If I'm gonna sleep outside in a tent, I better get the whole package: campfire, sparklers, marshmallows, and glow sticks. All of which provide excellent nighttime photography opportunities, except for the marshmallows, which are just gooey and delicious.
Paul provided the sparklers—thin, metal sticks with erratic fire-throwing capabilities. We found out that if you stick an entire box in the fire, it doesn't explode; it just melts in a shriveling manner, like a dying soul that turns into nothingness. That was kind of disappointing.
I like my marshmallows carbonized—stick it in the fire until it becomes a tiny torch, then let it burn in inescapable flaming doom for a few seconds. Result: a blackened crisp, super-fine shell—like a dry, dead leaf—filled with molten sticky, sweet, white goo. I think I ate three before I started to feel gross.
And then came the light sticks, those marvelous tubes of bright fluorescent chemicals...oh, what things you can do with long exposure photography. Here are some highlights:
Lee Anne wrote my name!
And drew a Poofy!
And drew a squid-like thing!
And then we had a glow stick fight. I'm yellow. Haha. I AM YELLOW. BECAUSE I'M CHINESE.
And then I went to bed. And woke up.
Unlike the previous sun-blinding, sweat-soaked morning, I woke up to cool, gray skies. Less sun = less sweat = score!
The day of the Louisa County Agricultural Fair had finally come. That time of the year when the people of Louisa show off their prized sheep, cows, pigs, produce, pies, and other things I didn't know categories existed for in a large field with tents and other mostly temporary forms of shelter. And we were greeted by...
Along with a very friendly baby cow. Aw.
Our first stop was the sheep judging event, where Tristan's brother, Fletcher, was being judged. How are sheep judged? I...don't know. In my eyes, all the sheep looked pretty much the same: trim, shaved, and quadrupedal. But oh, there's so much more, according to this sheep judging guide. Basically, no fatties or skinnies. I wish I had looked over that site beforehand so that watching the judge go around to each sheep and inspect its butt while squishing its backside would've made more sense.
We moved to the back of the field to the performance stage where the Orange County Cloggers, a dance group of young girls, were clogging up a storm. That is, dancing in clogs. Some looked quite enthused, while others looked like they were an inch away from falling asleep if they weren't...dancing. No matter their emotion though, they all looked cute. And that's what matters: looking cute for your audience.
And then it was time to get the best form of fried dough ever: funnel cake.
It didn't take long for the ropes of batter to turn into a golden nest of tangled crispy, chewy awesomeness. Burning hot awesomeness because we ate it almost straight from the vat of burning hot oil, after it was sufficiently blanketed in powdered sugar and cinnamon.
PRE-DEVOURING. SO PRISTINE.
It was a very good 30 seconds.
While walking through the livestock area, I pet a pig. It was a very solid pig. A very...meaty pig. Tristan made sure to constantly remind me that these cute animals were part of my regular diet. My non-vegan diet. Well. Pork is tasty in so many ways. That may not be the best excuse, but it's all I've got.
Kevin Lewis knows what I'm talking about. Spareribs and bologna—bring it on.
But the best poster was Fletcher's, which documented his victorious sheep.
Other fun activities included pretending to be hay-filled humans.
And tossing toilet seats.
Look at prize-winning produce was more fun than I thought it would be. This garlic for instance...what kind of garlic looks like that? THE HEAVENLY GARLIC OF LOUISA. It was all glowy and shimmery to the point where I thought it might have had some invisible electrified forcefield around it to keep out the taint of human hands. I didn't get close enough to find out.
More pretty vegetables.
And some more.
There was also the Potted Boot Planter award.
And the Cursed Bunny Who Transformed Into Foliage award.
Don't forget about the baked goods! The best pies, cakes, and cookies of Louisa, all on display, all not available for eating.
Thank god there was barbecue nearby.
I shared the barbecue dinner with Lee Anne—a plate full of moist, sauce-covered chopped pork, baked beans, cole slaw, french fries, and a roll as soft as an angel's...pillow. But I ate it wrong. Because I didn't put the cole slaw on the pork (although I assure you, I ate them together the same way that I eat rice with anything else). Because of this, Tristan said that everyone below the Mason-Dixon line hates me. Yeah, they can hate me, but I'll still love their barbecue.
Around the corner from the barbecue station was a Hawaiian shave ice truck. Damn, Louisa's got it all.
There were too many flavors to choose from. Why, why must there be so many tough decisions to make in life? I was almost driven to ordering the Suicide, a purple-ish mixture of every flavor that tasted like nothing discernible, to avoid making a more reasonable decision.
Thanks to Lee Anne, we got Red and Blue Raspberry. Did they taste like raspberry? I couldn't say for sure, but they were definitely better than the Suicide, which we sampled from Lihan's mostly unfinished cup. The ice was more fluffy than crunchy, and although it was probably miles away from the real Hawaiian stuff, it was way better than other shaven ice desserts I've had in my life.
The day ended with watching kids lead their pigs around the livestock ring, which involved much pig butt-thumping.
And that was my Louisa County Agricultural Fair experience. I highly recommend it. If anyone wants to join me for LCAF 2009, let me know.