First of all, welcome. Abe Lincoln welcomes you to the 2007 Illinois State Fair.
What you might not be able to tell from this picture (and the rest of the pictures here) is that it was hot. It was 99 degrees Fahrenheit, with a heat index of "OH MY GOD IT'S HOTTER THAN SATAN'S ARMPIT".
It was Sunday morning. I picked up Tim at around 9:30 am and we headed to the fairgrounds. It was too damned hot to take my family, so I just went there with Tim while my wife and my mom did some shoe shopping with the kids.
One important aspect to the Illinois State Fair is eating. Their motto should be, give us a foodstuff and we'll put a stick in it and fry it. One of the food booths actually has a name I admire, "Fried What?".
But for me, the food I have to eat every time I visit the fair is Tom Thumb donuts.
That's what I call them, at least. They haven't actually been called that in years, though. Now they have the extremely boring name, Donut Family.
Still, they taste the same as the hot, sugary donuts I fondly remember.
Tim opted for the healthy choice of the Bob Vose corndog. It was so nice, in fact, he had it twice.
Most booths at the Illinois State Fair are just brought in trailers, but Bob Vose apparently has enough clout that he has a permanent structure on the grounds where he sells his food. Note that some disturbing behind-the-scenes business has taken place. As you can see by the sign, Pepsi is no longer served by Bob Vose!
Between Tim's 1st and 2nd corn dogs, I ambled over to the Pork Patio for a pork chop sandwich.
Okay, enough eating! Let's get out of this godforsaken heat!
So, one thing I had to do was go see the butter cow. It's actually the law in Springfield that you must see the butter cow if you visit the fair.
Usually the butter cow is a life-sized cow that stands in a refrigerated glass cabinet reminiscent of a high school's trophy case. This year, they shook things up a bit. The case this year is round, and rotates. The rotation is not what I would call smooth -- it seems to catch every few inches with a minor jolt. In addition to the butter cow, there is a butter calf, a butter tree, a butter cat, a butter... well, I'll just show you:
One way of rating the butter cow sculptor's craft is how well the veins on the cow's teats are portrayed. Sadly, this year the veins are a little unrealistic:
There was actually a little controversy over the butter cow this year. In a recent column in the local paper, a food critic recommended that the butter cow tradition be discontinued, which prompted backlash from the community.
I can understand both points of view. One is sick of having a butter cow around every year, a tradition since 1922. The other wants to see a life-sized sculpture made of butter.
Could we compromise? Perhaps next year we can have a butter Henry Rollins? He's got plenty of veins that could be lovingly rendered.
Okay, we ate, we saw the butter cow. Now, I just wanted to do one more thing before the sun caused me to spontaneously combust. We had to go on the Sky Ride.
Carnival rides from the Sky Ride
Hi-Dive in front of the Exposition Building
Near the end of the Sky Ride, ridin' over the "God Mobile"
Just a couple more pictures. Have you ever watched an infomercial? If you have, chances are they are selling its product in the Exposition building. It's basically that, crappy leather belts, and evangelical Christian booths.
Here's a quiz for you!
Please be warned that if you try to answer the questions, I cannot tell you if you are right or wrong, as I didn't uncover #2 or #3.
One more pic from the Exposition building. This is the superpowered Televac handwriting analysis computer, which has been using the same blinking light technology it did back when I was a kid. I guess if it ain't broke, don't upgrade it.
And finally, a couple fun ride pics.
The Giant Slide
Well, that's it. Of course I didn't cover everything. There's craploads of livestock, mediocre bands at the Grandstand and beer tents, etc., but I've told you what *I* was there for.
I might have one more 2007 Illinois State Fair post in me, but it won't be published here until next week. If you can stick around for that long, you might find yourself amused, shocked and frightened.
Love and Kisses From The State Capitol,