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by Kelly

I tried to narrow this post down to as few pictures as I could, but there was just too much good stuff. So I apologize in advance if it takes forever to load.

One Friday night in late June we decided to journey out to two local "Firemen's Field Days." Honestly, I've always wondered where this whole idea came from. Being a hick at heart, I am familiar, but the origin is still a mystery to me. There's not even a Wikipedia entry for it yet. Nevertheless, just doing some quick investigative work, the whole idea seems to be central to upstate NY. Which is where we are...but I digress...

We visited both these Field Days on their first day, and arrived at the Hinsdale Field Days just as it was opening. There was no major signage to indicate this was where we were, so you'll just have to trust me.

The first thing we noticed was this enormous "fun house" thing painted in a Scooby-Doo motif:


The artwork was elaborate, but as for the ride itself - there really wasn't much to it - just some stairs and a bag of balls (just behind the fence on the bottom floor). The yellow sign above the sitting kid indicated some rules (I enlarged it and plunked it in the lower right corner of the photo to make it readable). Were flips really a problem? I guess cartwheels would be considered "ok." Remember that.

Moving on, we found this Ice Cream Truck/Garbage Truck. Weird.


There wasn't much going on in the food tent, but Bartles & Jaymes were there to thank us for our support.


To our right (their left), this folding table was playing a killer set:


Isn't the flooring just gorgeous? Here is the night's dinner special:


Um...eeww! And, isn't there an "e" in "sauerkraut"? This sign was nothing compared to the food signs in Pennellville, though, just you wait.


Here's one of the many warning signs we found on the rides in Hinsdale:


Who gets to decide who is "exceptionally large?" Our favorite part was that "physically or mentally challenged guests may not find this ride suitable." We found this amusing because who, exactly, would find this particular ride suitable?


I'm including a photo of this train ride as it was the only ride to be found at both the Hinsdale and the Pennellville field days:


We eventually made our way over to this jewelry stand, where I had a Field Day (oh, oops!) checking things out. Ham was videotaping (as I snapped pictures) and was the recipient of some very dirty looks from the man running the stand. Not sure why my taking pictures seemed to be ok. Anyway, I was particularly enamored of the grab bags here...


...mostly after we found this placard of ass-kicking pewter jewelry dating all the way back to the mid 1980s and their more modern counterparts...


Rock. On. Still, we didn't buy anything - grab bag or otherwise.

The hat stand wasn't nearly as good as what we were to find in Pennellville:


But, it was ok. One of my most favoritist things at hick fairs is the quarters machines. You know, those machines where you drop in a coin and try to get it to push a bunch more coins off a ledge so you can make some serious ca$h money:


I haven't played in a while because I can get like an addict about it, and its embarrassing. I once won 3 weeks worth of laundry quarters and was very proud. I haven't played in a while, though, and we were surprised to find such weird rules now:


There were actual quarters and bills in these machines and they seriously expect everyone to give them back and replay them? Um, whatever!

We were here for less than an hour starting just about the moment the field days opened and already there were discarded (or accidentally dropped) prizes on the ground, such as this lovely kitty:


There's nothing quite like passive-aggressive signage (there is a blog listed in our blogroll that is dedicated to this very subject. Click the "Leave A Comment" link at the bottom of this page to go to the blog): 


Hinsdale had been a fine Firemen's Field Days, but nothing really stood out about it - good or bad. After getting lost nearly 10 times trying to find Pennellville, we knew we were in for Something Special. Firstly, there was a plethora of daft signage. This one was propped against the utility pole used to tack up the poster at the top of this page. A car had conveniently parked in front of it, which is why this is taken at such a bad angle:


Then we saw it. The sign that had been calling Project Absurd to Pennellville all along. The sign that made the whole trip Worth It:


Just look at it in all its absurd beauty. Just look at it! I don't know what's better, the crooked writing? The lack of spacing? Definitely the spelling! "Leude" that German? I like how "alcohol" is spelled incorrectly at the bottom, even though it's spelled correctly two lines above. I could go on and on about this wonderful, tragically beautiful sign. In fact, let's have a moment of silence for it, shall we?

Thank you. When we got into the field days...THE HATS! Ohmigod, THE HATS!


This was one of the better rides:


It's what appears to be bespectacled ladybugs parading around a mushroom. Based on an acid trip?


The same train as at the Hinsdale Field Days, just going left instead of right:


What the hell?


The following was taken in the Glorious Pennellville Food Tent. I know it's hard to read. I was being sneaky and took it without the flash on. 


"Potatos" is spelled wrong. You could get 1/2 chicken for $4.00 (which half???)! I think $7.00 is pretty steep for a Field Days dinner, especially if you're only getting one "bake bean," but what do I know?

I was on the receiving end of some very sharp looks in the food tent. The opposite of our experience at the jewelry stand in Hinsdale, the Pennellville Food Tent People were not happy with my taking photos, but perfectly ok with Ham's videotaping. So we were still able to get photos of the rest of their extremely daft signage, courtesy of video screen captures - haha! They started out ok with their depictions of clams, corn, and salt potatoes - even if the potatoes were a little rough. The chicken is a good drawing, just disturbing in the sense that when you are offered 1/2 a chicken, then see a drawing of a live one, well...


They really, really outdid themselves on the hotdogs and hamburgers. 


Is that a hot dog or a sleeping Bert from Sesame Street? A hamburger or a UFO?

This bitchen' band was setting up outside the food tent and already their legion of fans was hovering:


Some of our favorite games in Pennellville:


Gotta work hard to get you a flag! The Field Days only comes 'round once a year!

Another ride warning sign:


"Do not force a child to ride if he or she is frightened. A scared child on the ground may panic in the air." Holy sh.t! What kind of sadistic parents do they have out there?

Another great game with great prizes:


One of our greatest discoveries here at the Pennellville Field Days was that if you stood to the side of this slide...


 and enjoyed the view underneath it - like say if the couple in the picture turned to their right and admired the view - you, and they, would see this:


That's right....cows! There were cows actually in sight of the Pennellville Field Days.

In conclusion, the Hinsdale Field Days were a nice try, but nothing really stood out. Due to the incredible signs, the number and variety of hats, and the nearby cows, we are declaring Pennellville Field Days the undisputed winner of our first Battle Of The Field Days!

(Posted 07/2007)

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