I admit it. I have become a county fair junky. For me the annual County Fair is something like the public library. The fair, just like the library, has something for everyone. The Fair, just like the library, is a place to discover something new. The Fair, just like the library, is entirely democratic. The Fair, like the library, can be a little messy, a little noisy, and a great deal of fun.
Why Bother Attending?
Maybe you think of the county fair as a place to admire the largest zucchini or watch pig races. If you do, you won’t be wrong. But for me, the fair is a lot more than that.
Sure, I like a pig race as much as the next gal, and I am agog at the gardening skills of some of my neighbors, but I love the democratic ideals of a county fair. I am never going to be famous for my cooking or my painting or my woodworking, but I can pay a small entry fee and my watercolor landscape will be hung in a gallery for ten full days to be admired by my neighbors. What could be more democratic than that?
For me the County Fair is a place to get inspired. I can walk through the quilt exhibit and plan my next project. I can look at the display of collections and get ideas for how to organize all those theatre ticket stubs I have stuffed in the back of a desk drawer.
I can learn what smocking is and get ideas for decorating my daughter’s next birthday cake. Because we live on the Peninsula, the San Mateo County Fair also includes plenty of new technology. I can build the best solar oven or enter my podcast. Maybe I should learn how to make a podcast and impress my teenagers. Heck, if I follow through on just one of these ideas, I’ll feel like I have a successful year!
After Your Visit, Check Out These Library Materials
The San Mateo County Fair closed on June 20, but there is still time to enjoy other fairs!
Check out some of our library books to get ready for next year’s contests. Want to win that Best of Show ribbon for having the best compost? Check out Compost Specialist. Inspired to learn jam making? Borrow Blue Ribbon Preserves. Want to organize your own collections? Try At Home with Pictures: Arranging and Displaying Photos, Artwork and Collections. Maybe you are ready to try your hand at some beautiful cupcakes so you’ll be ready to enter the annual cupcake competition. What’s New Cupcake should give you a place to start. I don’t know which exhibits will inspire you, but no matter what strikes your fancy, the library will support your new interest.
See you in the exhibit halls. And next year, maybe your pickles will be on that shelf next to mine.
MK is a children's librarian, reviewer for The Horn Book, Inc. and has served on several national children's book award committees including the ALA Notable Books Committee, the Caldecott Award Committee and the Carnegie Medal committee.