Fair again proves fantastic

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 19:00

The Alaska State Fair in Palmer is one of my favorite events of the year. I heard about the fair before we moved here, particularly the rumors of giant cabbages. Since arriving in Alaska we have attended every year.

One of the things I love about the State Fair is the ability to show my children the pastoral, farming side of life. Where do the things we eat come from? I want them to have a better answer than “from the commissary.” This is particularly important to me considering my background. My father grew up on a dairy farm; therefore, one would think I would have had some clue as to what farm animals looked like. I’ll never forget the first 4-H fair I went to at the age of 18. The bunnies, chickens, and other fowl all looked as I had imagined. Then we walked into the bovine area. I had imagined a cow to be similar size to a fat pony. These animals were huge. I knew bulls were big; I’d been to the rodeo before. I just never thought that maybe a cow might be of similar size to a bull. Cows weren’t the only animals I had got the size wrong on. Pigs were cute little animals about twenty to forty pounds. I never thought about where a twenty pound ham might come from on these little animals. And sheep were about the size of a sheep dog, right? The livestock area is definitely on our must see list every year.

Also on the must see list are the Pirates for Hire. They have had my children in stitches every year. Their favorite show is the 6 p.m. show with the wedding. However, the best part of the Pirates is not the show, but the sword fighting they get to do with the cast when the show is over. This year both my sons walked away believing they had got the better of Captain Jack Sparrow. It was also fun to see the Pirates walk around the fair in full pirate regalia between shows. Captain Hook was hard to miss in the reptile exhibit, even the parrot squawked extra loud when he walked by.

The Kid Zone is always a hit, for both the kids and the kids at heart in our family. This year they had reptiles. Petting a tortoise was a treat; looking at the lizards a pleasure. However, most of the animals happened to be snakes. One of my favorite Alaskan facts is that there are no wild snakes in this state, and for the most part I can avoid them. Even though snakes are some of my least favorite creatures, they did have a great variety and it was interesting to see the differences. Seeing the hooded cobra was fascinating.

The entertainment at the fair is also a hit. This year we made sure to see Michael Harrison at the Colony Stage. My children loved the show. Next week we will most probably be buying tennis balls and Velcro eyes so that my children can all become ventriloquists themselves.

So, for the third year in a row, the state fair in Palmer has proven worth the price of admission. I can’t wait for next year!


Lori Spears, of Eagle River, is the wife of a U.S. Army captain. Her “Home Front” column about life in a military family appears twice a month in the Star.

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