Normally, I love this time of year and one of the highlights of September is attending the Great Frederick Fair. This is a county agricultural fair with something for everyone. In past years I have entered baked goods, canned goods, artwork and photos for competition and a prize. It’s good to know that I can bake prize-winning bread, brownies and pickle superior green beans.
However, this year is different. With all of the changes in my schedule, I haven’t had the time or energy to make any entries. Also, the Vegetarian Adventure has given me a different gastronomic perspective because most of the food sold at the fair is animal-based. So, all of the lovely ham sandwiches, crab soup, full fat ice cream and gyros don’t call my name anymore. In fact, I’m not even tempted to go back to the meat-eating orgy that the Fair used to be for me.
So, what am I going to do at the Fair this year? Attend the Horse Pull on Friday night and eat a delicious bag of kettle popcorn. Browse through the Farm & Garden building that is full of beautiful fruits and vegetables grown in the county this summer and pick up a free apple. In this same building there is delicious local honey for sale. I always buy honey sticks for the grown 20-somethings.
If I’m upping my fat intake for the day there are fantastic apple dumplings made by the best cooks in the world, Methodist Church Ladies. And, sweet potato fries are always tasty and filling. But, I guess that’s about it as far as the food will take me.
I love to look at the healthy, well-cared for, livestock. It’s fun to watch the 4-H kids show their animals and to realize that each sheep, goat, cow and pig represent a lot of hard work to get them to this event. The auctions are bittersweet. I’m happy for the kids who get a good price for their animals but sad that the beautiful critters will end up in the freezer.
Then, there is the Household Building, where in past years I competed with the best of them. This year I’m not even interested because none of my stuff is there. That’s pretty childish, but it’s how I feel.
The free yardsticks, frisbees, key chains, erasers that look like cows, pencils, pads of paper and jar openers are all there for the picking. The kids used to love getting Fair bags full of the stuff. Only one college kid this year has requested freebies from the Fair, so I’ll wander around with my plastic bag advertising the local newspaper and collect for him.
This whole vegetarian lifestyle change has definitely changed the source of excitement caused by the Fair. It has made me realize that I did go mostly for the food and now that fried meat doesn’t look or taste good anymore and full-fat dairy is not on the menu what’s left? Just a different experience that’s all. Still fun and satisfying, with a new, healthier perspective.