Monday, February 15, 2010

The Florida State Fair Sideshow

The Florida State Fair always has plenty of what I never do: Rides of all types and descriptions.

Each one makes me queasy if I watch it long enough. There's the fun house, the tilt-a-whirl, the loopty-loop, the ferris wheel, and of course there are always those rides that make you wonder how many people die on them every year.

But I took my daughter to the fair this weekend and although we usually only eat as much junk as we possibly can, then check out the exhibits and the livestock, she wanted to go to the sideshow this time.

It looks most impressive, doesn't it? My daughter, Bugs, was impressed despite the bored looking Jamaican who wordlessly held out his hand for the $2 per person entry fee.

Needless to say, she was quite disappointed when she got inside. The pictures on the outside are hardly what you can find inside, and most of what can be found inside are poorly constructed models of what the "artist" thought something might look like if it was a third grade science project.

The "tortoise" was not a tortoise, but a giant snapping turtle who looked as bored as his keeper. I rather suspect the "live scorpion" had been dead for some time, and the siamese pigs (joined at the head) were sprouting wigs made of white mold, where the formaldehyde had recessed enough to allow the growth of something that probably posed a health hazard which could make a wonderful bio-weapon if placed in the right hands.

The "giant snake eating frog" was real, but had been dead for at least 20 years: At least as long as his "victim", a snake that had obviously been rigged into the frog's mouth post mortem.

The "elephant nose pig" was merely a pig fetus, the "little people of Borneo" were ill-constructed dolls, and there were more mutant creatures swimming in formaldehyde than I'd care to recount.

I wonder if the health department ever bothers to check out the sideshow exhibits? I rather hope not, or their standards may be low enough that I'll need to rethink the greasy pizza, egg rolls, cotton candy, funnel cakes, and sausage that we all sampled.

Come to think of it, I probably should rethink that anyway.


Angela said...

Although I have always been mildly curious about the sideshows, you have sufficiently convinced me to never bother visit one.

I usually only go to the fair for two reasons, to see the animals and for the food, the latter of which I am quite tame on my choices.

However, oddly enough I miss the Fair back home in VT, it is in my opinion very well done, all of the animals on display are from local farms, (not animals that live in cages and travel with the fair). The food is generally supplied by booths setup by local restaurants.

I have been to the Texas State Fair in Dallas and the Coastal Carolina Fair here in SC, the Champlain Valley Fair takes the funnel cake. :-)

Ed said...

And I thought the Iowa State Fairs was the king of all fairs but as far as I know, we don't have a sideshow at all. Once upon a time there was a sideshow also referred to as the strippers tent but they got rid of it a long time ago when the fair became more "family" oriented.

Fred said...

The only thing I know about is that I get a day off for "Fair Day." Yet, the district doesn't recognize President's Day.