Celebrating Farm Life
Agricultural fairs are the celebratory culmination of the farm life. Beyond the flash and glare of the midway, lovelier than the sparkling tiara of the fair queen—are the creatures featured at every country fair. Trucked in from regional farms to temporary stalls and cages, the animals adapt to the zany energy of midway barkers, amplified music, sizzling sausage and peppers and wide peering eyes as we stare at their lives, sometimes sneaking a stroke of feathery angora or lightly thumping the warm leathery neck of a beautiful barn beast. Massive draft horses heave and strain in a breath-stealing show of force.
Recently birthed calves curl in swirls of hay. Baby rabbits nestle against their mothers. Goats nibble any passing strap, while Betty the pig snoozes the afternoon away. The local library sells strawberry shortcake and politicians cruise the crowd for converts. The 4-H kids make pies and put them up for auction. Emily perches on the top rail of her horse’s stall, beaming at the colorful ribbons they have won together. “Do you have a horse?” she asks me. I tell her no, remembering my fierce childhood desire to own one. She smiles and nods, like she knows how lucky she is.