“We’ll work on fine arts projects for the Fair,” I told my grandson last week when he came out to spend the day in Washington. Reed had already completed one project, a picture of a guy made out of different types of pasta — uncooked of course. Spark dubbed it “The Macaroni Man.”
When Reed got to the house, he headed downstairs, ready to build a Lego structure that would net him a blue ribbon. While he focused his attention on that, I looked up the contest rules and printed out an entry.
It might have helped to read The Missourian Fair insert laying on the bar, one that noted the deadline for entries, July 19, a fact I confirmed when I called Tessie at the Chamber of Commerce Office in Downtown Washington.
“But there are still openings in the egg drop and turtle race,” Tessie said kindly.
I reported this to my little Lego guy, who weighed his choices. Reed said he would have to go back to Boy Scout camp to get a turtle, but the egg drop contest sounded like fun. “Sign me up.”
Next Sunday at noon Reed, age 9, and his 11-year-old brother Miles will use the technique Spark showed them to catch eggs dropped from the Washington Fire Department ladder truck, as the ladder moves higher and higher with each round.
I’ll have my camera ready to catch all of the fun, and another Washington Town and Country Fair will provide photos to treasure and memories to last a lifetime.
At the risk of sounding as corny as a tasseled ear in the west 40, the Fair does just that for many in our area. At this year’s event you can bet our family will share Fair stories as we sit under a big tent enjoying pork steak plates, corn dogs and waffle sandwiches.
Forty-five years ago, Spark and I had our first date at the Fair, and 20 years ago, our daughter, Rebecca, was named Fair queen. Now she and her husband Tim have three children, the two egg-drop contestants, and their little sister Phoebe, who already thinks she’s a princess. It’s hard to believe that a romance that started in the beer garden in 1968 led to three daughters, two sons-in-law and five grandchildren.
It’s easy to recall the year Becky was crowned Fair queen. That was the summer of Missouri’s record-breaking flood when the bridge was closed for weeks and people across the river had to drive through St. Louis to get to Washington.
We had a houseful of visitors. The Sister City exchange kids from Marbach were here, and we had three teen boys sleeping in our basement, two from Marbach and a friend of theirs from Italy. Two of the boys stayed with us because their host families lived across the river and it was difficult to get them back and forth to Washington.
The foreign students cheered Becky on at the Fair, where she appeared on stage in a silver-sequined gown. That dress hung downstairs for years. Now she has it at her house, along with her fancy Fair heels that cost $80, a fortune in those days, see-through vinyl peep-toes with silver diamante stones that my dad bought for her.
Twenty years later, Becky’s boys are going to participate in their first Fair contest. The egg drop is sure to be a laugh a minute, and much less terrifying than the midway madness of 2012 when Reed coerced me into riding the Ferris wheel with him. That is a memory I’d just as soon forget.
This year I plan on keeping my feet on the ground and my eyes on the sky. See you at the Fair!