Since that time, a few years ago, I have dragged friend after friend with me to the fair each year, soaking up as much of it as I can to last me until its next arrival
. On some trips I take photos, on others I just wander about, sniffing the air, touching the animals and rough wood walls of their stalls, sampling the goodies that I find at tiny food carts scattered throughout the grounds, and romping through the funhouses. On some trips I'm lucky enough to have a friend with me that does NOT get motion-sick, and I ride the rides with glee.
Every year I can hardly contain myself the week before the fair starts, and every year it's difficult to leave on the last night. The fair is a transient thing, a fleeting mirage that we fill and empty within the tides of several days, and then abandon to its migrations. Would it be possible to fill an entire season with travels to different fairs across the country? Someday I'd like to find out, but meanwhile I'll enjoy the fairs that Maine has to offer me.
The Cumberland County Fair is my first fair and continues to be my favorite. As a small child I attended it with my parents and my younger brothers, and to this day the smell of the fairgrounds' approach sends shivers of excitement down my arms and back, and a big grin to my face. After my childhood history with the fair, there was a long gap of time (almost 20 years) in which I didn't go to it, only returning in recent years. My first visit back was filled with trepidation -- I was worried that the fair couldn't possibly compare to my childhood recollections of it. But no such tarnish had marred the fair of today for me, I found, as I launched my eager steps through its gate on my first return.