French Fries, Dough Boys, and Cotton Candy

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It felt like fall as we walked from the car to the gate of the Bangor State Fair, but the wall of sights, sounds and smells that hit us on entry immediately took our mind off the slight chill in the air. I always look forward to the last week of July when the fair comes to Bangor, though truth be told for me it is more about the picnic table of artery clogging delights that you can’t get anywhere else but here. Delicious and irresistible… yes… between the four of us we did eat just about one of everything available!

We all rode on the Ferris Wheel together for the first time. Jack had always been too little – or maybe it was my fear of heights – but either way, we eagerly climbed on board and held on tight as we were winched high above the crowds. As the sun got lower in the sky it bathed what was a rainbow-colored scene below us in a magical warm glow, and Jack took advantage of the unique view to survey the scene and look for our house off in the distance. When dangling 200 feet up in the air in a swinging metal bucket, combining the mouthwatering smells of traditional fair food with the shrieks of delight from thrill seeking teenagers on rides below provides an assault to the senses the likes of which can’t be found anywhere else.

Probably for the last time – since Jack is getting so grown up now – we did the Crazy Bus ride, likely the exact same one that Sam first rode many years ago. Jack and Lori rode the giant slide, while Sam and I enjoyed another round of exceptionally tasty – just like my mother made – salt and vinegar covered hand cut fries. The cotton candy was as sweet and gooey as always, and it’s hard to beat a right-out-of-the-fryer doughboy that has been dusted (heavily) with brown and white sugar… classic Americana.

Lori and Sam wandered over to check out the local farm animals while Jack and I marveled at the alligator-wrestling, Steve Irwin-type showman who gave us an up-close education about a critter that we don’t normally see around these parts. Even though my legendary streak of winning an oversized cuddly animal at the water gun game was inexplicably snapped this year, nothing could dampen our spirits on this evening as we all agreed that time spent together at the state fair is hard to beat.

This was probably the latest we have ever stayed into the evening at the fair, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere as the night closed in. The rides lit up with intense and spectacular colors, the crowd seemed to swell to double the size, and the thump, thump, thump of the music designed to attract young people to each ride seemed to get louder and louder. As we reluctantly started to think about heading home, we looked around to make sure there wasn’t anything we had missed. Hmmm… sausage and peppers… don’t think we had one of those yet :)