When funnel cakes are the main course, cow hair in your drink no longer fazes you and kids beg for a home-cooked meal, the halfway mark of the county fair has been reached.
The other tell-tale signs? When I got up Thursday morning, I found the pair of jeans with the least dirt and didn't care if the socks I wore were dirty or clean. My kid walked a cow in flip-flops and I didn't even blink. (I cringe at the thought of flip-flops in the cattle barn – you might as well just go barefoot!)
So, in reflection, there are a few random thoughts this 4-H parent had about the fair.
• Save the drama for the pickup truck ride home. Tensions can run high and at some point in time, everyone thinks they have been cheated or someone has cheated to win. Don't react, just sleep on it.
• Take a compliment where you can get it, even if it wasn't meant as one. One of the best compliments as a parent I have ever received wasn't meant as one. Last year, another 4-H parent walked past my kids working, stopped and said, "Where are your parents? You kids seem to do all the work!" My oldest replied, "My parents help us a ton but they aren't the ones in 4-H!"
Related: Five Things to Love About 4-H
• Unless you want the job, don't complain about how the guy stuck with it is doing. I have a feeling being on the fair board is a thankless job with endless amounts of grief. No one can please everyone – sometimes you just need to be thankful they are doing the job and you aren't.
• Beaver Tails will forever be better than an Elephant Ear. What is a Beaver Tail? It is the better, more sophisticated (read: thicker and more sugary) version of an elephant ear. I have yet to find them anywhere but at the Johnson County Fair.
• Find a penny or a nickel or a dime and especially a quarter and don't pick it up. Most likely it has been SuperGlued to the ground and somewhere near you is a livestock 4-H'er laughing at you for trying to pry it off the cement. It happens to the best of us, just don't let it happen twice.
• If you need it, look in the showbox: Because doesn't everyone keep deodorant, socks and hairspray next to the Prime Time Adhesive and spray paint?
Follow along with Jennifer this week as she chronicles her time at the county fair:
Life At the County Fair: When Did A Blue Ribbon Stop Meriting Praise?
Life at the County Fair: Jeans, Sweat and Restrooms without Air Conditioning
Life at the County Fair: Manure, Cow Hair an Uncomfortable Combination
Life at the County Fair: There Will Always Be Tears
The opinions of Jennifer Campbell are not necessarily those of Indiana Prairie Farmer or the Penton Farm Progress Group.