There’s something magical about the Florida State Fair. It doesn’t matter that you’re right down the road from a county jail because the minute you pass through those grimey gates, a subtle combination of the company of the area’s most interesting folk, the smell of exotic foods, and the apopleptic glow of lights on precarious rides come together in a deep fried Krispy Kreme sandwich of amazing.

Alas, State Fair, I think I’m outgrowing you. Working amid the grit and grime of Nebraska Avenue has left me jaded; I’m no longer amused by those crawling out of the woodwork, flocking to you. Your once intoxicating array of Wis-can-sin melted cheese, meats on sticks, and deep fried delights are now overpowered by the stench of piss, broken dreams, and the tears of children at the Lost & Found Kid Corral.

Your rides, just barely passing inspection I imagine, covered in thick glittery paint from God know’s where, still manage to send my stomach hurtling into my throat. But my once reckless brain, filled only with the thrill of each near death twist and turn, is now fraught with worry:  Who will take care of Maggie when I inevitably die on this ride? Will my life insurance cover this? Why can’t I breathe?

Florida State Fair, maybe I caught you on an off day. Maybe we can try this again next year, when my stomach has returned to the safe hollow from whence it was wrenched. Until then, I will remain faithfully nostalgic of your charms, but undeniably, and perhaps unbearably, I fear I’ve outgrown you.


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