Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why I Hate You, Iowa State Fair

I am not one of those people that can spend all day, every day at the fair. I went three times this year (a record for me) and although I had fun each day and there were always more things that I wanted to do...I still can't understand how someone would want to do that for a week. The fair tires me out and pisses me off in equal measures to it entertaining and thrilling me. So here is what I hate about the fair:

It's way too expensive - this year I was on a very tight budget, so although I usually don't mind splurging a little...this year every posted price seemed like a twist of the knife in my gut. Seriously? $3 to ride the teacup type rides for a minute? $6 for the Ferris wheel? It is a Ferris wheel. That makes the giant slide look like a bargain at $2.50 (PS - I love the giant slide). $3 each way for the Skyglider that only takes you a quarter of the way across the fairgrounds. $4 for a corn dog (except at that one stand in the midway where they were only a dollar...which made me a little suspicious but hunger won out...and I was able to feed me, the GF-unit, and the Kinda-Kid* for $5), $4 for a soda - refills only $3! Okay refill prices varied but still you are literally spending 4 cents on materials, plus 6 cents labor - 3000% markup seems reasonable. Thank god that I got free admission tickets from work or we wouldn't have been able to do any of those things! Still cheaper than Ribfest!

Rude People - I know it is packed and it sucks waiting in line but what makes you think that you can cut right in front of me to see the baby pigs? If you had asked, I might have let you in but no you had to shove your way past and then act all indignant when I mention that the end of the line is about 5 minutes back. Unfortunately, this seemed to happen in just about every line I stood in - entrance, food, drink, viewing, rides, etc... the whole fair experience would be much better if certain people could understand the concept of a line (and the lines themselves would probably move faster too).

Butter Sculptures - Admittedly, I am always a little impressed at how intricacies of the butter cow sculpture. But that is where I draw the line. I do not need butter Harry Potters or butter portraits of whoever is hot at the moment. I don't think the fair needs to cater to all the latest trends. For me, the butter Shawn Johnson was the tipping point this year. A) it seemed rushed and it looked crappy - yes better than I could do, but not up to my butter sculpting standards - I definitely did not want to fuck the butter Johnson like Larry commented on CT's blog, B) it seemed too contrived, and C) where is butter Lolo Jones - she is an Iowan Olympian this year, is she not. Anyhow, let's stick with the buttercow and drop all the rest...it's too much butter and takes away the uniqueness of the cow.

Seriously look at this weak shit.

The Varied Industry Building - you know the building where all these companies set up booths and try to sell you products or even worse hand out free crap? To me, this building and the sweaty gross people scrambling to get free pencils or a sample of vinyl siding is a special kind of hell. It makes my skin crawl and I want to find the nearest exit if I have been in there longer than 5 minutes.

"Souvenir" Shops - Okay, there are a couple official Iowa State Fair souvenir shops that I don't mind. You know the ones that actually sell stuff that says "Iowa State Fair 2008" on it...I'm not sure why you would want a t-shirt that says that but hey I understand that to be a souvenir and people other than myself would be interested. The "Souvenir" shops that I hate are the ones that just sell cheap plastic crap. Plastic swords, inflatable Spongebobs, toy guns, light up necklaces, etc... CRAP. All of it is crap and I can guarantee it will be broken before you get out the gate of the fairgrounds. How is any of this stuff a souvenir - there is nothing to connect it to the fair besides the outrages prices. And why does there have to be one of these crap shops every 20 feet? They have to make a ton of cash on weak willed people. While sitting on a bench taking a break, one crap-merchant went about hard selling the Kinda-Kid telling him that he had to have this toy gun to remember his visit to the fair...oh and what a great deal, she was going to cut the price in half...she wouldn't even be making a profit! I mean it is a $40 gun and I could buy it for the Kinda-Kid for only $20! Yay! First of all, it was a toy gun...he already has tons or those. Secondly, it lit up and made noise...not really something I want to encourage when he can't sit still as it is. And Finally, maybe...just maybe if you hadn't picked the most expensive thing in your crap-shack to try to hard sell, maybe I would have been more willing to listen. So when I say no the Kinda-Kid starts crying because she convinced him that he needed this gun as a souvenir - she was way worse than any Carnie that we had run into in the midway. Thanks lady, you just turned a wonderful night I had with the Kinda-Kid where we saw exotic animals, watched a rock show, rode some rides, and had good food into "The night I wouldn't buy him a souvenir." That's the memory I wanted him to have. Crap-Seller - you have no idea how bad I wanted to punch you in the face.

Only 357 days till the next fair! I can't wait to see the Big Pig's Testicles!

*Kinda-Kid: is a term I coined a few years ago when my brother was dating a girl with a child. I got tired of explaining "My Brother's Girlfriend's Kid"...so Kinda-Kid was born because it was "kinda his kid, but not really."

1 comment:

Dixon said...

It would be worth cropping that picture to zoom in on the little kid staring in awe at that basketball-sized hognut. I'd be caught doing the same thing.

Does it get caught sleeping on it? Does it fall asleep? Does it get all tingly after he's gotten up from sleeping on it? Does the sheer weight of his body do damage to it when he's sleeping on it? How does he not step on his sack?

These are the kind of thoughts that kept me out of the really good schools.