1937 Buick Special

Me and Olivia

Me and Olivia
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Me and "The Hell Bitch"

Me and "The Hell Bitch"
My 50th birthday gift to myself a 2004 Harley she is named after Captain Call's horse on Lonesome Dove.

I Want This Bike!

I Want This Bike!
Me On A 1942 Harley

My Favorite TV Show

The Location Of My Visitors!

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Going to the Fair When I Was A Kid

Laurie Brown riding my winning bike
All of these bikes were won by riding my old bike Lauri, Krista Hanna Hines, Ricky Elliot
Lauri on the bumper cars
Lauri & Ricky
Sack races and Egg toss
Going to the Fair 1960’s & 1970’s
The Minden Fair was this past month and once again I look back to my childhood. It’s funny how smells act as a time machine in a way. You walk down a midway at a fair and no matter who you are or how old you are you remember what it was like when you were a kid and it was fair time!
It always started with the fair parade on Friday afternoon. Cars lined up for an hour with all the local fair Queens and Princesses spread out between the local school bands. Always added in between the beauties and the bands were the local politicians, wanting your November vote. Last but not least was the Minden Riding Club with all the beautiful horses. The horses were my favorite part. The riders were always dressed so fancy with their sparkling outfits. Back then the parade was an event. People came out and the streets were lined up one side and down the other. Minden gives you’re the opportunity to not miss any parade activity. If you miss it on one street all you have to do is turn around and walk to the other side and see it on back street. It’s like two parades for the price of one, for all you parade lovers.
Fairs have changed just like everything else. Gone are the days of the old side shows with the large gaudy murals hanging beside a tent. My mother would never let me go inside to see the horrible sights. I would stand outside and listen to the other kids screaming at some horrible freak of nature on the inside. It was not until I was older and ventured inside that I found out that it was a “waste of good money”! You don’t see all the old rides that you once saw either. Insurance I’m sure plays a big part in that aspect of fair life.
One thing that seems the same are the folks that work the fair circuit. I guess you are born into that life, kind of like circus families. I’m sure that it’s a tough life. I remember being a kid and wondering what it would be like to run away with the fair or the circus. I wonder how many kids tried the fair life and then realized that home life wasn’t so bad after all.
One of my favorite things to watch on the midway was the chicken that played the little piano at the Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport. I also liked to give the organ grinder monkey my money. That monkey got smart; it would get mad if you just gave it a penny it liked silver coins not copper!
I remember the year bumper cars came out. The lines were as long as any Disney attraction. The cars back then were bigger and you didn’t have the “no bumping rule”. You rammed your neighbor’s car and you rammed them hard! It was great especially when your parents rode in a separate car and you got to slam into them!
My Dad was a crane man! He loved to play the cranes and always tried to win a pocket knife or other such valuable item. My mother was a pick-up-duck kind of person. She has never been much of a gambler. The ducks were always a sure thing. You always came home with a monkey on a stick or a plastic whistle as a souvenir.
The only problem that I have ever had at fairs or any theme park is that all my life I have been extremely susceptible to motion sickness! I usually stuck with the Merry-Go-Round or the pony ride for my riding excitement. My sister and brother could always ride anything they wanted. They liked the Tilt-A-Whirl and the Swings. Once, Daddy took me on the Ferris wheel at the Minden Fair. I was scared to death of the height and then got motion sick on top of that. I don’t go to fairs to ride; I go to watch the other people and all the kids. I just enjoy the atmosphere of the fair! It gives you the true feeling of the changing of the seasons. You feel the crisp fall air with a hint of cotton candy to give you that sugar rush.
Do you remember the dunking booth in Minden? I loved to watch people get dunked. It was usually someone in a political office that your parents must have wanted to drown. My Daddy always tried to dunk the lucky person on the perch of the dunking tank. You could get a good view of the tank if you sat at the little food booths along the entrance run by a local church or the Shriners (that is the only food my mother would let us eat). You never eat food on the midway, according to mama. You can only eat cotton candy or the taffy at the State Fair off the midway! I still have this fear instilled in my mind. I’m sure I will pass that on to my niece.
Then of course you always had the fair exhibits and the livestock barns. The State Fair exhibits used to take you all day just to make your way thru the buildings. Mama and Daddy had to sign up for every trip and every set of pots and pans. Minden also used to have a lot of good exhibits from the 4-H club and all the local schools. They don’t seem to do much of that anymore either. Now the Minden Fair grounds exhibit buildings are gone.
The best part of the fair other than the cotton candy or the candy apples was “Kid’s Day”. Kid’s Day when I was growing up was the last Saturday of the Minden Fair. My mother would drop me and my friends off early in the morning and give me a few dollars. That money would last all day and we would enter every contest that the Jaycees sponsored at Griffith Stadium. They had the three-legged races, greased pole with a $20.00 bill at the top, the greased pig (and boy were they greasy),the egg toss, and best of all, the bike races (with hopes of winning a new bike from Otasco or Western Auto). I never won the greased pole or pig contest but my friend Barbara Evans did once I think.
The best Kid’s Day ever was the year that my dad took all of the kids on Claiborne Street over in the back of his old truck. I had an old bike with the big handle bars, banana seat and red tires. This bike because of the sprocket was the fastest bike around. Daddy loaded that bike up for all the kids to ride. My sister, brother, cousin, and two of the neighborhood kids all won new bikes with my old bike! Daddy had to make two trips, just to get all the kids and their new bikes home! Everyone wanted to borrow my bike every year after that. It was the only bike that I ever owned, but it probably helped at least a dozen kids get new bikes over the years.
I hope all the children and families remember their fair days in years to come as I have remembered mine. It seems only a flash in time and with a smell of a candy apple I can be transported back to the good ole days.