Week 9: The Best Time of the Year

Week 9: The Best Time of the Year

♪It’s just 8 bucks a ticket when you order them online ♪ Not too much to pay for having a great time! ♫ All kinds of music, animals and rides ♪ Wild and crazy foods we know you’ll wanna try! ♫ Only at the fair… THE.FLORIDA.STATE.FAIR ♪

Calling all mullets, camouflage attire, pregnant women in tight white tees and carnies: Ryan and I are going to the fair! The day is off to a rough start. As I get my things together, I see Ryan looking at a Facebook picture that has been uploaded by his friend Andy. I see an elementary school class picture up on the computer screen and Ryan reads his friend Andy’s caption aloud: “Guess which one is mine.” I immediately blurt out “I don’t get it. Andy doesn’t have a child.” Dumbfounded, Ryan looks at me and says “Michelle these aren’t children, they are PBRs.”  CLEARLY my vision is off this morning. What I saw as a classroom of children was actually 6 PBRs lined up on a countertop, and one was wearing a coozie. Beer…Children…Same thing. I’m not quite sure why I was hallucinating at 9AM. It may have to do with the fact that we ran 7 miles with RUN TAMPA yesterday and then donated a pint of blood. I’m still second guessing the logic behind that… Oh wait, now I remember… free tickets to the fair!

On the way to the fair, I am anxious. Down this dirt road lies our largest calorie consumption yet. We have a to-do list that probably needs to be renamed “to-eat.”  We arrive and begin a one mile hike through the fairgrounds to the opposite side of the fair so we can give our extra free ticket to Spencer and Erica. Maybe they are on a budget as well, and feel that it is absolutely necessary for us to walk one mile so they can save 10 bucks. It’s perfectly fine though. I’m in a great mood and friends don’t come cheap, especially new ones. I’m happy to see them, not necessarily because I want to hang out with other people, but because Spencer is dressed like a raging idiot. I cannot wait to be seen with him. A cut-off plaid shirt, shorts and work boots. Erica is brilliant; why didn’t I dress Ryan like this?

There are 6 of us and coincidentally we all have the same mission: find the deep fried mashed potatoes with gravy dipping sauce. I know that God is black and lives at Lupton’s Fat Man’s BBQ Buffet, but today and for today only he may be hiding at the Florida State Fair in the form of a carnie.

I have to confess that our entire day revolved around finding those holy mashed potatoes. While on the search, we tried every single other food vendor we could stomach without vomiting: Deep Fried Corn, Chicken Fried Bacon, Fried Pickles, Chocolate Glazed Krispy Kreme Donut Bacon Cheesburger, Hog on a Log, Chocolate Dipped Key Lime Pie on a Stick, Watermelon Honey, Cheddar/Bacon Kettlecorn, Basil Beef Tenderloin and a Philly Cheese Steak with “the works” dumped all over it. To clarify, when I say “WE” I do not mean all 6 of us. I mean Ryan and Michelle. Yes, we stomached all of that and I don’t regret a single bite of it. As mentioned before, the Meatball Chronicles do not reserve seats for those of you who just cringed while reading this or are about to go on some stupid rant about fat content, clogged arteries and calories: Get a life.

Hours and hours went by. We eventually passed everything at the fair two or three times. I even made Ryan give me a dollar so I could go in and see the “World’s Smallest Lady.” There, in a box, sat a tiny lump of lady with a cell phone and a portable fan. She was magnificent. She was a mini meatball in the purest form. I felt extremely awkward looking at a human in a box so I decided to shake her hand and introduce myself. I regret that.

The petting zoo was another favorite stop of mine. I entered with the intention of holding a baby goat. As an animal hater, I had no interest in touching or seeing anything else—but for some reason the tiny goats were on my to-do list. I have taken a temporary liking to goats because of their asshole personalities. In the world of goats, if something isn’t worth fighting for, it isn’t worth having. Also, mating rituals begin early in life—baby goats as young as 7 days old instinctively mount other goats. This is fantastic, and I find myself thinking that a lot of people in this world would be better off if they just adopted the mentality of a goat.

I was shocked to find myself enjoying the ENTIRE petting zoo. What started as an attempt to con Ryan into thinking I had an affectionate side, actually resulted in me loving a handful of animals. Although, I have further confirmed that I discriminate in the animal world as well. I would not touch or feed the sheep because I did not like its hair, and I wouldn’t go near the ducks because they poop white. Freaks. There was also a “Moo-ternity Ward” where you could watch a mother cow give birth. Between this mother in distress, and the midget in a box, there are some really sick people here at the Florida State Fair.

So the day went on… with Elvis Impersonators, a trip through Cracker Town where Ryan bought some bacon salt, a flute playing Indian performance, a dancing bear and an attempt by Spencer to become John  Casablanca’s next model— The woman’s response: “HA. MAYBE JOHN DEERE.” Although that response was quite hilarious and witty I found myself thinking who the hell does she think she is? I can see your muffin top from here—and you’re the one working at a state fair you carnie. Model my ass.

The entire day came out of Ryan’s wallet. Our goal of saving for a house was backset due to the 12 or so concession stands we hit up, but it was worth every penny. We never found the deep fried mashed potatoes, so as far as I’m concerned they are waiting in heaven. Ryan didn’t buy me the extremely large confederate flag blanket I wanted but I am fortunate he didn’t. The more I think about it, I would have certainly used it as a comforter and had to repaint my entire bedroom. My favorite food by far, came from the same truck: fried pickles and chicken fried bacon. Extraordinary. While Ryan thoroughly enjoyed the Chocolate Glazed Krispy Kreme Donut Bacon Cheeseburger, I settled after one bite. I’ve never been a huge fan of donuts. I’m not sure that anything I tried was the “BEST I’VE EVER HAD” but it’s not fair to compare to restaurant establishments. Fair food is fair food. It’s like one giant edible science fair that only comes around once or twice a year and I’m glad we got to be a part of it.


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