Salem, OR – Oregon State Fair

One thing that always annoys me is when people are late for something that they have had considerable notice for. Example, you have a business appointment that you have set a month or more out, and confirmed several times, and your appointment arrives late. I realize this is a flaw in my thought process. I’ve just always thought when you have 3 days, a week, a month to prepare for something, you could get it right.

Today was the opening of the Oregon State Fair. I went for two reasons, one was to sample fair food, of course, but the other was a curiosity about what kind of people feel compelled to show up for the opening moments of special events like this? I was looking for some commonality in the crowd, but found none. Maybe they were just eager to be fair goers. Whatever.

At the main gate, awaiting the witching hour of 10AM,  several hundred people stood in line.    Beyond the gate, one could see a golf cart come by and drop off one person.   It was five minutes before 10, and a couple other potential employees wandered by.

10AM and nada.   A murmur runs through the crowd.  “Typical of anything run by the State.”

Now keep in mind what I said above about being late.    These people have had an ENTIRE YEAR to prepare for this moment.

A couple more golf carts arrive from outside of the gate, with more employees.    The gate is locked and there seems to be some confusion about how to unlock it.   10:10.    A “supervisor” comes by with a key to the padlock.   They get it unlocked, but can only get the gate open one foot, and the employees go in.  10:17.

Another “supervisor” struggles with the gate, and walks through the crowd saying that the gate on the other side of the fair is open and working, and if people want to walk around there (about a half a mile), they could get in immediately.    The crowd around me, parents with small children, the elderly on motorized scooters, contemplates this out loud, and few take ‘advantage.’

The windows on the box offices open and the employees are ready  (10:23), but the gate still cannot be opened.  Much conferring via Nextel withs someone else, somewhere else.    Finally, 30 minutes after the appointed time, the main gate of the Oregon State Fair is open (man, I have to pee!), and the Fair is officially “on!”

Oregon, and particulary Portland, are big into “sustainable” and “local”, especially when it comes to food.  What’s the new word?  Oh, yeah, “locavore.”     People who specifically try and eat foods from nearby.

I figured such would be the case at the State Fair, especially since such events are so ag-oriented, that there would be an abundance of interesting treats from small farmers.

Such was not the case, unfortunately.    The great majority of the concessions appeared to either be run by, or contracted out to, the ride concession contractor, so mostly what was on offer was carny food:  burgers, hot dogs, elephant ears, churros, fry bread, turkey legs, the usual.

You would think that since I am BurgerDogBoy this would make me happy, but it’s not what I wanted or expected.  Believe it or not, the only thing I consumed at the Fair was one bottle of water @ $3.00.

Below is a pic of a carny food trailer, and following it the price list.

Perhaps another reason I didn’t imbibe.  I have a hard enough time paying $10 for a burger in some chi-chi place in downtown Portland.  I ain’t gonna do it at a carnival!

But the day turned out great, as evidenced by my two previous posts.

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