Several weeks ago, a friend of mine approached me about heading to his hometown in East Tennessee to be a judge at the county fair show. While I was trying to decide if I wanted to make the trip, Bobby Jo called me with a hint of desperation in her voice, and I couldn’t say no. This adventure screamed hilarity, and I couldn’t resist. And let me say…it did not disappoint.
My roommate and I set off for Jamestown, TN, and arrived at the Fentress County Fair with much anticipation. As we walked to our special table, set 2 feet back from the white lattice lining the stage, I quickly realized flip flops were NOT a good idea. As I picked sawdust out of my toes, one considerate cowboy pointed out: ‘ya shoulda worn boots.’ Thank you, kind sir.
Before the festivities kicked off, I gave the MC a short blurb about myself to share with the crowd. I told her I was a marketing manager at a record label. In 30 minute intervals, she proudly told the crowd I was a marketing major for the remainder of the night. Credibility gone. Why do I need credibility at this small town fair? Outsiders are like celebrities in this town. I didn’t want to disappoint.
The show started off simply enough. One contestant in category one. Winner. However, category two got a little more tricky. TWO contestants. Or so we thought… Apparently little Ellie got lost and missed her chance to shine onstage. Actually, she was probably looking for her shoes. She apparently didn’t find them since she went onstage barefoot. Can’t say we didn’t try. We paused the show for 10 minutes to wait for her. But don’t worry, we let her perform during a set change later on.
Since our table was only 2 feet in front of the stage, we had a great view. So great a view, in fact, that I’m pretty sure the contestants could see my scorecard. I actually got paranoid and covered it with my hand. Some were so bold as to stare deep into my eyes when they sang. I kept my sunglasses on after dark. Unfortunately, my sunglasses did not block out the view of Elvis’ boxer briefs. Points lost for costume choice. White is not a good idea, Elvis.
While the judges were tabulating scores after each category, the MC entertained us with lists of what was to come at the fair. My personal favorite comment of the night was: ‘The Walking Horse competition is coming up on Thursday. This is always a good time if you have a horse and like to watch it.’
And in case you missed it, the winners of last years ‘Fairest of the Fair’ contest presented the ribbons and prizes in all categories. She only announced it 9 times, and I wanted to make sure you knew.
Oh the rest of the show was pretty standard. You had your dropped mics, your wrong music cues, your bug flying up a dress, jean dresses worn over jeans. Trinity Savage sang ‘Red High Heels’, and I actually flinched when she kicked her foot. I was pretty sure that red high heel was going to smack me in the face. I let her win because I feared for what she might do to me AFTER the show with that stiletto.
All in all, a normal night at the fair.
Would I do it again, you might ask? Well, it made the list of Top Five Most Fun Things I’ve Ever Done. Oh, and I actually got paid.