N and I drove around to see the sights, including the airport, the truck stop, the grain elevator (for trains), the grain transfer unit (for trucks) and an antique store. (I was hoping to come across an old guitar on the cheap. I found one that I liked, but didn't recognize the manufacturer and didn't feel like shelling out $155 for it.) We didn't see any trains except for the hopper cars at the grain elevator (nor did we stop at the tracks), but we did enjoy ourselves.
Afterwards, we met D, M, Angie and Rachel at the fair to checkout the livestock before heading out to Danny's parents farm to see the horses. At the fair we saw the cattle (which had already been shown), sheep, rabbits, chickens, goats and pigs. They were in the process of judging the sheep and rabbits, which the kids found interesting. It was nice to have them see for themselves something other than life in the suburbs. When the emcee (head judge? host?) indicated the market sheep would be judged next, M drew back in disgust. "You mean they're going to sell them at the market?" she gasped. "I'm never going to eat meat again!" When Rachael called her on it, she changed her tune. "Well, except for chickens."
We didn't get in a full ride this year due to time constraints (Mariah had to be at work at 5p), so she simply led M around the yard on Ginger. I tried to ride, but Ginger wouldn't think of it. All she wanted to do was head back to the barn in hopes of joining her fellow equines out in the field. Oh well, maybe next year.
That night, we hit the tractor pull. M's description of it was loud, whereas N's description of it was "Awesome!" After a while, though, even N had his fill. D took the kids to ride the rides while Danny and I stayed to take in the tractors. It was fun, to say the least. Not only did the tractors provide a great source of entertainment, but so did the people-watching. Sitting high up in the stands, I was able to see not only the crowd in the grandstands, but was also able to look down at the crowd milling around the fair. It was interesting to see such a different slice of Americana than I was used to, but it also reinforced how lucky I am to be surrounded by such a wide array of people, not only from across the country but from around the world. Small town life has its positives, but one of the negatives that is easily seen is it's insularity and isolation from different things.