Bright neon lights, the sound of milk bottles being knocked over with a proclamation of, "We have a winner," and the smell of funnel cakes brought back a lot of great memories for me this weekend.
The Quay County Fair is an annual event, which — if my memory serves me — has gone for at least five years without a full midway. That's the fairgoer term for the rides, food vendors and game booths.
There are always our regular events which have come to be tradition, such as the Shepherd's Lead, live stock shows, horseshow and exhibit hall.
But a midway adds a certain feel to a fair. As a child I can remember going to the fair and being entranced by those bright neon lights on the rides. Those wondrous beacons of fun were calling out to me, "Come see what we have to offer."
I did not know it then, but those lights always had a way of making things look so much more glamorous. The prizes were four times bigger and the victories were always just a few more tickets away.
Now don't get me wrong, I won my share of fair prizes. In fact I got my first "Scarface" poster at a fair, long before I even knew about Tony Montana. Needless to say, my mom was not to happy about that poster, and it only found a home on the back of my bedroom door.
I could always leave the fair with either a poster, a medium-sized stuffed animal or a small glass-covered photo wrapped in a white cardboard. I still have one with Garfield and his teddy bear. It's great to remember, except when I think of how much I spent "winning" them.
As I cruised through the fair last week with my cheese on a stick and hand-dipped corndog, a child walked past me, holding a giant inflatable hammer. No one was really paying it much mind. It was an inflatable hammer, soon to be deflated and lost at the bottom of a toy box.
For the kid, though, and the kid within me? That hammer meant victory.
Thomas Garcia is the senior writer for the Quay County Sun. He can be contacted at 461-1952, or by email: