A bit of a digression for this week’s post, if you’ll indulge me. I haven’t been to any quality yardsales in weeks. I think this must be what it felt like to be in East Berlin before the wall came down. Oh, sure, I’ve visited a few; but the most exciting thing I found was a stuffed monkey with the hilarious t-shirt “Ape 3:21” (a play on the popular 1990s wrestling slogan “Austin 3:16,” cleverly parodied via the use of three random numbers that have no meaning whatsoever). That said, I think it’s safe to assume that the type of person who enjoys silly jokes and pictures about yardsales would also enjoy silly jokes and pictures of community farm fairs; if I’m wrong, well…
Take it up with the goat.
Just like with the thrift store I posted about before, I’m omitting the actual name of the farm fair because I’m terrified of the idea that anyone involved might Google it, find my blog, and discover that I made fun of their fancy chickens. This is a legitimate concern; you weren’t there. You don’t know how seriously these people take their fancy chickens. Some of the hens appeared to be better groomed than me. Suffice it to say that the fair is “somewhere in Connecticut,” and part of its name is also part of your own human body, unless your head is just kind of suspended in space above your shoulders. (Don’t laugh; it’s a serious condition. I believe they’re called “airheads.”)
First up: BUNNIES!
Got you. Okay, for real:
Would you look at that face? Granted, I wanted to take home basically every bunny that was entered into the “let’s see who can look the most pitifully adorable” competition, but this one looked especially pathetic with his front paws sopping up his tiny water dish that was already half-filled with wood chips.
Meanwhile, in the “ears so long a second bunny could probably use them to climb up into the cage” contest…
This guy had things pretty much tied up. I’m not entirely unconvinced that he wasn’t using illegal supplements.
Not all the animals were content to just loll about while harassed-looking parents were dragged around wrist-first by excited children who, as far as I could tell, were not aware that rabbits existed outside of Easter. This guy, for example…
Looked like he was about ready to murder someone. If sometime tomorrow I see the headline “LOCAL MAN HAS THROAT TORN OUT BY BEAK” (with the subhead “Onlookers Say He ‘Looked at it Funny'”), I will not be surprised. These chickens seemed to be taking the competition even more seriously than their owners. I mean, really, take a look at this:
Tell me these chickens don’t know they’re mortal rivals. Just try to tell me that.
Things were a little less intense over at the petting zoo, where…
Well, okay, yes. But besides that:
…There was also!:
DEAR GOD! There’s a reason why Jurassic Park didn’t feature goats in any major roles; there wouldn’t have been a dry pair of pants in the theater.
Now, to be fair, goats aren’t always horrifying, presumably rabid creatures who would just as soon let you pet them as they would literally bite off the hand that feeds them (this can also apply to the fancy chickens). They may grow up to be demonic creatures who could star as the big shocking twist in the new M. Night Shyamalan movie, when it turns out that they were the aliens from Planet Brainsplatter the whole time; but when they’re just little dudes?
Yeah, they’re not so bad.
Now, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. Lest you think this petting zoo was all about dangerous, wild-eyed creatures who you should never ever pet…
They also had camels! There was a sign nearby that helpfully said “does not spit.”
Now, there was a reason why we specifically drove out to the Northeast Thing Between Your Head and Your Shoulders Farm Fair, and it wasn’t just because it was conveniently located about an hour away from anything else in the entire state of Connecticut. Anyone familiar with the videogame website I run called GameCola.net knows that myself and most of the staff have a thing about beards, in much the same way you could say that politicians have a thing for lying (or fancy chickens have a thing for human flesh). We love beards. Our fans love beards. Our fans sometimes write stories about how much we all love beards.
So it should come to no surprise that the primary reason I wanted to visit the Thing Giraffes Are Especially Proud Of Farm Fair in rural Connecticut…
…was that they were having their annual beard competition. Beard competition. Here, our contestants start grouping together (and the guy on the right starts nervously sweating about how utterly out-classed he is); below:
The line-up. Off to the left you can see two elderly women with rulers, measuring the beards to make sure they’re long enough to qualify for the contest. I feel honor-bound to mention at this time that this is a real thing that I seriously witnessed; my wildest dreams, made flesh and coarse hair.
The judging continues. On the right you can see two dudes wearing t-shirts from the [Redacted] Beard and Mustache Club. As we awaited the contest results, my wife and I talked about what one would actually do in a Beard and Mustache Club. Swap shampoo secrets? Give each other free face trims? Stage raids on the next-door Clean-Shaven But At Least We Don’t Look Homeless Club?
The judges eyeball the judgees. A teenage girl standing behind us was very insistent that the man in the red cap should win, because he “looks like Santa Claus.” Every time the judges looked like they were about to do something official, she felt it necessary to reiterate this. “Number two! Pick number two! He looks like Santa Claus!” Often, she would turn to the people around her—”Can you believe how much he looks like Santa Claus?!” I think she might have thought that he was the actual Santa Claus. For all I know she’s still sitting there, muttering to herself about how he should win, because he’s wearing red, like Santa Claus.
In the end, the “Best in Show” award (seriously!) went to:
…sorry. It actually went to the guy in the blue baseball hat and short-shorts (“but he doesn’t look like Santa Claus!“), although every competitor went home with a ribbon, because this is a family event and we’re all winners here, even the nervous-looking guy, who took home “best sideburns” because there was nothing f***** interesting about his beard. The fans in the stands were not impressed:
Beards and bunz weren’t the only things competing for big prize money; in a secluded cabin nearby a stand selling purple t-shirts with pictures of cows, they were having an art show. My two top picks were:
This minimalist piece simply titled “Olympics” (drawn by someone whose favorite events evidently included seppuku, water-balloon toss, and being a fat guy who’s jumping), and:
This statue whose name escapes me, although I’m guessing it was something like “Blue Fuzzy Dancing Ninja Man.” IIRC it was a runner up to the statue in the background, “Severed Pancake Dog on Pillow.”
There was one final event we wanted to attend at the farm fair: the dog-agility contest. Or, as we came to know it: “Scream at Your Pup Until it Does Something Exciting.” These dog owners were serious business. Some dog-and-person pairings worked like a well-oiled machine, the human running alongside spouting helpful tips like “c’mon boy, faster!” and “stop eating those flowers!”:
…didn’t really seem to get the concept. “You want me to climb? On that? That thing looks like it was put together by ME. Hey, this butt smells nice…”
Some dogs didn’t even make it that far. For example:
This pup didn’t get halfway to the first tube before making a break for it, madly dashing outside of the arena in search of FREEDOM, SWEET FREEDOM, and then IMMEDIATELY stopping to eat the remnants of someone’s Thai-food lunch.
“C’mon, Lassie. I don’t think the judges have taken ALL our points away yet.”
Of course, it probably didn’t help the dogs’ focus that, directly behind their serious-business competition…
…another group was judging—what else?—the goat beauty pageant. I think the goat on the left eventually won, after what seemed to be an hour-long Survival-style knockout tournament wherein each goat was paraded out in turn, posed precariously by their attached human, sent back to the pen while the judges conferred, brought back in again for a second pose (this time making sad little mewing noises), sent back out and then brought back in a third time until—finally, one goat was eliminated, and the remaining three started the process all over again.
Tragically, before he was able to celebrate his victory by chewing on some old beer cans, the winning goat was met by—DUN DUN DUN!—
He just gets creepier and creepier every time. Hey, have you ever noticed that goats’ pupils are rectangles?
In all, I would wildly recommend visiting the Thing You Put Scarves On Farm Fair in wherever, Connecticut. If not for the cute bunnies, or the impressive beards, or the homicidal goats, then for this patriotic, photo-op backdrop we found, inexplicably labeled “circus”:
I’m Paul Franzen, and I approve this message.