Two weekends ago, Cory and I spent a couple of hours at the Benton County Fair. After dinner on Saturday we rode our bikes through campus and out what I guess is technically Campus Way, but is really a bike path past campus, not a street like it is through campus. Anyway, we rode out Campus Way, over the covered bridge, and parked in the crowded bike parking at the fairgrounds.
First, we walked around and looked at the livestock. That's my favorite part. There was an auction going on, so we stood and watched people move their swine through the little gates as they stood in line (for those who don't go to these things: to keep the piggies separate, there's a line of little cages with gates on each side, and as one person gets on "stage" at the auction he leaves his cage, which the next person/swine move to as soon as the gate closes, and everyone else follows one by one.) There were sheep and goats penned in that area as well.
It was loud in there, with the auctioneer at one end and the pigs squealing here and there and the sheep baa-ing. I petted a lot of bovidae noses on my way through.
We also walked around the horse and pony stalls, and through the small animal/fowl room.
Next we decided it was time for fair food. A couple of years ago when we were there we tried a deep-fried Twinkie. It wasn't horrible, but we weren't in the mood, so instead we got a funnel cake, which Cory had never had before. As we walked around trying to decide what we wanted, though, we watched some of the little kids riding little rides. The frog-jumper one was the cutest (the set of seats goes up and down, and is two stories tall or so): the thin little baby squeals that we heard every time the kids were dropped down a few feet were adorable. We settled on the grass behind the reserved area in front of the bandstand and waited for Johnny Limbo & the Lugnuts (a Portland-based oldies cover band) to start their second set while we ate and listened to girls singing karaoke behind us a ways.
As it got dark, we watched a couple of songs by JL&tL and were approached by a fair dude, who offered to let us up to the reserved area. It was a good deal, as tickets were $20 if you paid for them, but it was getting dark so we thought it'd be better to ride home. We made a pit stop at the big-kid rides first, though. When the sun goes down, the teenagers come out to play. :) The lines were full of girls in little tank tops, freezing because the temperature plummeted as soon as it got dark, and their boyfriends standing behind them holding onto their waists. And wannabe gang-bangers with their basketball jerseys and gold chains and backwards-hats giving each other secret handshakes. Heh. (Writing that just now made me feel old!) We hadn't planned on riding anything, but we did take a few snaps of the rides.
The ferris wheel was so pretty in the deep blue sky that I just stood and looked at it for awhile, but we didn't get any good pictures of it.
Then we unlocked our bikes and headed home the way we came. The path goes between 35th and 53rd streets, in-between the sheep barns and some other livestock areas that belong to the university, and big empty fields. It's a nice quiet path that of course has no streetlights, so it was a little difficult to see where I was going in the pitch dark. The police lights on the path didn't help much either, once we got a little closer to the end of the path. When we got to the cars, we found a guy, handcuffed, sitting on the path surrounded by cops and three cars, his bike lying off to the side. One of the cops was looking through his bag and the handcuffed guy was berating him, saying something about how they'd looked through his bag three times and still couldn't find what they were looking for. We walked our bikes through the grass on the side of the path to get around the cars; nobody looked up at us. Cory said later he'd heard them say something about a gun.
So after that surreal experience, we continued on through campus. It was around 10pm, and in the summertime campus is deserted, so we rode side-by-side for awhile, and stopped at the back edge of the Memorial Union Quad, where A Midsummer Night's Dream was being put on on the MU steps. It made me sad that we didn't pay to watch it - it was really pretty. Maybe next year - they do Bard in the Quad every summer.
And then we were home. It was a great way to spend a summer evening.