Being Fair to the Fair

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I’m not sure if it is the Jersey in me or some sort of childhood romanticizing over summer fairs, cheap prizes won through games of chance, the sickening smell of cotton candy…but I do love me a carnival/church-lot fair/the ballyhoo of the boardwalk. I also love the blatant commercialism and how crass we can get in the Garden State when trying to sell these diversions to the masses.

Thus, my love for the yearly State Fair Meadowlands.

I think I have walked the concrete parking lot makeshift midway a grand total of three times if my brain can be relied on through the funnel cake powdered sugar ingestion I suffered when I attended the fair each time (and if anything is going to mess with your brain chemistry it is a funnel cake!) I just love the wide variety of summer outfits you get to enjoy on passerby, the sweaty crowd, the youths out vying for attention, the makeshift rides listing this way and that. I love all of it.

Then there are the billboards seen around my North Jersey way advertising the fair in complete inappropriateness (I have yet to see one yet, but I recall one last year advertising some sort of ‘pig’-ness of the proceedings with a picture of a young woman…fantastically Jersey crass). I will be on the lookout for sure.

I dig the low and the cultured, however one might personally define them. But what I especially love is unapologetic turns where folks and institutions are simply laying it all out there and being what they are. And as I say, all the time, and I feel especially these days when cancel culture reigns supreme…if you don’t like something, think it ‘inappropriate,’ rotting the culture from within, any number of the ‘ists’ we currently declare something, then don’t spend your money to attend, or flick the channel or turn away.

In the meantime, here’s to the rest of us; enjoy the State Fair Meadowlands – June 20 – July 7, 2024 (

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