Rabbit sausage was pretty good

Published 7:45 am Thursday, August 20, 2009

My favorite day at the 2009 Mower County Fair this year was Sunday.

Good weather, large crowd, something going on for everyone’s interest, surprises, fiddle music and no Fair Board directors.

I didn’t see a one.

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No purple shirts roaring around the fairgrounds in the four-wheelers.

No purple shirts holding impromptu meetings in the middle of the street, blocking pedestrian traffic while they discuss important things like who can eat the most corn dogs.

No purple shirts coming up with “great” ideas like, “It rained Saturday night and it’s all muddy on the south end of the fairgrounds. Let’s announce mud bog races for people in scooter chairs. We’ll charge people $20 to watch and make enough money to buy new purple shirts and buy extra donuts for our daily meetings next year.”

I told my driver to park on a side street to avoid being shaken down at the fairgrounds gate by a volunteer Grace Lutheran Church parking attendant gone rogue.

After a week of standing in the sun charging $40 a vehicle to park on the fairgrounds, they were getting testy on the last day of the 125th Mower County Fair.

You say it was supposed to be $4 a vehicle?

No wonder so many drivers ran over my feet at the Eighth Avenue lot Saturday night.

It has been a Bonorden family tradition to take my daughter and her children to the fair each Sunday, and we did it again this year.

We started our tour in the sheep barn. They live in the Twin Cities and don’t get to see farm animals up close.

As we strolled through the sheep barn, their small arms reaching into the pens to pet a sheep, one of them turned his back to us.

“Oooh, what are these Grandpa?” a granddaughter asked me.

I squinted into the darkness and observed two perfectly round spheres hanging between the sheep’s cheeks.

Taking a breath, I told her, “Those are part of the male sheep’s genitalia commonly called “testicles.”

There was silence until my 9-year-old grandson announced, “He means ‘balls.’”

We meandered in and out of the livestock buildings without any more animal sex education questions and made our way to the children’s barnyard; arguably one of the most popular attractions for families at the Mower County Fair.

We saw Reggie, the 1,300-pound boar pig. Fortunately, he was lying in straw and not exposing himself to my clumsy attempts at identifying his body parts.

Jeff Rickerl thrust a 3-week-old goat into my arms, and the grandchildren got a picture of that.

One of the pleasures of visiting the county fair is seeing friends.

Jim Sathre, like so many other proud 4-H parents, told me how his son, Steven, and daughter, Kara, did showing their livestock projects and how he did in open class competition.

Keith and Dorene Voorhees, of Adams, joined the conversation when the talkative Sathre allowed them.

Somewhere along the line, a lady offered me to try rabbit sausage.

Not wanting to sound rude, I tried a slice, and it tasted pretty good. It would have tasted better had we not been standing and eating outside the 4-H rabbit building.

When I caught up with the grandchildren, one of them asked what I was eating. I told them “rabbit,” and they didn’t say another word to me until we got to the carnival midway, and they said “money” for tickets on the rides.

But first we saw the Amazing Cannonball Smith, shot from a cannon, over a 45-foot ferris wheel and into a net. That was the hit of the county fair for me.

He’s 67 years old and does this for a living.

This week, he’s at the Steele County Fair, thrilling crowds again.

Afterward, the only ugly incident at the county fair occurred when Lloyd Amick and Gene Block stopped me.

Block was easy to spot in a bright yellow T-shirt. Amick wore the traditional brown uniform of the Mower County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, who provide security at the fair.

Apparently, Block is prone to wandering off and getting lost as his bright yellow T-shirt makes it easier for the Posse to find their boss.

Block was a little too quick on the draw when he started dangling handcuffs in my face, so i quickly took a grandchild for a ride on the ferris wheel.

Fortunately, Block and Amick can’t read lips as I yelled at them when we reached the peak of our Ferris Wheel ride.

The rest of the Sunday afternoon at the Mower County Fair was a blur. The grandchildren rode the Zipper, Kamikaze, Hurricane, Starship and other “I Can’t Believe Sane People Would Do That” kind of rides for people may age.

We left the fairgrounds richer for the experience, but poorer in grandpa’s wallet.

“There’s an ATM over there,” my grandson pointed out.

“Keep moving,” I replied. “There’s a mean looking man in a yellow T-shirt with a deputy in a cowboy hat talking on a radio with a large group of people in purple shirts following them on 4-wheelers.”

“I must have eaten the Fair Board’s rabbit.”

It was a great 125th Mower County Fair.

Congratulations to all!