My father had a regular day job as an accountant, but on some weekends and occasional weekdays we would be out working our juggling act. His idea of a family summer vacation was to have our agent book a two week tour of Midwestern county fairs. We made money while having a lot of fun.
The fair circuit usually consisted of performing as part of a grandstand show during racing events or as a feature attraction a couple times a day. We'd park our trailer in the middle of the track with the other performers and stay a few days until it was time to move on to the next county fair.
This was great fun for me in my early teens. What could be greater than living at a county fair for a few days? We would only have to perform two or three times a day and only for a few minutes each performance. The rest of the day we were free to enjoy the fair activities.
As a courtesy, the carnival would provide the show kids unlimited ride passes. Talk about being unleashed carte blanche in the candy store. And though we always took full advantage of our ride privilege, there were so many other things to do.
One of my absolute favorites was walking through the exhibit halls, especially the commercial and public service exhibits where they would hand out free samples, pamphlets, and other advertising materials. I could always find one booth that would provide heavy plastic bags printed with advertising. Then I'd take my bag and fill it up with the freebies they were handing out at the booths. The take might include pencils, pens, buttons, rulers, and all sorts of printed materials.
Today--November 5th, the day this post goes on line--I'll be at the BlogWorld Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This event will be much like going through those county fair exhibit halls. I don't know what the freebies will be, but I'm sure I should be collecting some interesting literature, seeing some fascinating exhibits, and talking to some friendly people.
Did you attend county fairs when you were young? What are some events that you have attended for the purpose of learning or to just look around?