Fairs have never made my list of favorite things, despite growing up in Minnesota, which has a fair Garrison Keillor has described as “the best little state fair in the country.” About five years ago Alex and I went to it and watched farm children showing their sheep. That was the most fun I ever had at a fair, until today.
The St. Giles street fair opened today. We feel a little nostalgic about this fair, as it was opening when we arrived in Oxford exactly one year ago. All of the buses into the city were overcrowded and rerouted for three days, making it extremely confusing to get around. But this year we know the ropes so off we went, fair-wards.
The Minnesota State Fair takes place in fairgrounds, but in Oxford two parallel streets are blocked off for it. This results in a strange incongruity between the garish pizazz of the carnival and the classic elegance of the architecture behind it.
When they clear it all up, it will be something of a relief, for me at least! But almost no harm done. Except for this inflatable slide, which we spotted crashing into the wall of St. John’s. A moment later, the plinth fell down with a heavy, stone-cracking smash. Oh, well. (At least this isn’t the part of the college that dates from 1555.)
There were fun houses, shooting galleries, arcades, fortune-tellers and bungee-swings but we didn’t spot anything on a stick. Still, no one need go hungry. There were huge pork rumps and piles of fried bacon for bacon rolls.
Otherwise, it was pretty much all hamburgers and doughnuts.
Norah and I rode the “ladybirds” together and she rode in the top of an orange double-decker bus, which delighted her completely.
We were then able to gratify one of the dearest wishes of her heart, and purchased for her a Dora balloon. It is extremely large. After surviving the bus home (I asked the driver the fare for Dora and he suggested charging double), it now graces our flat.
To remind us of a lovely day.