We’ll see you at the fair

There is a hint of daylight at 5:30 these mornings. Barely.

But it’s not just early risers who notice the shortening of days and the shifting of seasons. There are plenty of harbingers…

Flocks of kids shouldering oversized backpacks as they trudge off for a new school year.

Moony fans polishing their remote controls and staking out spots on the sofa cushions, ready for fall sports to hit their stride.

Even the rare breed of fashionable folks (we count a few among our friends) sorting through their closets and swapping out their wardrobes.

But nothing puts an unmistakable mark on the Snohomish County calendar like the Evergreen State Fair. It announces not only that summer is fading, but that another year has completed its cycle and brought us back to the fairgrounds. So, there’s a temptation to let the fair make us wistful — wanting, as the song says, “to drag your feet to slow the circles down.”

Yes, once children accompanied their parents, admiring bunnies in their cages or pausing to watch earnest adolescents parade their sheep around the show ring. Today, they’re dashing away to noisy, parent-free zones for high jinks that will be captured in tweets or Facebook postings. (Luckily they need infusions of cash, or we might never see them.)

The movie “State Fair” has been made three times, in 1933, 1945 and 1962. It is the ‘45 version, with songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein (“It Might as Well Be Spring”), that’s considered the classic.

The movie came out just as we emerged from World War II, and this story of an Iowa farm family’s adventurous trip to the fair deliberately conveys a sense of wholesome American values. But even in this charming tale, we can feel the younger generation pulling away from the parents, lured by glamour, curiosity and romantic fascination.

To younger souls, the fair is a place of noise, color, distractions and entertainment — not to mention assorted animals, both four- and two-legged. It represents an opportunity to fill up on baked goods, fried concoctions and an array of foods on a stick. It is a place to experience pride over award ribbons and to leave your stomach in mid-air as a carnival ride whips you up, down, left or right.

The details may change, the generations may age, but the fair exudes a spirit of permanence. When you attend, you can take your old soul or reconnect with your young soul.

We recommend going young. After all, it’s just for a couple of weeks each August.

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