It's something I can still remember to this day... the carnival.  I loved the rides, the games and the smells.  Whether it's just a burger cooking over the coals, or something being deep fried, I was in love with carnivals and fairs.

This boy could care less that the motorcycles never go more than 2 MPH. He's as happy as he'd be flying in the space shuttle. Photo by Jamie Garrett

Then I got into radio, and the fair has been work ever since.  I went through a span of about ten years without trying a single corn dog or (somewhat) completely safe carnival ride.  The only time I was at the fair was if I was working at the fair.  Something completely changed my disdain for the fair in late 2003.  The Alaska State Fair's giant vegetables are credited with the resurgence of my love for all things fair-related.

I don't know what it was about seeing those 1,000 lb pumpkins , but I was mesmerized by the size of pie that could be made from such a pumpkin.  OK, maybe too much credit is going to the pumpkin.  More than anything else, it was the first time since I was a junior in high school that I had gone to a fair or carnival for any reason other than working there with a radio station.  The weather also helped.  There's something about the dizzying array of smells, sounds and sights of a fair combined with triple digit heat  that don't mix well.  August temps in the 60s made for a day that could actually be enjoyed.  Fairs are meant to be attended while wearing a light jacket once the sun goes down.

This is the same sight that will haunt me in five years when he's driving the real deal. God help us all. Photo by Jamie Garrett.


No work responsibilities, combined with the giant vegetables, the smell of fair food and the cool temperatures rekindled my love for the fair atmosphere.  Since returning from Alaska in 2004 we've enjoyed the Central Texas State Fair all but one or two years when we happened to be out of town.  I won't be caught there before sundown, but once the sun falls below the horizon you can almost pretend you're not suffering from heat stroke, and instead that frigid feeling is just autumn setting in.

This year's fair was a fun ordeal.  I say "ordeal" because nothing involving me, my wife and my two boys is ever anything less.  There's one boy pouting because I won't take him on the big boy rides, and there's another boy that can't be held back from anything thanks to the sugar buzz and the over-stimulation from all the sights and sounds.

I had a great time Sunday night.  My only question is, what's up with all the electronic cigarettes?  Every line I found myself in I was surrounded by people toking away on electronic cigarettes.  I saw a guy in his seat for the PBR that was puffing away.  Is that legal?  I'm not being Captain Buzzkill here, but it really makes me wonder how death vapor is any different from death smoke.