Going To The Fair

County Fair Ferris Wheel Tents Rabbit Family Watercolor Painting Illustration

For our prompt of “County Fair” today, a ton of lovely memories came flooding back to me. When I was a kid, I remember going to a local fair and I would first see the ferris wheel in the distance towering above everything as we approached the fairgrounds. I can still remember the excitement I felt, even before I got out of the car and was met with the smell of funnel cakes and corn dogs wafting in every direction. My cousin and I would run off to play games and ride the rides while my mother and aunt were in the craft tents. We would come and find our parents each time we ran out of change, as though mom’s purse was some unlimited dispenser of money. It wasn’t, of course, but we always got enough change to have a lovely time. Indeed, while I loved seeing the ferris wheel from a distance, being on one was equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. Despite the towering heights that made my stomach lurch, there was still no denying that it provided the best view.

Seeing a sea of rides, tents, food trailers and people wandering like ants below me was so cool. The entire scene had been only a field and was now transformed into a magic park full of wonders. It was particularly magical at night when all of the various lights would create a scene that sparkled with even more magic and possibility. The annual fair that I went to as a kid is still going on today, but I haven’t been back in years. I’ve often thought about taking Philippe just to see his reaction. Also, to see if I could get him to eat any of the food. I thought the food was one of the coolest parts because it was often so unusual. It was “fair food” and not like anything that existed in the normal world. It was truly mind-boggling to see just how many different types of food could be served on a stick. And the mixture of aromas is truly unforgettable. I’m not sure if Philippe would eat something on a stick served from the side of a trailer or not, but I would love to find out one day.

For me, the memories are some of my most vivid that I have from my childhood. Each little rickety ride is still something I can experience if I just close my eyes and remember. And then there were all of the various games to play. Some that had a touch of danger to them, like hitting balloons with sharp metal darts. This was all in an effort to win some hideous plush animal that I would never want normally, but seemed like something I absolutely needed in that moment. Nothing about the experience felt like reality, but like I’d just stepped into some sort of alternate universe. That’s what made it so special and fun. Soon, we’d find ourselves heading back to the car and returning home. Yet, I remember staring out of the back window as we drove away into the night, watching those amazing lights until they finally disappeared and the world returned to normal. It was always bittersweet, but I knew that I’d just have to wait one more year before I’d once again find myself going to the fair.

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County Fair Ferris Wheel Tents Rabbit Family Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
34 Comments
  1. Priscilla DeConti 3 months ago

    Another smile moment…I also thought of a ferris wheel for the fair.And although I do not like roller coasters or other rides like that..I would grin most days and at least get on the ferris wheel..I remember the big one on Coney Island which was scary and fun at the same time. In any case your painting is lovely along with the wonderful memories…😊

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Priscilla! 😃💕 Yeah, I think ferris wheels are always a little scary fun, but not as scary as roller coasters for sure!

  2. Mary Roff 3 months ago

    Lots of wonderful memories there, Charlie, and delightful doodle too! I think I would still enjoy going to the fair…at night..It’s the lights, smells and the “buzz” of people, machinery,and music; an atmosphere only available at the county fair. The fairgrounds are only a few blocks from where we live and the last week of January when the fair arrives and the temps are cool so windows are open I can listen to the sounds of the fair.all day. The sounds coming from the fairgrounds at night are by far the most intriguing.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, those night fairgrounds sounds are sure to be interesting indeed! That sounds so cool!

  3. Jacob 3 months ago

    Always a fan of the fair, even if I’m too chicken to go on most of the rides. The atmosphere is so magical, I’d even suffer the crowds for it! I did laugh at the thought of Philippe’s reaction to the cuisine. It is an acquired taste. Candyfloss (or cotton candy) is fun in small doses, though probably more nostalgia than it actually tasting nice. Our local fair used to (perhaps it still does) sell small chunks of rock in a bag, all different flavours. I don’t know if it has an official name – we creatively called it “fair rock”. The fruit flavoured pieces were lovely – the clove ones not so much!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Oh fun! Yeah, we called it rock candy here. I loves the look more than the taste so I’d just collect them like actual rocks. I was scared of the rides, but went on them anyway… for some reason scaring the hell out of myself was fun during childhood. lol 😃💕

  4. Karen Fortier 3 months ago

    Fantastic Charlie! We lived in an area where there were many fairs in the fall. Some were manly agricultural events with few rides. One seemed like it was just for my grandfather and his friends to sit around, smoke and talk but we took him every year. I worked at our family store from the time I was old enough to dust shelves, age 3 or 4 until I graduated from high school so I usually had change for a few rides and treats to eat so it didn’t cost my folks too much to take us. Good memories.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 Aww that sounds awesome! Yeah, I didn’t have my own money until I was a teen. hehe Glad this brought back good memories!

  5. Lisa 3 months ago

    As teens we picked cherries in July the have spending money for the county fair in August. My favorite ride was the Tilt a Whirl! The older I got, the more I liked the Scrambler. Cotton candy was my favorite treat, and corn on the cob with a beer brat was my go to dinner. There was always a trip through the barns to see the animals. I especially recommend the rabbits and pigs. A lot of people went to the tractor pull and the Demolition Derby, but I never did. I just wanted to walk back and forth on the main drag and suck in all the sights, sounds, and smells to last me a whole year.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Oh wow! Yeah, the Tilt a Whirl and Scrambler were so fun! 😃💕And yeah… I would rush to find the animals. If there wasn’t a barn, there was always a petting zoo of some kind. Yeah… the tractor pulls were a mystery to me… hehe… not my thing at all!

  6. Sandra Strait 3 months ago

    I always tried to win the goldfish, but never managed to. Probably just as well as I doubt that many of those fish survived for long, poor things. Still, it had to be a better fate than being put in a tank with an Oscar or other big fish like that.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Yeah, I honestly don’t remember winning much of anything cool. Never got one of the goldfish, though, I wanted to rescue one as well! 😃💕

  7. Marisela Delgado 3 months ago

    Charlie, you wrote your piece so beautifully. I bet if you let Philippe read it, he may better understand your desire to take him to a fair. You may still get a scrunchy face in regards to the food, but your sweet memories may help him over look that. (Don’t bring him to the Texas State Fair, where they sell things like fried BUTTER. Yup, butter.) 😀 Your mama bunny with her purse is so sweet. 💜
    When I was a little girl, church parishes would have ” jamaicas” at the county parks. They were smaller fairs, but, for a kid, it was a magical wonderland like your fairs. They had kiddie size ferris wheels, Mexican food, burgers, raspas (snow cones), a mini flea market, cake walks, and Loteria (bingo). It was wonderful! It was so much fun! For some reason, they stopped. Churches still have festivals, but those are way different to jamaicas. Like you, jamaicas form sweet memories in my mind. Good memories. 💜
    Random comment: I mention this because you paint cutie beagles. Yup, I was on YouTube and found a 10 facts about Beagles video. You probably already know, but ALL beagles have white on the end of their tail. Even if it’s a few white hairs at the tip. Beagles who do not are a beagle mix. They also got their name from the French word meaning deep tunnel or something like that. Just thought I’d mention that. 🐕🐕🐕

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Aww thanks so much, Marisela! 😃💕 Yeah, Philippe never reads these… I’ve read him a couple when they’re mostly about the dog, but otherwise he has no clue what I write here. lol And your fairs sound like a fun memory indeed! With some yummier food as well! Cool facts on beagles… I didn’t know that about the tail, but I like the white tip so I add i even if the references I’m looking at are mixes. hehe

      • Marisela Delgado 3 months ago

        So Philippe doesn’t hear the masses chanting for him to bake you cookies? haha haha 😋😋😋 You should tell him that people are starting a cookie drive for you. haha haha

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

          Oh… I DO read those comments out loud to him! lol He just doesn’t read my posts! 😉

  8. Gary Middleton 3 months ago

    Great doodle, Charlie.

  9. LoriCtoo 3 months ago

    Oh my gosh….the mommy bunny wtih her handbag! Love love love!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, she just needed one in this scene!

  10. Fatima Chamkha 3 months ago

    Love to go the fair had fun making new friends great bunnies looks almost like a cover of a fairytale book.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Fatima! 😃💕 Yeah, the fair is so fun! Glad you enjoyed these bunnies!

  11. Mugdha 3 months ago

    Hello Charlie,

    The Mama Bunny and her babies look so ready to enjoy a wonderful day at the fair. The Doodlewash made me smile. 🙂 Thanks for that! And I completely agree with Marisela Delgado… all Phillipe needs to do is read your post and he’ll be begging you to take him to the next fair so that he can try all the fun food. Whether or not you start writing your story book, with the writing that you do, by the time you’re 60, you’ll definitely have a sweet fun autobiography ready – an illustrated one at that! And if and when that happens, I’ll come and get a copy signed by you. 🙂

    Love,
    Mugdha

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mugdha! 😃💕 Glad I made you smile! Aww I’m so pleased you enjoy my writing. I actually wrote a lot more of my personal stories early on, and now just pepper in bits or tell it differently. Sometimes I just repeat myself because I can’t remember what I’ve told. But I did actually publish those as an illustrated memoir called Sketching Stuff – Stories Sketched From Life – https://dwsh.co/SketchingStuffBook – The hardcover and paperback versions have black and white illustrations (it’s too expensive to have color in a large book) but the ebook versions are in color. 😉

  12. Laura Kate 3 months ago

    How fun. Our county fair starts tomorrow. It is the old-fashioned variety with plenty of livestock and 4-H displays. But guess what? I entered two of my WorldWatercolorMonth paintings.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Laura! 😃💕 YAY! That’s so awesome you entered your World Watercolor Month paintings! I love that! I’m always so excited to hear when people end up with something to exhibit from the month!

  13. shawnthompsonart 3 months ago

    Interesting watercolour. When I was a kid, there was a carnival that would be in the parking lot of a local mall every year. Today I see a lot less carnivals and fairs around.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Shawn! 😃💕 Yeah, those old carnivals were so much fun. Pop up fun!

  14. Observer Himadri 3 months ago

    Loved all your sketches…

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