Palmer Buzz

It’s a remarkable, small city being built at the fair grounds. Hundreds of little structures are now casting new shadows on the earth. They’re made of lumber, pallets, canvas, logs, and metal. Most are very small tiny places. But there are some oversized ones too. Each is designed with the ultimate fairgoer customer in mind. Each has a whole crew of invested builders and proprietors. There is some major creativity in these structures. The walking trails, gardens, signage, trash cans, recycle facilities and restrooms are all part of this grand stage of The Alaska State Fair.

Today, Wednesday, is the first Entry Day for crops and animals—It’s a big evening. This is when thousands of folks bring their vegetables, flowers and chickens to the state fair. It can be an anxious time but the kind superintendents try to make everything welcoming and fun.

Today, Wednesday, is also the Last Day of “Normal” before Fair—The Alaska State Fair begins in one day. It joyfully takes over P-town. There is a celebratory spirit that just accompanies the State Fair. But there are the aggravations that come with the sudden burst of visiting population in Palmer. Wednesday is your last “normal” week before the fair. Get those errands done today so you can enjoy the State Fair without the worrisome stuff hanging over your head.

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Many Animals are Already at Fairgrounds—Some arrived on Tuesday. They are adjusting to their new neighborhood—before the crowds arrive. Some of the pigs are not so happy with some of the other pigs. The sheep are all pretty mellow. The little goats seem to be energized by the atmosphere. The rabbits are relaxing as normal. It’s the poultry that seem to have a lot to say and in particular, the geese. If you want to hear some complaints, just ask the darn geese.

Palmer Pedestrian Nirvana—Walking, wandering, prancing or strolling—The Alaska State Fair is pedestrian! For people that like to walk, there is simply nothing like the fair. Attaching a Fit-bit or a pedometer will be a rewarding reveal.

The First Day of the Fair is Thursday—The transformation is complete and Thursday is time for the State Fair Takeover. Schedules will change, along with traffic patterns, work-shifts, and chore lists. It is the 12 days where life is defined by different food offerings, circus attractions, show and tell stories, and events we remember for the rest of our lives. How fortunate we are to have this big and wonderful experience right in our front yard. Yes, there will be some traffic snarls and yes there will be many strangers in town, but all in all it is a terrific annual experience.

Whiners will say, “It’s the Same Old Fair,” But Whiners are Wrong— There are thousands of brand new entries in the exhibits sections of the fair. These entries include original pieces of art, sculpture, fireweed wine, clay yarn bowls, wooden spools, exotic quilts, renaissance dresses, stuffed handmade elves, woven tapestries, and photographs—so beautiful—it will make you cry.

Fair Food is Ridiculously Great—Can you smell the sizzling hot turkey legs, spicy pork chops on a stick, soft, hot funnel waffles, strawberries and cream, fresh peaches, salmon quesadilla, oysters on the half shell, reuben sandwiches, soft warm cookies fresh from the oven, spun cotton candy, sugary and salty popcorn in huge bags, corn on the cob and reindeer sausage.

Watch the World Walk By—The Alaska State Fair is the best venue to sit and watch. You will see your neighbors and the rest of the community. The best part of people watching is the opportunity to see and talk with folks you normally don’t see. This is one of the joys of traveling to different places…but with the State Fair you don’t have to drive thousands of miles or fly for 5 hours.

Take a moment to appreciate all the diversity in this state and the richness that comes with it at the Alaska State Fair.

Barbara Hunt is both Palmer writer and artist. She works hard to keep the robust pulse of Palmer, Alaska. She shares the good stuff and occasional reviews on the weekly Palmer Alaska Buzz in the Mat Su Valley Frontiersman and daily on the Palmer Alaska Buzz Facebook Group. Contact at bhunt@mtaonline.net

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