WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP | I love that new county fair smell. Well, most of the smells.
I joined the sweaty parade of visitors and participants for the opening day of the Porter County Fair on Thursday. The heat and humidity came as advertised - hot and humid - but I didn't care. It was opening day. My first chance in a year to see a live llama.
I was so giddy, I broke my first rule of enjoying the fair and ate a corn dog. I don't have anything against corn dogs, but there are so many other things I want to eat at the fair that rank much higher on the priority list. Offhand, I can't think of a fair food entree that doesn't rank above corn dogs, but I'm sure there's something.
The corn dog was tasty enough, and, as I sat in a shaded picnic area washing it down with a lemonade shakeup, I could see on the far side of the fairgrounds what the amusement company loosely refers to as a ride. To my mind it resembled a tower of death.
Mind you, I saw it from a great distance, but that was more than enough. It had two arms that roughly stretched from Portage to Hebron. It had a basket at each end for people to sit in, so it looked like two tall catapults attached to each other at the base.
The arms whirled forwards and then backwards, and the baskets also spun. Before you can ride on it you have to put an airplane warning light on your head. I almost tossed the corn dog just watching it, and I could only see about half the "ride."
I found out later it's called simply "Speed." I think "Catapult of Death" would be more appropriate, but I'm pretty sure I heard it produce a sonic boom during the descent.
In the end, the heat was again the story of the first day. The guy in the commercial building selling the hot tubs could have made a fortune calling them cool tubs.
I stopped to admire a walk-in tub/shower with jet spray nozzles and a seat, which also comes in a heated version. The vendor suggested I climb in and take it for a test drive. I told him to fill it will cool water and I'd get the keys.
"If I could do that, I'd be sitting in it myself," he said.
I saw a young man toting a large, red, stuffed bull on his shoulders, apparently earned shooting baskets. Depending on how badly the young lady with him wanted that bull (unless she won it herself), he had to be sorry he won it or that he didn't wait until just before leaving the fair.
That's what I did with a tasty cake from the 4-H baked goods. I shared it with my colleagues, who were eager to get a slice of chocolate bundt cake until I told them, when I left the 4-H building for the walk to my car in the heat, it was a vanilla cake.
The opinions are those of the writer. He can be reached camped under the awning at the Swiss cheese in rye booth at firstname.lastname@example.org or (219) 548-4352.