Fair Game at the Ostrich Festival

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IMAG0411-1-1-1-1-1-1Spring is a perfect time of year to be in Phoenix. The days are sunny and warm and there are tons of outdoor events to choose from. Last weekend we took in the ostrich races at the Chandler Ostrich Festival. The annual festival draws quite a crowd, and since I love events, I had to go. I don't know whether I was expecting to be excited, disturbed or both.

I was so focused on the ostrich racing that I didn't know it was a full-on State Fair, complete with slides and rides and all the deep fried delights you could imagine! What a day! $25 bought an all day unlimited ride pass and you know it – I was in!
IMAG0415-1-1While wandering around, I was bewildered by all the foods that would surely make me sick after being upside down on the rides. Deep fried twinkies, massive pickles, candied apples, felafel's, chili fries and… OSTRICH BURGERS – whaaat?!?! That tossed me for a loop. Gave weight to the race and made me wonder – what does happen at the end of the race?…eee gads.

Lining the sides of the dusty fair path were all the activities we've all come to know and love. Impossible games, with huge stuffed animals nobody ever wins, swaying gently in the breeze. The lure of the music and screeches from the rides spinning above our heads. The over-priced shaved ice and face painters. Temporary tattoos. People laughing and gripping the rattling rails as they bumped and spun on clanging tracks. Enjoying one and other in person. Face to face. Good old fashioned fun together outdoors. 

Don't we all love the smells and sounds of a good old fashioned fair? It's both disgusting and delightful and we were all in it together. I did use my phone to send friends funny pictures of the huge pigs and pickles. I took these photos for the blog and I will admit to checking in on Facebook.

The races were both disturbing and exciting. I had been apprehensive and concerned that the ostriches would be hurt or abused, but it turned out to be the riders. They got bucked off and had their ostrich chariots tipped, while the big birds glided along the track with their crazy long necks and faces looking at us as their big bodies and enormous legs carried them out of the ring. I'm not sure how far the distance from the racetrack to the grill is after the day's events are over and I didn't want to think about it. One thing I know for sure is that I have no need to watch another race and I will NEVER eat an ostrich burger.

With all the games available on-line and on our smart phones, it's nice to see we are still drawn together in person. We want to gather and gawk. Be thrilled or amazed. Bet on a big bird that can run without it's head appearing to move.

This weekend, I'm checking out the Phoenix Park and Swap. Born in the 1960’s with just three vendors and a drink stand, it's now fifty acres with hundreds of vendors selling almost everything imaginable. Again, I'm not sure whether to be disturbed or excited. I'll let you know.

Karen Orr

The Markit Team


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