A coastal county fair in the rain

A Sunday afternoon in July. The sky is gray, and it’s raining on the last day of the Lincoln County Fair. I see people walking around in their hoodies, a guy in the grandstand singing and playing guitar, not a soul in the audience. Everything is half empty and tired-looking: ponies waiting for somebody to ride them; carnival rides, half running, one little boy in the lady bug cars; pigs, cows and sheep in the animal barn, unaware that they’re future food; chickens, goats, and rabbits, a duck swimming in a plastic pool; back exhibit hall almost empty, a few knit and crocheted items and one case of baked breads and pies. The main hall echoes with a guy giving violin demos as people wander past booths selling jewelry and kitchen knives or advertising local causes, and stare at the snakes and lizards in the reptile exhibit. Outside, a few people line up to buy elephant ears and sausage dogs. There’s nothing happening in the rodeo area. Best action is at the Pick of the Litter thrift store where I scored some 50-cent CDS, $1 picture frames and a piano book. Like the buildings it occupies, the county fair is tired and falling apart, but it keeps going.

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