Reporter offers notes from opening day of Walworth County Fair
ELKHORN Deep-fried, chocolate-covered bacon.
The Walworth County Fair opened Wednesday—stop thinking about the bacon—and this year’s theme is “It’s a Boat Load of Bacon.”
No, sorry, that’s, “It’s a Boat Load of Fun.”
Despite all the fabulous and engaging people, animals, machines and insects I saw at the fair, I can’t get the deep-fried, chocolate-covered bacon out of my head.
So let’s deal with the accursed bacon first, and then move on to some more substantial things, such as undertaker bees, U.S. Supreme Court decisions and the important question, “Who’s a good boy?”
-- The bacon treat in question comes from a food stand across from treasurer’s office. It’s $4 a serving. When I made a horrified face and recoiled from the stand, a man from a small family group assured me that it was pretty good. He said the batter tastes somewhat like pancakes.
I didn’t try one. First, because I was afraid, and second, because I needed my pants to fit on the drive home.
I told my brother, Jim, about the chocolate-bacon debacle. He said, “You know, that would depend on the quality of the chocolate.”
I think he’s missing the point.
-- The Lakeland Animal Shelter’s booth is down the alley from the bacon stand. There, you’ll find pet toys, pet-related gifts, cool T-shirts and animals looking for a home.
Wednesday’s featured pets were Sadie, a Boston terrier mix and Bijou, a breed my dad refers to as a “soma,” as in “some of this, some of that, some of the other.”
Both dogs came from a home where the owner had died. Volunteers described the pets as “mellow.” Despite the flow of visitors in and out of the tent, the dogs remained calm, accepting scratches and pats on the head as their due.
-- While Sadie and Bijou were hanging out, Shannon Wolfe’s dogs were racing across the grassy field on the western side of the fair grounds, rounding up a small pack of annoyed sheep.
Cisco, a black and white border collie, zipped across the grass at the speed of a double espresso, herding sheep and responding to Wolfe’s brief commands.
At one point in the show, Wolfe invited a group of kids to try and herd the sheep over to a tree.
While Cisco watched in amused silence, the pack of kids ran willy-nilly after the sheep. At one point, Cisco got up and leaned forward, as though he was getting ready to herd both the kids and sheep into a tight circle, just to make everything tidy.
But being a good boy, he waited until his master gave him instructions.
-- Worker dogs, worker bees. In the Barnyard Adventure area, I learned that hives contain nine kinds of bees, each with a different role. For example, nurse bees nurse, feed and care for young bees; guard bees guard; construction bees build the hive; and heating and cooling bees keep the hive at the right temperature.
I can just imagine the heating and cooling bees in the hive basement trying to relight the furnace pilot. Meanwhile, upstairs, the surly old bees are telling everybody to put on a sweater.
My favorite bee category is the undertaker. That creature’s job is to remove the dead bees from the hive.
While at the bee display, I learned that bees have five eyes and don’t see red—though they do see blue, yellow and ultraviolet.
-- You say to-may-toe, I say to-maa-toe, the U.S. Supreme Court says vegetable. In the vegetable garden in the Barnyard Adventure area, I learned that sunflowers are members of the lettuce family, and that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes are vegetables, even though they are botanically fruit.
In 1893, in a case involving tariffs on vegetables, the court determined that the tomato is a vegetable because it’s usually served with dinner and not dessert.
-- The fair runs through Monday, Sept. 5. That means there are only five more days for deep-fried, chocolate-covered bacon. I’m getting mine Saturday. I’ll let you know how it goes.