Our Palmer AK campground, Mountain View, has us living closer to the Alaska State Fair than 99 percent of all Alaskans. Great timing, the fair is just getting started. Everything was clean, everyone is excited, the vegetables and cakes and pies still look pretty darned good.
Flowering plants are fabulous in Alaska. No matter where we visit we see magnificent blooms on dahlias, begonias, petunias, others. These two are blue ribbon winners.
We’ve heard of giant Alaskan cabbages. These aren’t the giants, they’re just the largest exhibited and judged ones. The cabbage on the right weighed in at 89.4 pounds. We’ll miss the annual cabbage weighing, not until next week will THE giants arrive.
Dozens of bags full of wool are arrayed on the shelves. Three women spun wool into yarn, and none admitted to knowing what project the yarn was for. One said she might use it in a couple of years. Reminds me of our travels where the journey is the destination. Spinning is a reward in its own right.
We asked one of the women if she was born here. “Oh no”, she said, “I move here 21 years ago, had always wanted to see Alaska. Weirdest thing, one day AAA sent me an Alaska travel packet unbidden. The next day my church listed a caregiver need in Palmer Alaska in our bulletin. Soon after my husband received a cold call inviting him to work in Palmer if he could get there within four days. We loved it and are still here.”
Time to refuel, we stopped first for “North Carolina” barbecue sandwiches. They got it sorta close — it wasn’t pulled pork but the sauce was really good. Next to St Michael Catholic Church’s counter, the Fair’s friendliest family food place for over 33 years. Their strawberry-rhubarb pie was, in their words, “to die for.” The berry-berry pie was darned good too. Now we’re ready to hit it again, finish the fair.
The ducks and chickens were fun to see, we had no idea there are so many different types. We saw lots and lots of beautiful quilts. Few tractors are on display, all in gorgeous condition and actively caressed and dusted. “Our Body”, a display of carved-up cadavers and parts, was sponsored by the Mat-Su Health System. The exhibit seemed very popular.
More than the rides, more than the exhibit halls, more than everything than food places, are the number of hot tub vendors at the fair. Not so much variety, but lots and lots of folks are competing for your hot tub dollars. We could have bought a five- or seven-person tub for $6,000 off, a “Fair” savings.
An expensive date for the dreamstreamrs, this evening cost us over $50. Parking $5, admission $22, supper $16, pie and coffee $10. This was our first Alaska State Fair, we wouldn’t have missed it for the world. And it was nice to be able to tell folks we talked to, “we love your state”. They light up when you say it, and we do too because we really mean it.
We’re back to Mountain View Campground. Friday we’ll visit a few more places in Palmer before we pack up for Valdez. See you later!
Jim and Debbie
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