" collected along the way.  The amount of junk food we ate made us half sick, but it never stopped us from pigging out.  I liked hanging out at the horse show (still do) in friend's dressed up stalls, helping where I could and watching classes.

As luck would have it, the first job I took when I moved home from Los Angeles was as an advertising account executive at an agency with my main client being the Ohio State Fair.  It paid pretty well at the time, but the perks were great!  Bad thing was it spoiled me for going as a regular citizen.  Before the fair it was the usual print, radio/tv, press release sort of thing, but once there it was mostly maintenance, odd jobs, helping the PR staff and running around on a golf cart deciding what to eat next.

Probably the best perk (aside for onsite parking) was full access to all of the concerts.  The concert line-up included George Strait, Belinda Carlisle, Oak Ridge Boys, Beach Boys, Sandy Patty and others.  On Sandy Patty day, we were in charge of security to give the junior fair board a day off.  Surprisingly enough, this Christian singer's crowds were rowdier than the rest and we had to hold people back from rushing the stage.
One of my favorite photos ever!  My arm around Sir George!  On the left is Lisa Hill from the fair PR staff.  I wish I could remember the other gal's name (also from the fair staff.)  Lisa introduced me to future husband Mark, which also lead to more fair involvement through reining horses.

For all the concerts we had great seats if we wanted them, but for George Strait, the governor was unavailable, so darn it, I had to sit in the governor's front row seat both concerts!  Somebody had to take one for the team!

Mark and Audra warming up in the make-up pen on Ohio State Fair Superstakes winner  "Coronas Zingo."  Zingo would let Audra brush his legs and he never took a step when she was nearby.  

So the next few years I would go to horse shows and through my dog life, wound up in the "dog house" doing demos with "Windi" my golden retriever.  I loved riding Zingo around to exercise him, but wish someone would come up with ride-thru windows for grabbing a drink or snack!

Then it was the kid's turn to participate.  For the last 7 years their high school band marched in the fair parade on the fairgrounds that is done every afternoon.  Sometimes I chaperoned.  Of course, those days were 95 degrees in the shade and unbearable humidity!  Nothing else changes much:  I still ate junk food and regretted it!


Taylor and sousa section preparing to start fair parade.  This is in the division of wildlife area.  They had to divert the parade from previous routes because the drumline noise killed many bunnies from heart attacks.  (Not our band... though we have a "killer"  drumline!)

The Ohio State Fair is over tomorrow, August 4th.  If you want to get there, you'd better get going!  If you've never been, it's something everyone ought to do once.

Until next time!

Gale




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