When I heard that the state fair was hosting a draft horse pulling competition, I had a minor freak out. The last time I had the joy of witnessing such an event, I was eight years old and living in Kentucky. Ever since then, I’ve dreamed of going again, and have filled Cody’s ears with descriptions of, “They pull in perfect unison,” and “Their butt muscles are huge!” and “The noise of the clanking harness is crazy loud!”. So, 16 years later, I bounced happily through the crowds, ready to see my memories come back to life. (Also, SIXTEEN YEARS LATER?! How is that possible? Sob.)
Our fair experience started like all should: with deep-fried cookie dough.
Pro tip: When eating fried cookie dough, breathe gently. If you do by chance make a small mess, do not erupt into laughter, as it will only exacerbate the problem.
After brushing myself off, we found our seats in the grandstand, where I immediately swooned for a lovely pair of red roans.
And a team of black Percheron mares.
Cody and I had fun picking who we thought would win. My middle-weight team choice won the night with a pull of 8,500 pounds! My heavy-weight choice also won their division! (Cody’s got 2nd and 3rd, respectively, which proves his horse sense is growing!)
They had three divisions (light/medium/heavy) based upon the horse’s weight. They allowed 20 pounds over to account for shoes. At the start of the medium division, I pointed to the rail where a “heavy” set of Belgians stood, and exclaimed, “Wow, look how big they are!” Cody’s brow wrinkled, “Why aren’t they in this one?” “Cuz they are heavy.” His frown deepened, “We are not to the heavy weights, yet? Wow, this is going to last awhile…” He gets points for sitting through a lot of rounds where he struggled to tell the teams apart, while I was wide-eyed in awe at each individual horse with all their distinct (to me) differences.
After the horses filed out, we trotted after them to the unloading area. Seeing them up close was even more amazing, but I did not want to disrupt their routine, so we wandered over to the pony section to get my fuzzy-nose fix. Then, onto the calves, sheep, and goats! Ugh, furry animals are just my favorite thing in the whole world!
This little cutie was so shy at first, but after letting him sniff my hand for three minutes, he finally allowed a head scratch. (And he licked my finger! SQQQUUUEEE! Success!)
And look at these sheep, being super-cuddly best friends.
This is my goat kid friend. His little butt was so fluffy! And his horns are growing in, so his head was itching, and he kept butting up against my hand. I named him Jerome.
After the animal barns were exhausted, we made our way to the art section. I was so impressed with every entry’s creativity and talent, but here are my favorites.
That is a butter sculpture! Butter! I know it is art, but man I wished for a loaf of French Bread and I could just go to town.
Super clever, “Ant at a Picnic”
And this one made me chuckle:
We left the fair late, with the stars twinkling, and the ferris wheel lights whirring overhead. It was the perfect date to remind me that the wonder of age eight does not have to be lost at age twenty-four.