Friday, August 28, 2009

Summer Pictures II - The Fair

Whenever summer nears its end, you can always find some fair or other running. The Montana Fair recently made its run here, and we made a trek to see it.

I enjoy fairs. I'm not really into the rides, or the "games", or the crappy and expensive food. I know what you're thinking, "That's all there is to fairs, so you don't really enjoy fairs, you dummy." First, name calling is uncalled for, and second, you'd be right except you forgot about the exhibits. You know, the exhibits showing off people's baking, knitting, sewing, painting, photographing, place setting etc. skills. I enjoy viewing exhibits of people's industrious efforts. For instance, here's a picture of somebody's giant flower... thing.

I really don't know what sort of flower it was, but believe me when I tell you it was impressive in person.

Some other things people like to exhibit at fairs are various farm animals large and small. I admit that I don't appreciate the farm aspect of fairs as much as I should even though that is probably the traditional purpose of fairs. I just don't have enough experience and knowledge about animal husbandry (*snicker*) to really appreciate what I'm looking at. Usually when people inform me we're heading over to the animal exhibits, my initial reaction is pretty much that of this fair goer I spotted near one of the animal exhibits (I empathize completely).

However, I have to admit that if I give it half a chance that there is usually something interesting to look at in the animal exhibits. So, I try to keep an open mind.

This year we went to the fair just a day after it had opened. By the time we usually visit the fair, all the animal judging has already happened. But this time we visited the animal exhibits while judging was going on. I caught some of the cows being shown. Even kids get into the act (#141 had better be quick on his feet).

I can judge the heck out of people, but with cows, I wouldn't know where to begin. After each round, the judge would helpfully explain his choices as the cows were moved out of the pen single file. However, I still couldn't follow him. He said things about round flanks, feminine somethings, and straight backs. He also talked about the way they walked as they were led around the judging area. Actually, the only thing I could really appreciate was the straight back. The rest was lost on me, especially the whole "feminine" thing. I'd appreciate it more if I was a cow connoisseur. (Man, I sure hope somebody in the world has "cow connoisseur" on their business card.)

However, I have to say that this gentleman's cow (which won its judging) did have a straighter back than its competitors. Also, he was very adept at moving his cow around and getting it to do what he wanted. I assume that helps the judging quite a bit.

Before seeing the cows, we passed through some of the bird areas. The birds are always a lot of fun to see. There's just such a wild variety of birds. This is especially true of chickens. This year there were quite a few excellent examples, but I'll just highlight two I really liked.

Here's a proud fellow. He isn't the showiest rooster you'll find, but his solid, dark, iridescent color is striking, and his shape is just classic rooster form.

Then there is this hen. Again she has a simple feather pattern, but I find it striking and very beautiful.

Beautiful birds are cool, but apparently there is also a whole category for ugly birds. While it's nice of them to try to provide opportunities for the less endowed birds, it seems a shame we have to be so judgemental about it. Here's an example of one of the poor benighted hens entered into the ugly category.

Before you ask, apparently that is a "healthy" bird. They're bred to be that way.

Finally, there's one other thing I like about the fair: all the cute chicks you'll get to see.

Yeah. Lame pun. Well, there's nothing you can do about it except to futilely shake your fist at the monitor.

No comments: