Many of you have heard me speak of the meal that I would wish to eat if I knew that it would be the last that I’d ever have. Would it be gourmand or simple, fat ,sugar and grease? To me my last meal IS all of the above but hopefully I’ll go to meet my maker many years from now on Labor day weekend because the only time that I can have this wish come true in it’s purest form is when the great Geauga County Fair, the oldest fair in the grand ole state of Ohio is running at full throttle! This year, my beloved fair is 188 years old and it’s still going strong!
If you’ve read my Windsphere Witch blog before, you know that I used to own a small horse farm in the country, a place that I named Windesphere because it was up on a hill with a sparkling artesian spring that ran through it. It was situated in the old civil war hamlet of Burton Ohio, a wonderful little town where they still make their own maple syrup, apple and pumpkin butter and once a year this sleepy little town comes alive with ferris wheels , heavy horse pulls and the finest fairway of food that I’ve ever seen!
I’ve been to fairs everywhere, but none have ever supplanted The Great Geauga Fair in my heart. For 5 yummy days there are farm animals everywhere, pumpkins the size of chairs and the 4H kids running all over the place with their fancy chickens , goats and cows take you back to a place and time in the world where things were just a bit simpler. There’s an apple pie contest which is brutally competitive and of course the draft horse hitch classes which I simply adore. When we made the hard decision to leave Burton almost a decade ago I made my darling husband promise me that he would bring me back to the fair every year as many times as I wanted. Incredible man that Jim is, he’s lived up to that promise, going with me almost everyday even when he doesn't want to!
I'm like a kid there and I love to spend hours there with my camera and my stomach, working up an appetite as I walk around enjoying all of the sights, smells and sounds. Farmer in my heart that I am still, I adore checking out the hay, talking to the old farmers about this years conditions and running my fingers through the fresh oats and feed corn. I love to see the flower arrangements made with dahlias the size of pie plates and the table settings, handsewn quilts and the antiques. I even entered the flower arranging contest one year and won first prize. It was such a thrill!
Eventually I’ll make my way to the fairways….first stop? Roasted sweet corn dripping with salt and butter! Next? Well if you’ve never had deep fried swiss cheese on a stick with a good dollop of mustard than you don’t know what you’re missing. Dipped in real cornbread batter and handed over meltingly sweet and piping hot this is food for the goddess. Hand cut and deep fired sweet potatoes dipped in a bit of salt and fresh maple syrup? Ambrosia all washed down with a giant mug of brich beer. A late night snack of the finest beef jerky ever? Absolutely! My husband adores the fresh milk chocolate shakes from the 4H stand and the pierogies drenched in onions and the garlic bratwursts but I never stray from my true hearts desire. This is seasonal food at it’s best and it wouldn’t taste nearly as good to me at any other time of the year. The entire atmosphere is a natural perfumers delight full of scents fruity and floral, pungent and animalitic and my long time favorites…newly mown hay , heavy horses and sweet windfall apples. The entire place becomes a five day feast for the senses that makes it easy to contemplate climbing back into Autumns heavy sweaters and Wellington boots!
I’ve been to the fair twice so far this year and right now I’m about to get up and go yet again! Every year I’m tempted by something new (deep fried snickers bars anyone?) but I always remain true to my meltingly oozy , dripping and savory swiss cheese on a stick. So I’m curious? Are any of you obsessive fair goers like me? And what do you like to eat when you’re there?
You can see some pictures of my beloved fair at http://geaugafair.com/index.html
My article originally published on Perfume Smellin Things - 9/5/2011