Sunday, August 17, 2003

Notes from our second day at the Erie County Fair:

:: We saw a performance by a troupe of Chinese acrobats. I don't know what was more stunning: the staggering degree to which they could bend their bodies in any way they wished, or their equally astonishing sense of balance. It was incredibly cool, especially the opening of the act when four of the performers teamed up underneath big costumes to portray two playful cats.

:: The finest meal in the finest restaurant can't taste any finer than an Italian sausage sandwich, piled high with grilled onions and peppers, consumed under the sky of early evening outside, and followed by a heaping plate of ribbon-cut fried potatoes.

:: Lately we've come to love Orville Reddenbacher's microwave kettle corn. Yesterday, for the first time, we had real kettle corn: the stuff popped in a giant copper kettle whilst being stirred by a hulking guy wielding an equally hulking wooden spoon. This stuff was absolutely amazing.

:: Bungee-jumping appears to be out; what's in is being hoisted to the top of the tower, from which one then dangles posterior-first before being cut loose, to drop fifty feet or so into a big net. I'm not afraid of heights, and if I were in the company of sufficiently daring friends, I might well do this. What gets me is the price: thirty-five bucks a pop. That's for the pleasure of experiencing about two seconds of free fall.

:: I don't care about actually riding the rides; for me, one of life's finest pleasures is in simply walking to Midway after dark, when colored lights and joyous noises abound. And while other people are roller-coaster enthusiasts, I could very well become a Ferris-wheel enthusiast. The Erie County Fair's big one towered to 125 feet (at least that's what the label said), and it is positioned such that at its apex one can see the downtown Buffalo skyline (about ten miles distant), Lake Erie, and Canada beyond.

:: Until yesterday, I had never heard the engines of a monster truck in person. They had one of those big monster-truck shows in the grandstand, and the revving engines of the vehicles could be heard no matter where we were on the Fairgrounds when they happened to press the gas. I don't know -- there just seems something absurdly wasteful to me about such things.

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