Remember as a child what a big deal the state fair was? When my friend Leau Phillips emailed daily accounts of running an art booth at the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque, first I laughed at her often hilarious observations. Then I asked if she would share her amusing reports with my readers. Here's her account of day one at the fair:
The state fair is undoubtedly one of the best places for people watching. Since I was there for more than 12 hours, across from the petting zoo and near the pony rides, I had plenty of time to watch!
Oddest question of the day: "You don't use crystals in your work? I would have thought you would use
Oddest accessory of the day: Two six guns in a grandma's back pockets under her red belt and purse. We are hoping they were the kids' guns and fake!
Biggest surprise of the day: A ZEBRA in the petting zoo, a pygmy zebra with the longest eyelashes and the
1. The number of NEWBORN babies at the fair, in the sun and in the petting zoo! Who raised those mothers?
2. The number of very pregnant, very YOUNG girls traveling in packs...field trip? Who knows, they increased as the day got later.
3. How many young families have more than three kids (the fair's day of home school field trips?) The winner was a group of ten, all girls in pink teeshirts with their age on them! Most had four or more kids...who knew that was the trend?
4. Blue jeans come in lots and lots of sizes. More than I could possibly imagine.
5. By 5 p.m., even the Popsicles that might be banana (bright yellow) looked fabulous and if even one of those kids carrying them had come close to me, he would have lost his, even if the tongue was attached. It was hot, people!!
6. By 6 p.m., even fair food begins to smell really, really good. Even the smell of steak on a stick smelled good. Fortunately, I got over that when I got hotter.
Weirdest request of the day: A woman came several times to look at a mixed media piece of Paula's. She finally came late in the day with her mother and thought maybe if they "pushed" the picture out and painted it black, they could use the frame! When they saw the price, they decided it was too much to pay for a frame. "Would I lower the price since that was what they were going to do?" I said, "No, go to Hobby Lobby!"
Funniest juxtaposition: Angry Hot Glass Lady (another story altogether!) doing Tai Chi in the middle of the crowd and stopping to take a drag off her cigarette!
Favorite tattoo of the day: Two lip prints (kisses) behind the ear of a man with bushy, bushy brown sideburns and absolutely no other hair on his head.
Things I learned at the fair (day one):
1. Some people will say anything - "It's too hot to look at this junk." "Your sign says free engraving, will you engrave something I bought somewhere else?"
2. Children are jaded earlier and earlier - " I've seen a zebra - they are at the zoo 'ya know," spoken by a four-year-old.
3. Not every child WANTS to ride a pony. 'Nuff said.
4. People will buy anything for their dogs. Flip flops, bathrobes, football jerseys, ANYTHING. Trust me, they were right next to me.
5. Along that line, grown adults, moms and dads, people who are supposed to have good sense will pay $8 (yes, eight, VIII dollars) to have their faces painted or in some cases their nose or one eyebrow. ADULTS I'm telling you. And then there was the state fair employee who had what looked like ahem, a key part of the male anatomy painted in blue on each side of her face. I kinda stared each time she passed and finally had to ask her and when she faced foward and announced it was Blue from "Blue's Clues," I could, of course, see that - NOT!
6. Small girls should not be given duck call whistles- ever.
7. Boys, after a certain age, MUST spit, even if said luggies will land just where their next step will be. Men are equally as bad at this, but generally turn their heads instead of the middle school spit forward. Is this some kind of marking their territory? Do they just have more mucus? Don't get it and have seen it many other places...hmm?
8. Before 4 p.m., I was way too well-dressed, after 4, I was a complete schmuck. There is no way to compete in the glamour department with preteen and teenage girls. I need more glitz, bling and then there is that preggo belly - oh wait, I have that.
9. For every well-behaved, polite child who doesn't touch before they ask, stays with their parents and is pleasant (what a joy), there are 10 to 12 that run wild, touch everything with sticky fingers and pick up stuff to take to show their parents (I use the term lightly) who are talking with their schoolmates and don't have time to see to their children (the result of all those preggo bellies!) In some cases, it was so sad to see these darling children practically begging someone to pay attention to them.
10. There are an equal number of older (older than me even!!) adults that run wild, touch everything with their sticky fingers and pick up and drop things they look at. These misguided souls say things like, "Hey what are ya gonna do, I'm old, I deserve to act this way!" In what universe??!!
11. NM State police can actually run in those Nazi-like black uniforms. On that line, it takes a considerable number of security "guards" to keep the fair safe. AKAL was everywhere the whole day. One even walked me to the gate.
So there ya go, day one. I look forward to tomorrow! Oh and we sold one thing, six whole dollars' worth. Off to a great start!
Leau Phillips is a mixed media artist and photographer. She has been creating art since she could hold scissors and rub glue on her fingers. Her father called her "the cut-and-paste queen."