So Long at the Fair

What a week! I feel like I’ve been on vacation. I blew off almost all homestead chores and tasks last week so that I could attend the Southeast Alaska State Fair, which just celebrated its 50th year.

Every year,  We try to attend at least one day of the fair, or maybe march in the parade (see “Mud Bay Hippies” and Hair Fallout). This year, we purchased fair memberships, which get us into almost all of the year’s fair-related events free, including every day of the fair. That changed everything.

musical performer at the fair

Our friend, Nate, solos on the Klondike Stage at the SEAK Fair. Note the Xtratuff boot chafe guard for the tent pole. So quintessentially Alaskan! (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger.)

I have to admit, compared to what I’m used to, this fair is extremely small. My first memories were formed in Washington state; the Yakima County Fair coincided with my birthday, so we always attended that fair. Serving a huge population and mack dab in the middle of a large agricultural region, that fair’s size dwarfs many in the west, I assume.

The Southeast Alaska State Fair is much more humble. It has four rides, counting a giant slide off the climbing wall, but they’re venerable. We have an antique carousel, and a Ferris wheel driven by a Model A (or is it T?) motor. Our “midway” has a bell ringer, and some inflatable contest arenas, but that’s about it.

But, like all good regional fairs, we have livestock, competitions in art, produce, quilting, and more. We also have great local food. Mostly, it had live music. Freed from the need to “do it all” on the one day allowed, we took it much slower, spending a lot more time sitting listening to the music. I attended 4 of the 5 scheduled days. Michelle and Aly had to work, so they attended for less time than I did.

Entertainment included a small but amazing circus, a magician, a children’s author, two bands comprised of neighbors, a solo act by one of the Rainbow Glacier Adventures guides, and a band from Juneau led by a former attendee of Michelle’s childcare center. We also heard bands from around the country. Often, we could sit in a beer and/or wine garden to hear our favorites. And, the weather remained sunny and hot throughout. It actually felt like summer!

circus performer

A balance artist from Circo Valiente performs on the main stage (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger).

A film crew shot footage for a short video on the anniversary celebration, and occasionally a drone buzzed overhead. I’m looking forward to seeing it when it comes out!

circus performer

This artist from Circo Valiente is twirling 4 hula hoops simultaneously on the main stage (Photo: Michelle L. Zeiger).

Now, it’s over. We’ve been scrambling to catch up on homestead life. I installed that new inverter (see A New Inverter for the Cabin) Aly’s subsistence fishing with her boyfriend’s family on the river, I’m hoping to do some fishing myself, but currently hurrying to bring a tree’s worth of firewood down under cover before the rains start. We’re beginning to forage for mushrooms (see Popping Buttons) and harvest from the garden. And, I’m trying to catch up on the wine making I’ve neglected. The “vacation” is over—time to get back at it!

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