Ah, Americana!

Your local fair wasn’t always exotic. They sold hot dogs and burgers and fried things, and this was not novel. You ate that stuff all the time. They judged poultry and cattle and pigs, and that was normal, too, because those animals belonged to your neighbor and you’d sometimes sit with him/her on the back porch drinking a Budweiser and smoking unfiltered cigarettes after slaughtering one of said animal’s less prize-worthy siblings.

This is so not the case anymore. Judging the best chicken in all the land is foreign and weird, as is eating much of the fried food within. Now, the fair is an opportunity to live, for an evening or so, in America’s kinder/gentler/sweeter past (which wasn’t really as lovely as your fried dough might make you believe). There’s no better place for this than at the South Florida Fair. It’s got livestock shows, vendors, people in Stetson hats, and a ride called “The Fireball” that’ll make you toss your cookies all over your fresh-ironed, plaid shirt. Ah, tradition.

Find the fair at 9067 Southern Blvd. in West Palm Beach. It opens at noon each weekday and 10 a.m. on weekends through February 1. Call 561-793-0333, or visit southfloridafair.com for more info.
Jan. 16-Feb. 1, noon, 2009

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Brandon K. Thorp