Friday, August 15, 2008

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 5. no 17

The State Fair Edition
Indiana State Fair- preview day
Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Sunday before the fair the Home and Family Arts Building opens for a sneak peek for the people who entered projects in the open show. Mom and I have made it a tradition. It is always fun to see what the talented people of Indiana have created. This year I was not among the talented. For the first time since I can remember I didn’t get a ribbon. That did not dampen my excitement for the fair.

Indiana State Fair – day one
Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tammy Lieber (formerly of Tammy’s Take) and I rode our bikes to the fair grounds. We saw lots of cows, ate steak sandwiches (sorry cows) and a lap around the grounds on the tractor tram. We were disappointed that the giant colon was closed [insert your favorite joke here] when we got there. We saw lots of marching band kids wandering around, but didn’t hear any music. Food consumed: steak sandwich.

Indiana State Fair – day two
Thursday, August 7. 2008

I didn't get home from work until 8:00. I threw on jeans and jumped on my bike and was looking at rabbits and roosters by 8:15.
I love the King Tater potato chips. They spiral cut a potato with a blade attached to a drill. The whole thing is brilliant. I was lurking around the stand trying to talk myself out of ordering a plate of the greasy salty goodness. I was strong and headed to the swine barn.

I ran in to see the world's largest boar before I changed my mind. I was chatting with a guy front of Harley (1121 pounds). The conversation was going well until the guy started talking about the pig's, um, Rocky Mountain oysters. I fled.
I was looking forward to the Indiana's Got Game display. There are some cool artifacts and displays. I got to compare my footprint to Rik Smits’.
I heard a bit of Jessica Simpson’s show as I walked by. “These Boots are Make For Walking” is still stuck in my head.

I walked through the midway on the way home. It was a gorgeous night.

Indiana State Fair – day three
Friday, August 8, 2008

My friend Scott and I walked to the fair from my house. I live a little over a mile from the fairgrounds. I love that our state fair is in midtown Indianapolis.
Pioneer Village is my favorite corner of the fair. The building houses a log cabin, quilters, wood carvers, candle makers, old farm equipment and music.
We saw the Boone County bluegrass band, Cornfields and Crossroads. They were excellent.

The village has hundreds of old tractors, a working threshing ring, lumber mill, grist mill and syrup making.

We stopped by to visit Harley, the World's Largest Boar (1121 pounds). This is the first time in my 40-ish years of attending the fair that I've ever seen the largest boar standing up.

Tonight's dinner: I revisited the ribeye sandwich.

We walked through the Hooks Pharmacy Museum. I love looking at old bottles, looking at the postcards of vintage fair photographs and admiring the beautiful wood cases.
The last time Scott and I went to the fair I took a spin on the Ferris Wheel. Which might be the last time I'll ever be on one. When I was young, Dad and I rode the Ferris Wheel at the county fair, I was so panicked and screamed so loud that Dad convince the guy running the ride to stop and let us off after one revolution. I convince myself to try it again every decade or so and it doesn't get any better, except that I've learned to suck it up and not scream.

I was fun to hear a little bit of Carrie Underwood's set as we walked and see the grandstand full of her fans. She sounded great.

We took another lap around the grounds and walked home on the trail. Another great day at the fair.

Indiana State Fair – day four
Saturday, August 9, 2008

I made a quick solo trip to the fair between working at Second Helpings and my Red Key shift. I walked through the FFA country store. The store is full of Indiana made products. I love poking around there. I bought some Ball Jar products and my very favorite caramels.

I got to see the end of the fiddle contest, I’m sorry that I didn’t get to see more of it. There are some talented folks out there – adults and kids.
I got to examine the new covered bridge a little closer. It is a great addition to the grounds.

The sky looked like it might rain, but it never did. So far the fair weather has been perfect.

Today’s fair food: Grilled cheese sandwich from the Dairy Barn. They have a sandwich this year. It sure was Gouda!

Indiana State Fair – day five
Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dad and I started our day by looking at 4-H projects. Great job 4-H’rs!
It was General Motors day at the fair. We looked at every single GM product, I’m really attracted to the HHR.

Our next stop was the Home and Family Arts Building. We looked at the antiques, art and baking.

Finally food! We went with the old favorite - steak sandwiches. I tried not to notice the cows behind me as I ate my lunch.

Our next stop was the Agriculture and Horticulture Building. Dad and I have our favorite things to look at. Dad: beekeepers and honey. Nora: brewmasters competition. Is it bad that I know so many beer makers?

We checked out the cheese carving. This year's giant cheese sculpture is of the new covered bridge. The woman carving the cheese was telling the crowd how she came to be a cheese sculpture. She left her corporate marketing job to travel the country carving cheese. Just as I was thinking 'wow, how cool, I would love to do that,' I overheard a twenty-something woman say, "What is wrong that that woman, who would ever want to do that?"

Suspiciously close to the cheese bridge was the cockroach racetrack. I skipped the opportunity to pet the bug. I did have a nice chat with Professor Tom Turpin. He's the entomology expert at Purdue.

We arrived at Pioneer Village just in time to see the log sawing demonstration. It involves steam, belts and sweat.

Dad and I got separated while we were in the Pioneer Village building. I wasn't too worried. I wandered around chatting and looking at old farm equipment. I heard music and when I popped around the corner I saw that my friend, Robin Harrison and the band Witch Hazel Valley People were playing.

Robin announced over his microphone "ladies and gentleman, it's Nora Spitznogle, the one...the only...Nora Spitznogle!" There is something about my name that inspires musicians to say it through a PA. I'm guessing it might be the laugh it produces. A few minutes later dad ran up to the stage, shook Robin's hand and thanked him for finding his lost daughter. Too bad the band was mid-song when it happened. Dad is so charming that every one laughed and it was fine.

We were watching the tractor parade line up when we spied a tractor pulling a trailer with benches. We grinned and ran to catch up. Dad asked the driver if we could hitch a ride and next thing you know we were in the parade. Wooo Hoooo!
The fair was so crowded with the record attendance that it took a while to clear the path for the parade. While everything was at a stand still, farmers jumped off of their tractors and gathered to chat. One wound up in with us. It was fun to hear all about his John Deere A series tractor.

I had a blast and giggled the whole way. We waved our hands off. Dad said that his feet hurt when he got on the trailer and his arm hurt when we got off. Thanks to Johnson County Swartz Farms in Stones Crossing, Greenwood for making my dream of being in the State Fair parade come true.

All of that sitting made us hungry. Dad opted for the beef sundae -I'm not kidding. It was roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn, gravy and a cherry tomato. I had a pork chop sandwich - who thought that would be the sensible choice? 

We stopped in the Depart of Natural Resources Building to look at fish. Dad wanted to know how old you need to be before you didn't need a fishing license. I didn't know that Dad was a fisherman, but for the record, if you're born before 1943 you don't need one - in Indiana anyway. Also for the record, Dad does not need one.
Our last stop -Goat Mountain – cute young frolicking goats. We finally had enough fair - nine hours of fun was too much even for me.

Indiana State Fair – day six
Monday, August 11, 2008

I know some of you think I'm nuts for going to the state fair so often, but I have a totally different experience each time I go. And it is practically in our backyard.
I left work early and rode my bike to the fair grounds. I met my friend Kristi and her daughters. They had been there long enough for one daughter to have a blister. I inexplicably had a Barbie Band-Aid in my bag so she was soon back in business.
We visited cows and hung out hoping to see some milking, but no luck. We walked around the fairgrounds in search of a soft pretzel. Those kids are so healthy - for a snack they had popcorn and the pretzel. I need to hang around them more often!
We visited the DNR building and looked at the fish. We didn't have time to fish in the new pond behind the building. The girls had a school ice-cream social to attend. They were excited to meet their teachers. Who are these alien kids? Healthy snacks, like to see farm animals and fish and look forward to school? I heard one of the girls tell her mom: I miss school,I haven't been there for months!

I walked them to their gate and went to meet my friend Kevin who was just arriving. We walked over to the Home and Family Arts building to meet up with sister Beth and her husband Ron. We checked out the antiques and the Ugly Lamp contest. Even my ugly lamp didn't get a ribbon this year. I have to admit, it looked more sad than ugly.
It was finally time – today was King Tater day. They were delicious.

Kevin and I spent a lot of time in Pioneer Village. We had a chance to chat with Dick Reel. Dick is a woodworker and carver. He has worked at on the fairgrounds since he was fourteen. He had some great stories about working at the Grandstand and taking tickets. He’s been part of Pioneer Village for the last thirteen years. He makes a bench each year for the end of the fair auction. Check out this year’s version- he wood burned a drawing of the new covered bridge on it.

Stay tuned for more Indiana State Fair coverage in the next issue.

The Ramblers (NYC)
Monday, August 25, 2008
9 pm, 21 and over

I’m so excited that the folks at Birdy’s were able to squeeze this show on their calendar. I’ve been anxious to see them live. I’m a big fan of Jeremiah Birnbaum and John Embree and they have formed a band, The Ramblers. I love what I’ve heard so far – a blend of rock, soul and Americana.
I’m sorry that I don’t have more details – The opening musician was being confirmed at press time. What I do know for sure: I’ll be there!

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