It's September, and when I was growing up that meant it's time once again to go to the Fair. And you probably know what they're like!
Forty years ago, the fairs were still the proving grounds for the Future Farmers of America and 4-H club members. But even then, some of those young members were developing their individual tastes in art and music.
Artforms in Nature
Frank Zappa had an odd sense of humor. Near where I lived was a county fair that everyone attended for those first few sizzling weeks in September. As we lived in an area surrounded by agricultural districts, and because people had made their livelihoods for some number of years from the land there, such considerations not only found their way into people’s daily lives but also quite naturally into their artistic expressions.
Orange crate labels were treasured by nearly every child in the area. The labels were distinctive of the place, idealized yet colorful and dramatic representations of local Spanish Missions, Indians, animals, fair Mexican maids, and so on, and each new acquisition was proudly shared with other kids, and traded back and forth like baseball cards or comic books are in other areas.
But back to the fair. Everybody would go to the fair because there wasn’t a lot going on in town. Even though the fair had elements of the hokey, some real treasures emerged.
Gradually evolved at the fair was a folk art display in one of the side buildings. Therein people would labor for weeks to create representations of important themes using a pallet of citrus fruit. Oranges, lemons, and grapefruits were the artistic medium and all else that was allowed was some of the green cellophane that is in grocer displays.
The art would be assembled on a large wooden “canvas” of dimensions that would make Georgia O’Keefe envious. And this “frame” was structured to be displayed at a slight tilt to keep “the paints from running.” Most often the themes were drawn from nature, landscapes of mountains and the valley, and sometimes patriotic motifs emerged (garish yellow and orange American flags or portraits of George Washington).
Frank Zappa created his entry one year and it was a large representation of
Now look who's there at the Fair