It’s small town fair time again- how to protect yourself

That’s right folks it’s mid-summer botulism season again. A time that is critical to developing a young child’s immune system, a time of health department-free, unregulated food sales, and mostly a time to buy stock in portable outhouse rental agencies. Small town fair time offers a few distractions such as a parade, maybe a few rides, and food cooked in converted travel trailers owned by fraternal brotherhoods named after scary animals (like moose). However majestic this may all sound, this time of year offers some health threats that may cut your festivities short, or at least send you to stew in the sauna-like environs of a port-a-potty. Here are some tips to keep you from spending your weekend hugging porcelain:

  1. Don’t touch anything. Touches lead to germ spreading and it’s the biggest germ convention of the year at fairs. Too many kids, followed by too many animals.
  2. Don’t eat anything. Granted that VFW member may be a bona fide grillin’ villain at home, but that’s a far cry from stepping in as a short order cook to serve all 3 people who didn’t read this warning. You don’t know where anything has been and how they managed to sterilize that converted travel trailer that hasn’t been touched since this time last year. If you do have to eat, go for something smothered in onions at least that way your breath will keep other germ packing people away from you, if the food doesn’t knock you down first.
  3. Don’t let anyone touch you. Just because you read this and follow the rules for fair survival doesn’t mean others will (they probably won’t read this in their haste to be first in line for the pie eating contest). Is that handshake worth 20 minutes in the porta-sauna? I didn’t think so.
  4. Avoid eating contests. I warned you about the food, now you want to see how fast you can down it? Before you fill out that form, go sit in that sun drenched honey bucket just outside of the beer garden. Now do you really want to gorge yourself.
  5. Stay in the beer garden. Alcohol is a sanitizer. Just keep drinking and all will be fine. I promise.
  6. Avoid parades. If the horses poop their way down the street before the candy throwing floats get there… I think you can do the math on this one. And how many times have you seen a parade where the animals were last? That would be un-American.
  7. Avoid animals. Other than an amazing opportunity to see a chicken who actually looks like the rock star Slash, there’s nothing in the 4-H section other than pigs with butt cheeks that look uncannily human and pestilence.

While it certainly seems safer to just stay home, you really need to see that chicken. Stay strong reader(s), here’s a sample photo of that chicken (taken at a small town fair by your fearless reporter in order to limit your risk) in case you put safety before fairs.

Leave a comment about your best or worst fair experience.