After the Fair

I’m exhausted.

The fair ended on Sunday with a whimper. Well, a thunderstorm and then a whimper.

After spending at least 12 hours a day since September 3rd working on it and on my feet for pretty much the entire time, a thunderstorm at Sunday noontime washed it out.

All of the vendors fled at the storm. No food or other vendors were left at all. My daughter volunteered her time to sell fair T-Shirts. When the storm hit she was under a canopy in the vendor area while I was in the exhibits tent. While I was scrambling with the rest of the volunteers to rescue exhibits from the flood of water cascading into the tent on all sides, I worried about my daughter in an open sided canopy with the rain drumming down.

I texted her. “Are you OK?”

She replied. “Yeah. The funnel cake people are leaving.”

What could I say? “OK.”

As soon as the rain let up a little, I grabbed a cart and ran to her spot. She was huddled in the middle of the canopy’s area, box of T-Shirts on the table beside her. As far out of the rain and rain splash as she could get, she was playing a game on her phone, feet propped up on the second chair out of the stream of water flowing through her area. I grabbed the box and put it on the cart, draping a borrowed rain jacket over the T-shirts. She headed for her car and I pushed the T-shirt box back to the exhibits tent. What a great daughter.

Also, major kudos to the volunteers. No one gave up. We stayed the rest of the afternoon. Wonders! We still had fair goers! They came, a couple at a time all afternoon between showers. How marvelous. Undeterred by a little precipitation, they came out to see the Zane Grey Award winning miniature garden, the prize winning photographs and my favorite, a junior entry collection of miniature cat figurines. The young girl who brought it in had put the collection in a bird cage with miniature birds perched on the outside of the cage. I couldn’t resist the humor of the entry.

This is what a county fair is all about. It showcase’s the tremendous amount of talent in the area. The fair is also, well, a repository, or an homage to the skills needed to support ourselves through life. Skills in feeding ourselves by crop raising, gardening, cooking, canning, and baking. Skills in clothing ourselves or in making necessities with such skills as sewing, quilting, wood working, or using cast offs to make new items are demonstrated. Then there’s the art. Really! So many artistic people submit entries!

You might have intuited by now that I love the fair. I cannot tell you how many people came through the exhibits and exclaimed, “I never thought of doing that!” This is exactly what the fair is meant to do. It spreads ideas on new ways of doing things. Attendees search out new varieties of plants. (New this year in the gardening section was Bitter Melon. It created quite a stir.) There are of course the bragging rights. My jam is the best. My cake was the lightest. My photograph was the best. I’m growing the newest variety of tomato.

Monetarily the exhibitor doesn’t make any money. Even if the jam maker gets a blue ribbon, she’s spent more money on the jam than she gets back in prize money.  But that’s not the point. The point is to share. That’s why many times an entry requires an explanation or a recipe. Prize winners will stand by their entry and tell others how they grew the plant, techniques they used to take the photo, equipment and skills they used to make the rocking horse. And we haven’t even touched on the livestock area of the fair!

The fair is about expanding the knowledge base of the local community. It’s about widening the expertise of the population. The Northern Gila County Fair is scheduled for the first weekend of September every year. When is your county fair? What skill can you share with your community? Visit your fair. You’ll be amazed at what you will find and every year is different.

Just a reminder, my latest book, Recall, is on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Recall-Connie-Cockrell/dp/1484886224/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375657368&sr=1-2

Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour: Communities

Communities are all around us. We live in a set of communities, our family, our neighborhood, our job. These communities define our daily, physical lives. They form the framework for how we move about, how we spend our time, and even how we feel about ourselves.

Other communities are less obvious, a little less physical. There’s the community of books. I joined that community when I was in the third grade. I remember reading everything on the shelves of my classroom library. When I was twelve, I discovered the school library. I read and read and read. That community shaped my thoughts, my ideas about what the world was like outside of my home and immediate family. It allowed me to think that there was more to life than going to work and coming home to the drudgery of kids and housework.

As an adult and a writer, I have the on-line writer communities to help me learn, to socialize in, to commiserate with. I belong to two and they help me in ways that have rocketed me from my initial foray into writing to being confident enough to self-publish and to submit my stories to contests and magazines and even a couple of anthologies.

My first community is the Forward Motion group. I am so glad I followed JA Marlow’s suggestion to visit that site. It’s a goldmine of information and support. The second group is less formally organized, a Facebook group of writers helping each other, giving moral support. Both groups are scattered over the entire planet. Really, how cool is that! And unlike the old days, when writers seldom had other writers to talk to, or when they did, they corresponded by letter, we now have instant access to fellow writers.

I love being able to get on-line when I’m stuck on a grammar issue, and getting an instant answer. It’s wonderful to share a snippet of my current writing and get instant feedback on how the piece reads or sounds.

How about you? What communities are you involved in?

The Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour is sponsored by the website Forward Motion (http://www.fmwriters.com). The tour is you, the reader, travelling the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. There are all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s always something new and different to enjoy. If you want to get to know the nearly thirty other writers check out the rest of the tour at http://merrygoroundtour.blogspot.com!  Up next: Jean Schara!

It’s Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas to everyone.

A short blog today as anyone who celebrates Christmas is busy putting the final touches on their holiday festivities.

I’m wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year! May your health be tip top, your finances solid and your family close.  May your wishes all come true.

Happy writing and reading.

After the Fair

Starting on September 4th, I was fully engaged in the Northern Gila County Fair.  Luckily I wore my hiking boots because I’m pretty sure I put in many miles each day from the 4th until the 9th, walking, walking, walking.  

This was my first year as the VP Exhibits Tent.  Whew,  It’s like putting on a party for several thousand people and it’s a lot of work.  Most notable, I learned how to use and fuss with, swamp coolers.  Getting the water hooked up, getting the 3 coolers to work, learning how to keep them from flooding all over the tent floor, lots of fun!

The weather was wet and rainy the first day of the fair.  It was like being at the fair in Fulton-Montgomery County (the Fonda Fair!) in upstate New York.  Almost made me homesick.  Despite the rain, approximately 1200 elementary school kids came charging through the fair grounds, teachers gamely trying to keep their little charges in line and not touching the displays.  

Best of all, I finally had time to get to know the various Superintendents of each department.  Hobbies and Handicrafts, Canning, Baking, Fine Arts, Home Arts, Photography, Horticulture, Agriculture, Floriculture and unique to this state, the School Exhibits.  Such nice people and all of them wanting to make their Department’s exhibits the best they can be.  

We talked all weekend about our selves, our families, and most of all, how to make next year’s fair even better.  

I’m looking forward to working with them again!