Archive for the 'Fairiors' Category


Fairiors: Kecksburg UFOfest, Vol. 2

Since the pics and videos (2 small videos coming later) would have made Vol. 1 entirely too long, here’s the pics with some footnotes.


The Country Store game, where Jill spent $2 trying to win a case of Faygo.

Also available as prizes …

There always seems to be a child with an inflatable weapon at every festival.


Western PA: Pick your diety.

Local bigfoots!


Sporting antennae, and propping up the alien for the parade.

I’m not sure if this logo is supposed to have innuendo or not.

The spoils.


Fairiors: Kecksburg UFOfest Vol. 1

I had originally figured I was only hitting the Fayette County Fair on this Fairiors adventure, but ended up with a surprise: My coworker Jill told me that Kecksburg UFOfest was on the same day!

For those of you not familiar with the UFO lore, Kecksburg is the site where either a UFO or Russian satellite crashed (the locals are still 50/50 on it). What is agreed upon is that the military quickly moved in and grabbed whatever it was, and moved it out, never to be seen again. Here’s the Wikipedia entry on it if you want to read more. (Also, I’ve worked with some folks who were in the newsroom of the Greensburg Trib when this event happened, and I only live like 45 minutes away, so it’s kinda cool for me.)

For years, I’ve been seeing festival listings for this event, and wanted to go. But I always worked on the weekends, and never had enough time to request it off. This time, there was no stopping it. I would be at the Kecksburg UFOfest.

This time, the Fairiors were only me and Jill, and she was my guide. The wilds of Westermoreland and Fayette County are not to be traveled lightly.

Before we arrived at the fair, Jill swung me by the actual site of the Kecksburg crash.

Nothing seemed to be horribly unusual about the site, and as far as I know, I have not been mutated nor have the Men in Black swung by to pay me a visit. BUT THERE’S ALWAYS HOPE.

Eventually we made it to the festival. Now, if you ever hope to visit the Kecksburg festival, bear in mind that it is small. And by small, I mean it is basically combined with another fair to make 1 big fair. And by big, I mean it’s still small.

This is almost the entire festival.

The first thing I had to do was check out the monument to The Acorn. Now, most of you probably think I’m goofing around when I say that … but no, Jill had told me about The Acorn monument for years. I had to check it out. Had to. It was too phenomenal not to see. And really, it did not disappoint.

“I wonder how close I can get to it?” I said. Jill replied, “Probably not past the police tape.” We were both geniuses, or simply dumbstruck by The Acorn. I’m not quite sure which.

But anyway, we moved on.

There were tons of games … and by tons, I mean about 6. A gentleman who basically identified himself as “the head carnie”  informed me that if I didn’t want to try a game of chance, I could just slip a worker $10 and buy a giant inflatable alien. I laughed, because having been a former carnie, I knew I could do this … but $7 would have been as high as I would have gone.

Jill saw the sausage stand and told me we HAD to eat there. I said sure, cause who doesn’t love a good sausage sammich?

We ate, we people watched. We checked out the fair rides (which were kind of disturbing, looking like they had been assembled with spare 100-gallon drums, toothpicks and dog leashes).

Eventually, we checked out the crafts and the various displays. Some interesting stuff, and we found out there were some folks who travelled from Canada to be there — but really, there was only 1 thing we wanted to see: The UFOfest parade, which was slated for 2pm. This was good … we figured it would over by 2:15, and we could be on the road to the Fayette County Fair by 2:30.

The announcer assured us it would begin “at 2pm sharp.” Awesome!

But then 2pm came and went. The announcer said that the firewhistle would blow, and the parade would start. So then we waited. And we we waited. And we waited. The firewhistle blew. And we waited some more. The Kecksburg crash must have warped time in that area.

It finally started about 2:30. And here’s what it was:

Finally! A real float! Of sorts.

Now, here’s a funny note: Mamburg is not actually a town. It’s a Facebook group for people who kind of live on the border of Mammoth and Kecksburg, who, if I understand things correctly, feel ignored by both towns. So, they kinda called their area “Mamburg,” and they’re the ONLY ones who got into the spirit of the festival.

And after this, there was more EMS trucks. That was it. That was the big UFO parade.


But all in all, I have to say I was happy to go, and next time, I’m gonna spend some more time looking at the exhibits, and less time people watching.


fairior: Big Butler Fair, Vol IV

This is just for the pictures that didn’t quite fit into the story telling, but I hated leaving out.

The perfect machine for killing lots of zombies




fairiors: Big Butler Fair Vol. III

We had spent the day experiencing the Big Butler Fair in all of its glory … from seeing the animals to shopping the endless supply of Confederate flag draped goods. Some of the fairiors indulged in special treats like Deep Fried Oreos, Snickers and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. (A word to the wise: Apparently, deep frying and nougat don’t really go together well.)

But let’s face it, the reason we came to the Big Butler Fair was for the main event: The School Bus Demolition Derby.

I don’t know why this particular event caused me to start this whole escapade. Maybe it was the hours of Autoduel I played as a kid. But this was something I just needed to check off the ole Bucket List.

The stands filled up fast. We were not alone in our desire to see this spectacle.

So, here’s some pics and video of the contenders and the contests.

There were more buses, but these were the only shots I got, and give you an idea of what was painted on them. When they announced the drivers, I noticed a trend … drivers from Sarver, Natrona Heights, Tarentum … the AK Valley was well represented. I felt a swelling of pride … or that was that carnival gyro not agreeing with me … but regardless, the event was ready to begin.

Now, there were 2 opening rounds, which had like 5-6 buses in each round. They pulled in a rectangular area with their back ends facing each other. Now, quite honestly, I was expecting them to circle the track and crash into each other … as did a couple people in the stands. But in hindsight, this way was much safer for the drivers.

Now this opening round wasn’t very exciting. What you probably can’t see is that the 2 buses in the foreground were in a heated battle … the one would have its breaks locked up and the other would push it.

But again, the 2 heats weren’t all that. The South Park bus was knocked out in the first round … it couldn’t go in reverse anymore. Sad.

Then the main event came. All of the remaining buses thrown in to one battle royal. Before you start watching, this is like a 10-minute affair … so grab your favorite deep-fried food, sit back and watch.

Technically, this reminds me of my high school parking lot when the buses tried to be the first one out of the lot.

Eventually, 2 buses stood … No Fat Chicks and the red Honey Badger.

When Honey Badger attempted to crush the No Fat Chicks into a Jersey barrier to break its radiator, the crowd booed. It was like watching a WWE match where the guys kept putting each other into headlocks. The crowd was here for bodyslams and flying dropkicks, not technical wrestling.

Eventually Honey Badger let up and they smashed into each other until the Honey Badger was the victor.

Things you may not see that did happen: At one point, a bus engine started smoking badly. The bus driver attempted to eject but couldn’t get his seatbelt unhooked. But he eventually got his bus moving and got it out of danger. Also, tires blew out, and

So, all and all, a good time, even though it wasn’t quite what I expected.

Next major fair on the list: July 28, Fayette County Fair.

Possible Minor fair visits: Fort Armstrong Rodeo, Apollo Moon Landing


Fairiors: Big Butler Fair, Vol. II

Now, the big draw to Sunday’s Big Butler Fair was the School Bus Demolition Derby. However, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow’s segment to see that. Today’s segment will on all the other entertainment that was available.

I’m a guy who likes to people watch. From Anthrocon to hanging out at the mall, people watching is always entertaining. And again, in this regard, the Big Butler Fair didn’t disappoint.

After pulling in to the parking area, I caught a glimpse of what I could expect: A young girl walking in with booty shorts and cowboy boots. Within minutes of entering the actual fair, I heard a parent say to her child (who was blowing through a straw to make an annoying noise), “Please stop that,” and then “IF YOU DON’T STOP THAT I’M GOING TO SHOVE IT UP YOUR BUTT.”

Oh yes, entertainment would be easy to find. And it was all around. In fact, walking out of the barns, we came upon this glorious site:

Mess with the bull, get the inflatable horns.

Now, upon seeing this wondrous piece of machinery, I had flashbacks to my dad’s ’78 Ford 150, which he had on jacked-up tires. he even had steps on it to help my sister and I crawl into the cab on those rare occasions where we didn’t ride in the bed. And it was the 70s — we asked him to ride in the bed, because bouncing around in truck bed while in heavy traffic was considered fun in those days. You parents now would be all horrified, and that’s why the commies are winning.

I briefly considered paying for a ride, but my memory was still good enough to know what being driven around in a giant truck is like, so I opted out. Maybe in a few more years.

Then there was the shopping.

If you ever wondered where cheap goods featuring gnomes, dragons, and Confederate flags come from, it’s from a fair of some sort. Even the t-shirts were so ungodly … I don’t even know how to describe it … hickish? … that some of the best had to be photographed and shared. So, again, there’s nothing I can add to these pictures.

Turtles and gnomes and Confederate flags, oh my!

The shirts:


A surprising number of you Twitter people thought I should have bought the first one. But 1) I hate grey shirts. 2) I find it very difficult to wear the Confederate flag, even in jest. But that’s a story for a different day. 3) Where in God’s name would I actually wear it? Well, I guess I could wear it to other fairs, but that would be about it.

Then there were the prizes you could win at the games, mon:


And what fair isn’t complete without the obligatory freakshows? From Sampson the Giant Horse to the some of the others, it is quite a site to behold.

Sheep beats cow!

Horse power!

Now, one of the fairiors did notice something about Sampson’s alleged size.

He questioned the size comparison chart on the left. Since Bigfoot the Mythical Creature has never been found and therefore never measured, how can that comparison be accurate? And clearly, if this horse was in this structure, then there is no way way it could be bigger than the Bigfoot Monster Truck, as the Wild Bull truck was bigger than this stall.

The only way to figure out this mystery was to go inside, but since there was no beer, none of us was willing to do it. Oh, the mysteries you left us with, Big Butler Fair!

But all of this was completely expected. I mean, this is the normal fair experience and fun … but there is always SOMETHING unique about every fair. Something so unexpected that when you see it, you take a deep breath and exhale a slow “Oh. My. God.”

And we found it in the Puppetone Rockers.

If I had to describe it, it would be like a Zamboni with dancing puppets and a lounge singer acting as one. I was fortunate enough to catch it on video. Please excuse my poor camera skills … I heard the music and walked toward the Puppetone Rockers like they were the Pied Pipers.




Fairiors: Big Butler Fair, Vol 1.

For years, I’ve been wanting to check out the Big Butler Fair. I don’t know why, particularly … it could be any number of reasons: My love of people watching. My redneck heritage. Just wanting to do something different.

And on all 3 counts, the Big Butler Fair did not disappoint. In fact, it inspired a new category on the ole neglected blog: Fairiors. I created it because, well, I now feel compelled to visit every other county fair that I can. On the list: Fayette County on July 28th. Washington County on Aug. 17. Westmoreland County on Aug. 18th.  Yeah, gonna be an interesting summer … assuming you like county fairs.

I went with 4 other people — 2 folks from the immediate Butler area, and 2 others who were not. The locals tend to call it “The Big But Air” — and on a 90 degree day, I had a good guess as to why.

I cut the sleeves off an old Iron City Beer t-shirt, charged up the Droid X, threw some Lynyrd Skynyrd and Steve Miller Band on the iPod, grabbed my best ratty ballcap, and made my way to Butler.

There’s really just too much to talk about to fit into one blog entry, so this will be broken up into three segments. This one will be “The Animal Segment.”

Big Butler Fair: Udderly educational!

I was not raised on a farm. I was not in 4H Club. I cannot tell you the difference between horse, cow or chicken breeds. Hell, my idea of different chicken breeds was breaded, non-breaded, baked, rotisseried, and pressure cooked. So, yeah, this was a whole new experience.

Upon walking up to the first animal zone, fellow fairior Rachel admonished me on my shoe choice: a pair of Teevas. “Do you know how much cow shit and piss and puke you’ll probably step in by the end of the day?” I assured her that I had worked at a Ren Fair, and if that didn’t kill me, nothing coming from a farm animal could.

As if by design, upon walking into the first cow barn, a cow decided to take a pee. With urine flying out of its rear area, I decided to keep wide of the rear ends of any farm critter I encountered — it was a good decision, as I saw more animals poop and pee in one hour than I had in my entire life. There’s really not a lot to talk about, as a caption on most of these pictures is all you need to get the idea of what was happening.

The Cow Centipede — from @pantster

Miniature Horse is not amused


NO! Stop living off the scraps you are given! Embrace … oh, fuck it. See you at Easter.

Speaking of Easter …

Easter decor. In July. Baffling.

Gandalf should have ridden a horse like this instead of that plain one.

Legolis can ride this one. It’s pretty.

More education! Good advice is good advice, yo.

I would proudly ride this chicken into battle. — @pantster

Different definitions, I guess.

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