Friday, August 3, 2012

The Southeast Alaska State Fair

Last weekend (July 26th through the 29th) was the Southeast Alaska State Fair, held in Haines. I love fairs, and since I just moved out here and had nothing better going on, of course I had to go and check it out! I visited the fair both Friday the 27th and Saturday the 28th.

Friday afternoon was the Zombie Adventure Race 5K. Every state fair has zombies, right?

The race seemed to be designed in the spirit of Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash events-- a 5K peppered with obstacles. The route ran from one end of the fairgrounds in a loop through the forest and back toward the fair entrance. There was no trail, just route signs to follow, so there was a lot of bushwhacking involved. Alders, roots, mud, creek embankments, tree branches, hillsides, and rocks made up a large proportion of the natural obstacles. In the way of man-made obstacles, there were tires, a large ramp to run up and jump off of, a wooden wall to climb, a mud pit to crawl through, a fire hose, and a bouncy house obstacle course, complete with tunnels, a rope climb, and a slide.

Oh, and there were zombies.

Every 500m or so there were "kill zones," where hordes of zombies waited to attack racers. Sometimes they ganged up on runners; other times they hid in bushes or stood near tricky bottleneck spots. These were not your average partially-decayed, leg-dragging undead. These were quick, agile monsters with a thirst for blood.

The zombies attempted to "kill" racers by pulling flags from a loop of rope around each racer's waist. If a racer lost all four of their flags before finishing, they were considered "dead." Anyone with at least one flag remaining at the finish line lived.

I survived, but only just so. I had one flag left when I finished. I was soaking wet, muddy, and had scrapes on my hands and knees.

It was a harrowing experience.

Later I ate some nachos. I also visited the animal barns. ZOMG! Look at the baby bunnies!

Saturday morning there was a parade down Main Street to celebrate the fair. There were contests for groups to create the most imaginative parade float, people in costumes, and bags of candies to chuck at the children along the street. Dogs aren't allowed at the fair, but there was a "Most Loveable Dog" contest that began with walking in the parade. Rigby and I decided to enter, just for fun. He wore his red bandanna.

After the parade the "Most Loveable Dog" contest participants congregated at a local park, where judging occurred in several categories-- Most Alaskan Dog, Look-Alike, Most Obnoxious, Best Trick, Best Dressed, Ugliest, Cutest, etc. Rigby entered in several categories. Most of the contest winners were announced on-site and awarded prizes. In three categories, however, (Look-Alike, Best Dressed, and Best Trick), three finalists were selected to make an appearance at the fair, where they would compete on the main stage for the crowd's attention.

I entered Rigby in the "Best Dressed" contest mostly because I thought it would be funny. He was wearing a bandanna, while other dogs were dressed as fairies, cowboys, hotdogs, ghosts, hippies, and frogs. The judges must have taken best dressed literally in our case, though, and since Riggs has a naturally fantastic coat, we were selected as finalists, and Rigby got to go to the fair!

We ended up third out of three finalists, unsurprisingly. Our competition on stage was a little girl dressed like a princess and her dog in butterfly wings, and a woman dressed as an inmate chained to her terrier, a sheriff. Rigby wasn't really dressed as anything, and I dressed as a normal person. The crowd clapped politely. I think they were confused.

Rigby was pretty happy, though. Along with a spiffy third-place ribbon, he won a box of Milk-Bones.

Rigby couldn't stay to enjoy the rest of the fair, but he took a nap in the pickup while I checked out the logging relay race

obstacle bucking

log rolling

and everything else the fair had to offer!

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