Thursday, October 16, 2014
It may just be me, getting old and crotchety, but I feel the South Carolina State Fair, especially its entertainment value, has fallen off immensely over the past few years. As I sat with a group of workers on a row of rocking chairs, we chatted. One had worked the fair for 52 years and had also been a school teacher. I noted that it seemed awfully quiet for a fair, and she agreed: quietest ever. There were very few music groups. Couldn't the fair managers bring in local talent and pay them a little to play at various corners of the grounds? The tented entertainment was not much better last night, although the illusionist was pretty good. Even the company displays seemed stripped down and less interesting. I did have a nice chat with the woman watching the ETV booth, hawking an oral history collection on dvd of participants in World War II. Even the political booths seemed quiet. No one visited the Haley/REP booth while I was standing nearby. The sand sculpture had moved from its normal sport, but there was nothing pretty around it, and the presentation was not as spectacular as in the past. Food, as always, was expensive. So I avoided it. The boys got their wrist bands and attacked the rides, but even they did not seem as enthralled as in years past. Luckily they met up with some schoolmates and walked around unsupervised for most of the time we were there, so I am sure they enjoyed that. Me, well, I watched people. One of my favorite things. I did enjoy the art, though only one painting this year really blew me away. I perused the student art. Watched pigs run. I didn't even ride the ferris wheel this year. The crowd was moderate, but seemed to be enjoying themselves. I love watching the little kids, some perhaps experiencing their first midway rides. That is what the fair is really all about. I kind of miss watching my boys on those rides. I was impressed by how clean it was this year.