May 10, 2005
Our state fair is a great state fair,
Don’t miss it, don’t even be late.
It’s dollars to donuts
That our state fair
Is the best state fair in our state.
—“State Fair” lyrics by Roger Hammerstein
I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m in such a slump. What is WITH me? How many two-ball UFOs can a person have lying around the house? How much unfocused, ill-conceived, misdirected knitting can I stand? At what point do I start selling off the stash on eBay?
I clearly need a little focus. I’ve been thinking, and it occurs to me that a goal would help. I mean, David has his piano recital. Clif has the climactic end-of-year preschool circus. Hubbo has, uh, work and stuff. If I were more organized, I’d join that Master Knitting thing, but somehow I don’t think I could stomach hearing the brutal truth about my knitting skills.
I finally figured it out. I’m going to enter the state fair.
The Tennessee State Fair, like just about any state fair, has pig races, milking demos, funnel cakes, and plenty of mules. It also has a building that was known for many years as the Women’s Building, where all the non-cow-related, female-only competitions took place. Canning, baking, needlework. Needlework, you say?
When David was small, I’d take him to the state fair to see the goats. We’d wander through the Women’s Building, now called Creative Arts, and there would be pickled okra, jars of tomatoes, and a whole lot of smoked hams. I loved trying to figure out why that one particular apple pie got the blue ribbon.
And needlework: I’d see loads of smocking, sewing, crocheting, and knitting in dusty glass cases. The collective domestic effort of all these women was palpable. I was transported back to 1945.
The deadline for the 100th annual Tennessee State Fair Creative Arts Needlecraft competition is August 30, and the fair ends September 18. I think I can cook something up in time to enter. The rules are totally complicated, and there are tons of categories. I love that.
If anybody would like to return to 1945 with me, let me know. I would love to do some blue-ribbon knitting with other like-minded folks. There are state fairs in every state–even Hawaii, though I’m not sure that every state has needlework competitions. It’s a quick Google to find out about your state’s fair.
If you don’t have a state (you know, if you live in another part of the world), send your stuff to me and I’ll enter it in the Tennessee State Fair for you. Nancy (so friendly!) at the State Fair office says anyone can enter, so I see no reason why somebody in, say, Denmark, shouldn’t go for a blue ribbon.
Must run–I’ve got knitting to do!