My friend Deb hates the fair. Oh, man, does she hate it. She works down there on S. Monroe, so to her it's just two weeks of nasty traffic and fuss. I'm in the opposite camp - going to the fair is one of those seasonal events I hate to miss.
For the past two or three years, my neighbor Mark and I have gone down there with a very specific goal in mind: to eat as much carnival food as we can stomach. Do you remember the scene, in the animated Charlotte's Web, when Templeton the rat rolls around the fair after it closes, gorging himself? Our trips are sort of like that, except we pay to get in and don't actually eat out of the garbage cans.
It's like some cold weather tour of gluttony. We started with corn dogs near the ferris wheel and worked our way through the crowds. Sausage on a bun with fried onions, a gyro (my favorite of the night) dripping in tzatziki sauce (and, yes, I had to look up how to spell that), a bowl of cheese grits, a slice of pizza, chicken on a stick, lamb on a stick (no gator on a stick this year, sadly) - if you can serve it off a cart, we ate it.
Temptation set against us from each side - throw a dart and win a giant Spongebob, shoot out the star and win a giant panther, Angel The Beautiful Living Woman With The Body Of A Horrible Snake, the world's largest ox, the world's smallest horse - but we maintained focus and kept right on rolling. Now, after we ran into mom and dad and heard about this year's fancy poultry, we did stop over to check those out. A couple of the featured Chinese birds look like someone took all the brightest feathers from a half dozen different species and stitched them all into one crazyquilt fowl. Did we eat any of those exotic visitors? No, but if you ran a stick through one, dipped it in batter, deep fried it, and sold it off trailer, we'd have been first in line.
We did skip the fried snicker bar, though. Mark had one last year and declared it "just too much".