The Montana Fair is not the State fair, it is the Billings Fair and, and the official subtitle of Montana Fair really is 'It's a Really Big Deal.' I suppose that makes sense, since Billings is the largest city in Montana. The subtitle was the recurring joke as we all drove through the parking lot as we watched the 4-H kids show their bunnies, as we browsed the craft and exhibition halls, as we walked the midway and as we ate deliciously fried food.
As much as we made fun of it though, I think the far was and is a really big deal. It's where people can drop a lot of money on moderately satisfying rides, they can show their pets and/or their livestock.
The fair is also a place where people can showcase their collections- pen and pencils, medieval garb, Simpsons para-fan-alia, miniature horses and the biggest nutcracker collection you've ever seen. It's a place where people who spend a lot of time and energy on sometimes very specific endeavors have a specific showcase for their hobbies.
It's also a place where I could size up the competition for Table Setting- see image below.
This table setting received a blue ribbon in the age category I will be competing in next year. I give this setting props for setting the table for an afternoon tea, as opposed to a dinner setting. They also sort-of get points for making the tea a 'Russian Tea' and so printing the menu in Russian- which is also unfair, because I can't read Russian, and therefore have no idea if the menu would be at all appetizing. Other than that, I was entirely unimpressed with the white china and too simple centerpiece. Classy? Sure. Was I impressed? No.
As table setting entries are all put on a card table, there was not enough room to showcase all entries in the venue provided. As such, I must make assumptions like: the Russian Tea setting was actually the best in the age category. I am already planning for next year. Without giving too much away, I'm thinking 'hunting lodge' (Montanans love Big Game as much as I do).
In the same venue where I critiqued my competition for table setting, I found my socks that I had entered- adorned with a red ribbon! Second place! and a $3 prize! Second place in the 'Hand knit sock' category! I am so flattered, especially since this is my first (finished) pair of socks. I felt really great about that.
So we celebrated with funnel cakes- batter poured directly into a vat of hot oil and dusted liberally with powdered sugar and cinnamon and more sugar.
I love the fair.