A Fair to Remember

By Sarah Tackett

The last time I went to the Lion’s Club Fair I was a little girl and I was escorted by none other than Lexington’s Uncle Sam or Colonel Sanders, a.k.a. Tom Murphy. While my parents helped out in the ticket booths he graciously led me around from rides to games, and even convinced a carny to throw a game of darts, so I could claim to have won the giant teddy bear with the heart shaped nose for myself. It wasn’t until years and several dollars later that I realized that there was no possible way that I could have won that bear on my own, (carnies along with carnival games are tricky).

This all flooded back to me when returning to the fair last week. The guy that I’m seeing insisted that we go to the Demolition Derby, and since I am a big fan of unnecessary destruction I agreed completely that we must go.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of attending this sort of event, let me explain the basics. Several cars of the same size and stature face each other, nose to nose, on a level dirt field surrounded by dirt banks. When the green flag is waved each car must do it’s best to smash the nonsense out of all the other cars. The three cars left running are then claimed the victors of that round and may proceed to the finals. There is also a conciliation round where the losers have a chance to repair their cars in time to make it to the final battle. It is reckless, chaotic, and very much fun to watch.

Tires fell off, axles were broken, doors were crunched shut. Smoke billowed from almost all of the cars at one point. I experienced some sort of patriotic joy, watching a heavy little Chevrolet slam into a Honda over and over until it resembled an accordion. The announcer shouted, “That car’s gonna be two inches long before he gets done with it!” The announcer was very good. He sounded like the narrator from the Dukes of Hazard and never ran out of funny things to say.

I had two favorites by the end of the Derby. Number 26 won my heart by continuously reeking havoc in reverse. He would plow into his victims looking over his right shoulder, showing no sign of mercy. My other favorite was fearless number 69, or as the announcer deemed him, “69er.”

69er began his round already smoking and shooting sparks. It looked like the car was going to blow all to hell before the flags were waved. But that didn’t scare 69er. He plunged full speed ahead into any car in his way. He would sputter and quit a couple times, but just when you thought it was over, 69er would be resurrected from certain death and smash into another car with great fury. It was awesome. Neither of them won, but they both made it through several rounds and were completely destroyed by the end, which was very satisfying.

Afterwards we left the grandstand and walked around the fair. It is comforting that it hasn’t changed much over the years. They still sell candy apples, cotton candy, funnel cakes and other food that makes you susceptible to nausea. They still have cows and goats pinned up so you can pet them, or poke at them with sticks so you don’t have to wash your hands, (that was a joke…we actually considered freeing them, but in actuality they seemed like they could care less).

The worst ride at the fair is still “Adventure River,” where you have to sit in some plastic log and wait forever for the stream of icky water to zig you about 20 feet. I’m a fan of the dangerous rides that fling you in all different directions at high speeds. My date, however, is not. I wanted to try out this humongous contraption that flings you upside down head over heals over and over again. He opted for the ferris wheel, (totally lame). We compromised and did both. My ride was as painful as it was pleasurable. The constraints were pressed so tight against me that I couldn’t really breath, only giggle uncontrollably whenever we were falling. He kept screaming, “I hurt, I hurt!” Which made me giggle even harder.

However lame, the ferris wheel was nice. There was a cool breeze along with a pretty view of town. It could have even been considered romantic, if the pre-teens in the next bucket weren’t shouting, “Hey Sarah, get ‘er done!” Sarah happens to be my name, and though, they were apparently yelling at someone below, I couldn’t help but wonder what the “er” was that my namesake was being encouraged to “get done.”

The fair began to wind down and so did our cash. We had two dollars left when an intoxicated carnival fellow began to provoke my date, asking questions of his manhood and his concern for me, noticing I had no stuffed plush animal.

Before I could comment on how ridiculous it was, the cash was fronted, and stage was set…tricky carny. To my surprise, the ball was thrown and all three coozies toppled. I thought our trash talking friend was going to have heart failure. My date “got ‘er done” on the first try. Pretty impressive. Now I have a gold frowning lion to go with my bear with the heart shaped nose. Gotta love the fair.

This week musician Allison Moorer is coming to the Dame, Friday the 31st.

I feel sort of silly interviewing the artists who are coming to town. Really, what are they going to say besides, “I love playing Lexington, and my new albums great!”

Allison Moorer, a blues/country singer, (who happens to be Shelby Lynn’s sister) was kind over the phone, and patiently allowed me to spout out some questions she gets everyday.

It pretty much went like I said. Moorer went on about how she enjoyed playing Lexington and hoped for a good crowd, (which she will no doubt receive, being a local favorite). It is also the first stop on her tour, so it will be refreshing for her to be on stage instead of recording. Everything was going well until I asked her what sound she was trying achieve, more country, or more bluesy, or what?

Moorer was quiet. Probably annoyed that despite the several press releases she sent me, I still hadn’t realized that she wasn’t trying to adapt her music to appeal to some market.

She explained, “I’m not trying to fit in to any categories. I’m not trying to fit in any trend. I’m just trying to express myself in the lyrical content of the songs. There’s no grand scheme of what I’m going to do on each album. I follow instincts and I follow my heart. It comes down to if I like it. I f I don’t I can’t expect anyone else to like it, now can I?”

So Moorer plays for herself, and she plays what she likes. Who can argue with that? n