Sunday, February 17, 2008

Florida State Fair

The view from the ferris wheel.

Saturday afternoon I went to the Florida State Fair with my buddy Jerry and his daughter Brandy. We had tried to go to the fair Sunday afternoon a week ago, but the fairgrounds were packed to the gills. The front parking entrance was closed, and people were parking outside the gate all the way down Hwy. 301. We took it as a sign to try another day. This time we got in easily and even got free parking.

Walking the midway.

Brandy and Jerry wanted to go to the midway, so we headed that direction first. Brandy kept trying to get me on these crazy rides, but that wasn't about to happen. I did agree, however, to ride the giant ferris wheel.

Brandy at the top.

Jerry and I hold on for dear life.
That's I-4 in the background.

Brandy trying to coerce me to ride the Dream Catcher.

Brandy and Jerry on the Dream Catcher.
Sorry, Brandy, somebody had to stay on the ground to take the picture!

We finally left the midway . . . whew! . . . and hit the fair food. After grabbing a couple of corn dogs and a sausage sandwich, we headed across the fairgrounds to my favorite spot . . . Cracker Country! Cracker Country is bigger and better than ever. They have a depot, a barn, a garden, a couple of general stores, a church, a schoolhouse, a smokehouse, an outhouse, and some loud live irritating bluegrass music. This Florida pioneer village is just like Little House on the Prairie. I would love to have lived back then . . . at least for a day!

Entering Cracker Country.

Behind the Carlton house.

Resting at a picnic table by the outhouse. How appropriate!

A funny thing happened while we were sitting at the picnic table. To the right was the back of the schoolhouse, and a man was sitting on a wooden box behind it. The box was a cover for an air conditioner or generator or something electrical. All of a sudden, it cut on with a loud grinding sound. That man shot off the top of the box like a rocket! I could tell he was hoping no one saw, but then he looked at me and saw me laughing, and like a good sport he laughed too. I would love to have caught that scene on video.

Brandy finally found something I would ride.

Before heading home, all three of us rode the giant slide. I could have sat at the bottom and entertained myself all day people-watching. Just as we started climbing the stairs, a rather large lady with a child on her lap came whipping down the slide. The surface was so slick it spun her around, and they went flying to the bottom backwards. It was hilarious! I'm sure the three of us entertained the spectators, too. I know at one point I went airborne! All-in-all we had a great afternoon at the fair.