The Parking: I thought they were trying to kill us for a few seconds. O_O We were directed off the road down a very steep embankment. So not a good idea. But we did wind up in the same area the disabled folks were parking in, so that was nice.
The Transportation: Very good. They had a shuttle running around the fair. We rode it twice. Every time we needed it, there was one right there, no waiting. My only complaints are that there wasn't much to hang onto, and the hard wooden benches beat hell out of the my body. But it was much better than walking! This fair is huge.
The Sponsors: Indiana Department of Education sponsored $2 Tuesday. Prairie Farms sponsored some of the food stuff and was giving away free coupons.
The Food: Quite good. Every vendor had something for $2 and we tried several, along with other things. $2 Tuesday makes it very easy to nibble your way around the fair. :D We had bison burgers <3 dirty tots, lemonade, a hot fudge sundae, an orange egg cream (meh), chocolate-covered bacon (okay, but neither of us get the crack-like effect some people seem to), a sausage with onions, a corn dog, and cherry limeade.
We also bought two different kinds of fudge, some barbecue sauce, a summer sausage, malted milk balls, and maple syrup. The latter was one of the big discoveries of the day. Usually the best maple syrup comes from the high northeast. This was made in Indiana, was really good, and the first excellent maple syrup I've had from a down-continent source. You can visit Indiana Maple Syrup or read the maple syrup Facebook. I was super excited to see Arndt's Fudge, a favorite fudgery we haven't seen in a couple years. Find the fudge on Facebook. The barbecue sauce came from Shoup's Country Store, designed for use on pork. I'm planning to crockpot a pork shoulder and shred it for loose meat sandwiches. Very good sweet sauce with a little zip. Ohlemacher's Wisconsin Meat & Cheese Products (gluten-free) had the summer sausage. Actually, several flavors -- garlic and jalapeno -- we got the regular.
The Swag: Mildly worthwhile. Most people with swag at all had pencils or pens. I got a couple of egg-shaped magnets from the very nice booth promoting all manner of eggs -- today was Egg Day in their World Foods theme this year. The Indiana government had 12" rulers. Plenty of places had paper fans and/or bags to carry stuff in, always useful. This isn't a big swag fair, because it's more of a merchant fair. Which brings us to ...
The Shopping: Awesome! This is one of the best shopping fairs we go to, and we made some major scores.
Right inside the door to the merchant barn, I spotted a set of cobalt blue Tupperware. After examining the options, we decided to buy a stack of several items that can be used for cooking and steaming things in the microwave. We needed a bigger microwave steamer, and it'll go a lot of other stuff too. :D (Actually, we walked around the whole barn before buying anything major, although we made a few small purchases early.) Also it came with a cookbook and recipe printouts. See Amanda Morris. It was coming back to this booth that made me realize it was time to go home: I could tell that they had a padded floor when I stepped onto it from the concrete and my whole body gave a sigh of relief. I hadn't even noticed they'd put anything down earlier. But we were probably in that barn alone for an hour, looking at all the loot on offer. Concrete floors are not kind to feet.
Little Giant Ladder Systems had some very sophisticated, sturdy, lightweight ladders that we seriously considered. We did not buy one today due to needing to measure the height of the things we actually want a ladder for reaching. But we may well get one later. We are particularly fond of their larger short stepladder, before getting into the extension ladders.
Chris Cornwell at Foozys had funky socks (meh) and deep pocket sheets. Jackpot! I have been hunting all over for sheets that will fit on the new mattress we bought a while back, because normal sheets don't fit it. :/ Today we got two sets (burgundy and chocolate) of queen sheets for what we'd usually pay for one, very nice Egyptian cotton, each with two pair of pillowcases. So that's awesome.
I got two tie-dye t-shirts, and I don't think I got a business card from that booth. One is a rainbow spiral with black on it. The other is a very rarely seen, delicately rendered black-and-blue marble. I only have one other marble shirt and it's pink-and-purple, few people can make these. We made marbled Easter eggs once. Only one of us had any knack for making them come out right. Marbling requires floating an oil-based dye on water, then lifting an object through it, somehow coaxing a pleasant design from the process. Both shirts had been properly washed this time, so did not bleed dye everywhere when I rinsed them prior to throwing them in the washer. But ye gods, that marble shirt reeks like an oil slick! O_O I really hope that smell comes out. It wasn't noticeable when dry, at least.
Next time, we need to remember to bring our reusable bags to a good shopping fair. The plastic ones cut into our hands when loaded with ~20 pounds of treasure.
The Show Barn: Lots of fun. They had a Lego farm, many gorgeous quilts, and some other nice fibercrafts.
All in all, a wonderful day at the fair. :D It's not often I get to ramble around until my feet wear out. Also, this time I accounted for the temperate weather meaning that I needed sunscreen, so I am not overexposed. Go me.
In the presence of better options, I may sadly demote the Coles County Fair to a place that sells funnel cakes once a year. :/ But hurray for better options!