Alameda County Fair

It is not that I go all that often to county fairs. The last one, if my memory serves me correctly was in 1988 where I was the weaver in a Sheep-to-Shawl team. Considering that I was pregnant with Daughter #2 at the time what I mostly remember were smells, heat and nausea.

I hadn’t even thought about such things for years. In fact, I had no idea that there were even such things as county fairs in this area of the country till I was given a free ticket at an As game a week or so ago. Since I had the ticket, it made sense (sort of) to use it. Canvasing the household, Alex was the only taker.

So off we went – Alameda County encompasses a huge portion of the East Bay (including, but not limited to Oakland, Dublin, Pleasanton, San Leandro, Berkeley, Emeryville). Rather large in population as such places go. The fairgrounds are in Pleasanton, which is just about as far from my house as you can get and still be in the county. We drove south and east….

Parking cost, of course. Fairgrounds entry didn’t. Alex took my free ticket and the fairground doesn’t charge either active military or veterans. There were the usual midway rides, games to separate you from your money with cheap prizes as a reward. There was junk food galore.

Of no surprise to me were the buildings containing vendors hawking knives, cookware, magic blenders, massage chairs, windows, siding, sports related souvenirs. Except for the teams which were most prominently displayed, I’d swear it was the same old guy from another state and decades ago. There has to be a fair circuit and things that are only and always sold there.

After an hour or so of wandering we finally found the buildings housing the hobbies, exhibits, small animals and other fun. The hobbies building turned out to have old people (whoops – folks of my age) demonstrating various crafts) while the rest of the hall was filled with cases featuring various “collections.” There is no way I can really put words to this strangeness so I will add in photos as soon as I track down the USB cable.

The small animal barn had bunnies, lots and lots of bunnies along with ducklings and chicks and a few other small birds. The Agriculture and Wine building had plants, bee keeping and one wine merchant. In the building labeled “Exhibits” I struck gold (for me). Not surprising, quilting seems to have taken over here much as it had 30 years ago in Maryland. There were a few entries in the knitting, spinning and weaving categories. More in the crochet (yes, the obligate baby stuff). Nothing in needlepoint, only one entry in cross-stitch. There was also a category which I found extremely strange – place settings. Like the hobby entries, these can only be seen and not well described or understood.

I never did find the large animals, but the hour was getting toward heavy traffic and we decided to skip both the rides and the late evening concert. There wasn’t any horse racing today, not that I minded at all.

Tomorrow’s plan? Wonder Woman.

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About Holly

fiber person - knitter, spinner, weaver who spent 33 years being a military officer to fund the above. And home. And family. Sewing and quilting projects are also in the stash. After living again in Heidelberg after retiring (finally) from the U.S. Army May 2011, we moved to the US ~ Dec 2015. Something about being over 65 and access to health care. It also might have had to do with finding a buyer for our house. Allegedly this will provide me a home base in the same country as our four adult children, all of whom I adore, so that I can drive them totally insane. Considerations of time to knit down the stash…(right, and if you believe that…) and spin and .... There is now actually enough time to do a bit of consulting, editing. Even more amazing - we have only one household again. As long as everyone understands that I still, 40 years into our marriage, don't do kitchens or bathrooms. For that matter, not being a golden retriever, I don't do slippers or newspapers either. I don’t miss either the military or full-time clinical practice. Limiting my public health/travel med/consulting and lecturing to “when I feel like it” has let me happily spend my pension cruising, stash enhancing (oops), arguing with the DH about where we are going to travel next and book buying. Life is good!
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