Summer is here, and when most people here the words "summer fun", they think of one thing: the state fair! The best part about the state fair is that every state's got one (some probably have multiple! We're looking at you, Texas, probably!) and the other best part about the state fair is all the eclectic people you never see on a day-to-day basis that come out from the woodwork to ride the rides and eat the fried stuff. No matter which state you live in, these eight characters are sure to make an appearance at opening day of the fair this summer:
1. The Regular
Every year you walk into the fairgrounds, within minutes you'll see "The Regular". This person is there every year you've been going to the fair, and you don't know their name, what they sound like, or where they're from. But you do know that they eat too much funnel cake and may or may not be in a long-term relationship with the tilt-a-whirl operator, because you see them sharing a corndog every year you come. In addition to this person's seeming undying love for the fair, they're also usually a huge fan of the Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band that plays every opening day, and is probably wearing a greasy t-shirt displaying their passion. Despite this person being a regular at the state fair, they probably have a weirdly-good weekday job like a judge or a dentist that allows them to spend so much money on deep-fried oreos and the dunk tank. You'll never meet The Regular, but you respect their dedication and enjoy their presence as a "welcome back" to the state fair.
2. The Big Family
This is not a singular person, in fact it's probably upwards of twelve people, but one of the guaranteed sights you'll see at the state fair on opening day is the massive family strolling the grounds on what appears to be their first day out of their home in months (most likely, it is).
The actual makeup of The Big Family usually consists of: The Patriarch, a bearded and bald man in a polo shirt, cargo shorts, and horrible sandals; the Matriarch, a sometimes-bearded woman in a homemade dress, homemade glasses, and a matching pair of horrible sandals to her husband; the eldest child, an already-balding blonde man with a babyface and a necklace that looks like it was gifted to him by a warlock; the daughter, a normal-looking girl who appears trapped by her genetics but happy to be with the ones she loves; the other daughter, a strange-looking girl who has a curly mullet, is barefoot, and shouting about something; and the youngest, usually a young boy with bright blue eyes, chocolate (we hope) all over his face, and holding a bag full of water with a recently-dead goldfish floating inside.
The Big Family is the first to show up at the state fair opening, and the last to leave, making sure they get their money's worth. They usually complain about the fireworks.
3. The Prize-Hog
You can catch the prize-hog sitting on a bench by himself with a massive stuffed teddy bear sitting next to him, both of them wearing a rasta hat with fake dreadlocks pouring out. He stashes his other prizes in a little red wagon, sitting there proudly as people admire the amount of time and dedication he's put into being a massive douche. Not only will the Prize-Hog wheel around the fairgrounds on opening day clutching Rasta-Teddy and wheeling his other prizes behind him, he'll also purposefully ride past kids aiming at winning the big prizes to distract them from their efforts and remain king of the trash.
The Prize-Hog is not a bad man, but is to be avoided at all costs or else risking the possibility that he engages in conversation with you about the mathematics of shooting a water-blaster into a cardboard clown's nose.
4. Your Distant Cousin
Perhaps the most awkward of state fair opening day sightings, the Distant Cousin sighting is an uncomfortable reality of the state fair is to be expected on opening day. This is an individual who you recognize immediately as that girl who's always at the family reunions but sort of keeps to herself and her nuclear family the whole time before they all leave without saying anything. You are friendly with one another, but not friendly enough to sustain a conversation for over three minutes.
When you first spot her, you'll both avoid eye contact for a while and may not make any effort to speak until you accidentally bump into her while waiting in line for the ferris wheel. That said: do not, under any circumstances, take the same ferris wheel car as she does. I repeat: avoid getting into the same ferris wheel cart as her. It will be a painfully awkward experience for all parties involved and may result in vomiting once exiting the ride. Say hi to her parents for you, though!
5. The Lost Child
Ah yes, the Lost Child at opening day of the state fair. A classic fairgoer! This innocent young child will constantly look like they are on the verge of tears while holding a melting ice cream cone in their hand and darting their head around in a panic. What an idiot! If only this little kid knew how close by their parents were (right behind them in the big smelly barn where people sell homemade soap, lizards, and wooden statues of bears).
It is usually the nice fairgoer who gently asks the child where their parents are, but depending on how creepy you look/are, this could be a risky move. The most advisable thing to do is to tell The Regular about it because he knows exactly who the kid's parents are, and ask him to reunite them. This happens every year!
6. The Sword Guy
If you've ever been to a state fair even once, then this next guy needs no further explanation. He's the sword guy. You know, the guy with all of the swords? Nobody is sure if he's selling them, if he just bought them, if he inherited them from generations of Sword Guys before him, but one thing's for sure: he's got a lot of swords. He has a cane-sword, a machete sword, a medieval sword, a mini-sword (a.k.a. knife), a sword-oriented shirt and jewelry, a sheathed samurai sword, and last but not least, a concerningly-sharp sword dangling from his waist. The main attribute of The Sword Guy, besides the large amount of swords, is that he seems like the type of person who should not be allowed have a single sword. He will most likely join The Lost Child's parents in the giant barn in search for a sword salesman, of which there are usually about three.
7. The Politician
One of the more annoying fixtures of opening day at the state fair is The Politician, an individual who is trying to capitalize on the large amount of people gathered in one place to further their political career and policies. They usually show up in an annoying car with their annoying name on it, walk around in an annoyingly formal outfit and annoyingly shaking people's hands, and may even make an annoying speech before they annoyingly announce the Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band at the end of the night (who aren't annoying, they f*ckin' shred!).
Pay no mind to The Politician and do not let his corrupt campaign impose on your fun day out. In fact, if he introduces himself, say you're a democrat and introduce him to your friend The Prize-Hog. They'll get along!
8. The Half Man, Half Snake
Finally, one of the people you'll see at every state fair on opening day is The Half-man, Half-snake in the far corner of the fairgrounds. Make sure you get the chance to hang out with this guy earlier in the day before the fatigue of greeting fairgoers all day wears him out! This man requires a small entrance fee to spend time with, but it's worth it if you can scrape up some spare change. He is 100% a real man-snake, and not a trick of mirrors, paper mache, and a lack of fulfilling employment elsewhere. His name is usually Simon, Steven, or another name that allows him to show off his snake-like "hiss", and he's actually a good dude once you get past the fact that he's hideous and deformed.