1907 - 2007
by Lin Stone
The 2007 Oklahoma State Fair
Click on any small picture for a larger version.
The exactly spaced exhibits are fascinating. Interest Builds Immediately when you step through the gate to see the archs and the water fountain up ahead. Thousands of man-hours have gone into the preparation for the Centennial State Fair, and much of the work is still going on even as the gates open.
Before the magic begins for Princess Wishes the hard, rough work is there to be done by roustabouts. This rough looking scene will be the smooth, polished Disney Ice Follies arena when they finish. The police chased us out shortly after this picture was taken. Only the workers are supposed to see where the sweet magic comes from. Paying spectators will be privileged to see the glamour and glitz modern technology and LOTS OF PRACTICE can produce to bedazzle us with.
The police were very much in evidence everywhere we went. They were unobtrusive, but they were there and they were watching professionally for any unseemly activity. The Oklahoma City Police were especially neat, trim and professional. Seeing them there and noting the way they performed brought vast reassurance to the constant sweep and flow of strangers around us.
The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Deputies were mostly outside forces. They were mounted on fast four wheelers and were constantly speeding from one place to another, though I never observed what required so much speed and derring vu.
Bands, live Bands, were playing intoxicating music, and strangely, it mixed quite well as you walked through them.
The only real disturbance were the children just getting old enough to run who sometimes escaped a parent's watchful eye. Low to the ground and scooting fast one does have to be careful for them. Baby strollers of every fashion are being wheeled through the throng on every side. For the handicapped the electric wheel chairs whiz patrons faster than others can walk.
Every ride at the fair was filled to capacity with lines of people waiting eagerly their turn to get on. The only thing lacking was a shirt for sale that said, "Been There, Done That."
Money is being spent like it was water. People think nothing of plunking down fifty to a hundred dollars for what they want from the vendors. Food sells as fast as you can dish it up.
Anyone with an interest can set up a booth and exhibit information or give samples of their pet projects. Every entity from birdhouse manufacturers or insurance companies to the Forest Service have their top negotiators on hand to greet the public at a lavish booth. If the product can be demonstrated they leap to put it into action. The bluebird house manufacturer was showing how to raise and lower the bottom portion of his multiple occupancy birdhouse to clean it, or to see what was inside. He was giving away booklets on Lore Of The Purple Martin, and explaining how to feed birds, how to watch out for them to ensure their survival.
On down the line the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry was distributing brochures that explained how we could be planting trees and shrubs to improve wildlife habitat. Sandwiched in between were sewing machine demonstrations, foot protection, air purifiers, storm protection, emergency foods, rock salt crystal lamps, how to legally carry a concealed weapon -- as provided by the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, breast cancer awareness, foot massagers, back massagers, spas by the dozen, landscaping made easy, home electric and gas implementation, and What Farms Produce took up a whole building. The Weggie booth showed truckers how to give longer life to their tarps and things. Then there was the EVERYTHING FOR YOUR OUTDOOR LIVING ROOM exhibit which showed some of the products available from their 75,000 square feet Yukon showroom.
The demonstration that fascinated me most was a drill set. The guy in overalls was showing us how the bit could bite through any substance known to man in a matter of seconds. Shells, brick, tile, whatever, all were zipped through with effortless ease. Then he demonstrated a cutting assembly that let him cut metal panes in any direction, effortlessly. No, better than effortlessly, the metal slabs were cut through easier than a jig saw goes through thin, soft wood. There was no burring on any of the cuts, and there was NO HEAT conveyed to the metal. Now, that amazed me.
One of the most beautiful displays there was the one by Garden Ponds. Their slogan, Cheaper Than Therapy, grabbed instant attention.
There were trick roping exhibitions, Plains Indian Dancers, Flute Players, Racing Pigs, a whole big line of Big Cats which had either three or four full grown white tigers, not to mention a large assortment of younger tigers. One cute little half grown tiger spotted activity behind her cage and was constantly searching for a way to get out and investigate. One full grown tiger responded to the attendant's voice by rearing up against the steel webs and asking for a good rubbing. "I've been holding her since she was THIS little!" she explained. She would take cameras from patrons and get close up shots of the big beasties for them. There were also leopards in the cages. All of the cats performed well and without any visible signs of stress.
There were numerous arenas for demonstrating talents of assorted variety. Except for at the Baddest Trucks on the Planet, participation for those events I went to were far too light to warrant the expense of coming to perform.
The Tundra Prove It exhibition made mountains out of molehills right at the fair so that people could test drive their truck in a simulated rugged environment.
On top of all that you'll find sheep, cows, horses, hobbies, arts, crafts, the latest and greatest technology on earth. It is ALL here at the State Fair this year. Keep coming back till you've seen it all.
* The End *
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