It’s festival time!
I’m getting settled back into the country lifestyle in my hometown near Dayton, Ohio. Fairborn is a neighboring community that annually hosts a festival called the Sweet Corn Festival. Despite growing up less than 20 minutes from where this festival is held, I can’t recall ever attending.
My family isn’t one for crowds. We rarely attended festivals or large community events. We’re stay-in-and-play-cards people. When we did attend festivals during my childhood it was miserable for me, so I’ve never really gone as an adult. I suspect I was still having terrible flashbacks.
It’s hazy, but I know I’m at the Preble County Pork Festival. I’m helping my mom carry bags filled with crafts, and giving my opinion on which is the cuter fake snowman. Having no concept of time, it seemed like my life was being wasted away. All my friends would be getting married and having kids while I’d be looking at grape-vine wreathes. My father and siblings at the all you can eat pancake breakfast, it was a job that only I could do.
That’s what I got for being the “good child” – extra responsibility. I’m sure you’ve been in a similar situation: when you’re the best at something so you always have to be the one to do it. Sometimes it just sucks being so awesome. C’est la vie. 😉 At least when we went to McDonalds for lunch afterwords I got to order whatever I wanted. On the other hand, my siblings had to order off the dollar menu. As the mothers of my lineage say: “it all comes out in the wash”.
Now, in my late 20’s, I’ve managed to get over my aversion to festivals. I’ll seize any opportunity for some free entertainment – especially in this little podunk town! With fall approaching, the festivals are beginning!
The Corn Eating Contest
Checking the roster online, a corn eating contest at 1 pm caught my eye. I knew I wanted to check this out! Since I’d never seen an eating contest in person before, it was on my “1sts” list. I imagined it would be like the burger eating contest from the movie Beethoven 2. Curiosity itching, it was off to the corn eating contest I went!
The contestants sit at a table and face their opponent. Standing behind them is the corn-holder. Yes, that’s a job – someone to hold the corn for the person eating in the competition. A pitcher of melted butter travels down the table, the contestants do their best to drown their cob in the liquid gold. Setting the corn down on their plates, get ready…get set…GO!
The two contestants at the end begin their race, trying to eat the corn off the cob (held by the corn holders) as quickly as possible. Once they finish, the corn holders hop to the next contestant down the line and so on, until one line finishes.
Enjoy this shamelessly-taken video.
While nothing like eating contests I’d seen in the movies, it was a total hoot to watch! I’ve thought about entering into some sort of eating contest, but my belt has been the little voice of reason in my mind. Now, if there was a sushi eating contest…you can count me in! In fact, make it a double header baby! Yeehaw! Okay, now I need to go look up national sushi eating contests.
For the love of dogs!
After there was a corn eater crowned champion, I turned to explore the rest of the festival. One thing I immediately noticed was the high amount of dogs, and dog related booths, all around me.
Coming from spending the last 5 months around “free”, aka stray, dogs (except for the dog cafe in Hong Kong), it was weird to see all of these happy domesticated dogs milling around. Big dogs, little dogs, fat dogs, skinny dogs and hot dogs – everywhere! With plenty of wagging tails around, I stopped for AMLAPAP (as many licks and pats as possible).
Since I’m currently low on dollars, I mostly walked around, observing the people around me. I took a seat in front of a band that was performing ‘cartoon music’, listening to the songs and trying to guess which cartoons it was from. I know for sure I guessed The Simpsons and The Jetsons, but didn’t recognize many of the others.
While enjoying the music and sunshine, I took a moment to look at the people around me. One of my biggest hobbies over the last few months has been people watching – it’s quite fascinating. I love to see people helping other people, cute couples, and listen to people laughing and having fun.
When I moved away to Chicago several years ago, I was glad to be out of Ohio. I was proud to have escaped. I had always talked about how much I hated living there, how boring it was, how small it was and how I wanted to get out. I hung out with people who felt the same – trapped in freakin’ Ohio.
One of my aunts, Lyla, always keeps busy with interesting stuff. She’s always doing one cool thing or another, right now she’s building fairy gardens (so jelly). I remember her talking about how great of a place Dayton was to live. She’d say how much culture there was, how many classes there were to take, and events there were to go to. I never ‘got’ this. Dayton sucked. It was boring here, there was nothing to do and no culture at all. What was she talking about?
Sitting at the street corn festival today, I wonder if maybe I just wasn’t old enough to appreciate living in Dayton. I’ve seen signs for free workshops at Home Depot, open book discussions at the library, and plenty of venues to learn new things like martial arts or farming. I could do a lot of personal growth here!
With this realization, I had a great time at the sweet corn festival today. I’m looking forward to the two other festivals I have on my calendar over the next few weeks. Maybe I’ll even ask my folks if we can drive down to the Prebble County Pork Festival – I think I’m old enough to appreciate it now.
Does your hometown have any festivals that you always attend? What do you love about them? I’d love to know – maybe they’ll make my travel list!