The Governor, the Jackalope, and More Fair Stuff
Ace met Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius at the 2006 Kansas State Fair. Sebelius is a bit of an anomaly in that she is a democrat in a state where republicans out-number members of her party almost two to one. Time Magazine has called her one of the five best governors in the country; she is up for re-election this year. Ace dressed in his finest attire to meet her.
One of these things is not like the others. That's right, the one in the middle is blue, and that's different. Dalalope hangs out in the booth of the Lindsborg Marketing Association.
We ran into an old friend, Alan Montgomery, on the tram which circles the perimeter of the fairgrounds. Alan was an impressive newspaper reporter for many years and now teaches journalism at Hutchinson Community College.
John Doll of Garden City, KS, is running for congress in the 1st District.
The grain "quadrotriticale" in the 1960's Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles" was based on the actual wheat, triticale. Triticale is a popular variety in Kansas.
Speaking of Star Trek, if you're a trekkie, you might notice that the seat and base of these fair info both chairs are almost identical to chairs seen on the iconic 1960's sci-fi show. They may have been made by Burke, a mid-20th century manufacturer of chairs that were used on such shows as Star Trek and the Brady Bunch.
Passengers wait for the State Fair Railroad train.
The train passes a retired missile that now serves as a time capsule. It was placed in 1973 and is to be opened in 2013.
The missile is a "sergeant" surface-to-surface ballistic missile. It could once carry a conventional or nuclear warhead. In 2013, we'll find out what it's packing now.
The statue in the front window of the restaurant run by the Our Lady of Guadalupe church in South Hutchinson, appears to regard the bullet hole or the reflection of Ye Old Mill.
This is a cut-out onto which people are invited to apply a sticker indicating where they've been bitten by a brown recluse spider. It's at the Kansas Pest Control Association's booth.
Oh yeah, like this is any stranger than a bird in a jersey.
Culligan Water's giant perpetual water spigot is a nice throw-back to the days of trade show attention-getters. It reminds me of the Better Homes Shows my parents dragged me to when I was a kid; I was fascinated by the beach balls suspended in the low pressure column above upward-turned fans. I can almost still hear the little plastic streamers flapping on those fans.
A friend recently used the pseudo-word "ginormous." I think that describes this pumpkin rather well. It weighs 680.5 pounds and was grown by Douglas Heathman.
I haven't seen Smokey Bear used much these past few years.
I'm continually amazed and impressed at the fossil collecting and display abilities of the 4H kids. Sam Sumpter of Shawnee County found and prepared this backbone of Xiphactinus, a fossil fish of the Cretaceous era. He included lots of good explanatory material.
It's Kansas so you'd be surprised not to run into a few frontier law men. This is Marshall B.L. Harris of the Boot Hill theme park, Dodge City. Ace picked up a new Marshall badge at his booth.
So, I'm walking along an aisle at the fair...you know, the agricultural fair in the conservative state, and what do I see? A booth promoting parties where women can order products to add "just a little spice" to their lives, including lubricants that aren't for your engine...or, well, maybe they sort of are. Debi Hawkins (left) and Kari Baker were manning the Slumber Parties booth, which was awarded "first runner up single space booth" by the fair.
With potions and lotions on my mind, I rounded a corner a few minutes later and saw this row of "adults only" chairs. It's nothing too unusual, though - just a booth selling foot massagers.
What heartwarming environ is this where a 1960s aluminum Christmas tree brings back memories of a time when America knew how to decorate? Maybe I want to live with these people.
Uh...nope. Further investigation shows this is the Department of Corrections building where you can buy hats with a handcuff design on them. I'm not sure what sort of fashion statement is being made here; maybe these appeal to the bondage crowd?
Oscar the robot stops to dance with some girls.
Oscar is a native of Georgia and specializes in promotions.
In my observations this day, jackalopes and robots were getting all the women.
A quarter horse gets a shower over in the livestock area.
Apparently horses, like sheep, also wear clothes. I still say it makes them look like superheroes.
Every year I take a swing though all of the livestock areas looking for...well...anything unusual. This hen is owned by Al Keefer.
Of course, "exotic" is in the eye of the beholder. If you'd never seen a rooster, what would you think of this guy? This single-comb Rhode Island Red cock also belongs to Al Keefer.
I saw this painted sign on the front of the cattle building and just had to investigate.
Inside, near the back, I saw what looked like a thicket of horns, which turned out to belong to Watusi cattle, a breed from Africa, said to have formerly been reserved for royalty.
A small territorial hassle erupts in the pen.
Beautifully evil looking, aren't they?
Lyre-shaped horns are desirable to breeders. A breeder in the pen area also told me the meat of these animals is lower in cholesterol than that from "normal" cows. I couldn't find much online about Watusi cattle, but here is info from Cattle Today and wikipedia.
They're not real animals, but I do admire the sculpting on these kiddie rides.
A carousel horse, reflected.
Update: pics below added 9-19-2006
This European-designed and Mexican-built kiddie ride reminded me of a giant Kinder egg toy. Kinder eggs are chocolate eggs with toys inside that seem to be sold everywhere but the USA.
I took a sky tram ride; here's the crowd on the last day of the fair.
People seemed to like maneuvering under the water spout in the boats at Lake Talbott. A ride on a mini motor boat at the State Fair Boat Dock was $2.00
Although not generally allowed, Ace had his own boat, courtesy of a circa-1972 G.I. Joe Secret Mission to Spy Island set. Thirty-four years after I took it out of the box one Christmas, it still held air perfectly.
Of course, a little artificial heat is good, too.
I always like checking out which licensed properties are most popular in the carnival area. Did I miss the Strawberry Shortcake vs. Spiderman movie?
Bacon is never more cute than when it's little. Piglets relax in the Kansas State University Veterinary School Building.
Kansas State University Veterinary School students educate kids about baby...well, practically any baby thing you'd find on a farm, but in this case, little chicks. With their cooperation, we decided to run a little not-very-scientific experiment. How long does it take before a nest of chicks gets used to a recently introduced member?
Immediately after the new member is inserted, the baby chicks fled out of sight.
Six minutes later, an advance scouting party inches forward.
Two more minutes pass and more chicks creep forward.
At eleven minutes after infiltration, Ace is of little interest to the baby chicks and the they go about their little baby chickie business of pecking at whatever is on the ground right after this.
And now that you've had some birds, here are some bees. I guess practically anything can be used in an art project. Ace tries to look natural next to Joli Winer's art design in beeswax.
As long as he's disguised as a bee, Ace seeks a queen and finds Kansas Honey Producer's Association 2006 Honey Queen Britinna Brown. Why aren't their more condiment queens? I think we need ketchup queens, mustard queens, salsa queens and, especially spicy anything queens.
The association has a portable hive.
The band Shorn was the last act to take a stage at the fair; here they are at Gottschalk Park. I only caught two of their numbers but I liked them...lots of energy...kind of a shame they were tucked away in the dark. The fair has had a decent history of booking acts before they were "someone." The Judds played the free stage here in the 1980's and two years ago, Evanescence played the grandstands, just as they were hitting the charts.