News Columns & Blogs

To know state fairs is to know America

Noting that state fairs are struggling such that Michigan even abandoned its fair tradition for budget reasons, Tony Woodlief prepared for his family's annual trek to the Kansas State Fair by writing an appreciation of fairgoing for the Wall Street Journal. A taste: "Fairs embody our roots in agriculture, entrepreneurship and rabble-rousing. Where else can you, in a matter of minutes, buy a tractor, ride a camel, sample the latest in waterless car-washing technology, marvel over a 20-pound cucumber and then saunter a few hundred feet to hear Hank Williams Jr. belt out 'Family Tradition'? Let's face it: no matter how sophisticated we become, a life-size statue of Elvis sculpted from 800 pounds of butter will always fascinate us. And if you don't understand this, then I'm afraid you don't understand America."