acf2009logo.jpg Every year, Jonathan and I spend a Saturday at the Alameda County Fair. We make kissy noises at the baby animals, marvel at the talent of the amazing Alaskan Racing Pigs, holler from the grand stand at the horse track ("Come on, Dover! Move your bloomin' ARSE!"), and eat terribly fattening fried foods. But we also enjoy the quieter exhibits... especially the art, the photography, and the poetry.

For the last three years, I have entered poetry in the competition. It's an outlet for my poetic senses, a chance to dabble in one of my favorite hobbies and find my way into a temporary network of people who share my love of rhyme, rhythm, cadence, structure, sound, and words.

This year, two of my poems were selected for display in the exhibit, and each won a prize.

The Torture of Ebb and Flow.JPG The first, The Torture of Ebb and Flow , won an Honorable Mention. My first true draft of this poem was posted on The Girl Behind the Red Door, but it's changed a lot since then. The working title was Storm .
Feel free to click on the image to see a larger (readable) version.
The second, Monday's Sunburn , won a Silver Award.
This has become a pattern for me. My short poems have won Silver three years in a row! Past Silver Award Winners are Lemonade (2007) and love (2008) The good news is that the Silver comes with a cash prize... which means that I have been paid for my writing! At times, this has amounted to more than a buck per syllable.
More valuable than the cash, though, is being able to call my dad and say, "See, Pops? Writers DO make money!"
Monday.JPG After a couple of years of my urging, my encouraging, my coaxing... and my nagging, Jonathan finally agreed to enter a photo in the competition, too.

His photo, Palette Earth , was selected for display. He took it in Yellowstone National Park on our vacation in 2007.
Photography is the most competitive category of the three in the Fine Arts section, so while he didn't receive a prize this year, I'm still so proud... and there's always next year.

I hope you made it out to your local County Fair this year. If you didn't, take a chance next year! Your attendance benefits the whole community. And make sure you swing by the outdoor Fine paletteearth_by_jonathancamp.jpg Arts exhibit. There are many amazing photos, paintings, and poems. It's fun to see some of the fruits of our talented tri-valley residents. Perhaps you'll be inspired to submit something for the contest, too. It costs $7 to enter, but you receive a "free ticket" to the Fair in return, so it's actually cheaper than walking up to the box office and buying a ticket for entry without entering anything. And once you've got some skin in the game, the game itself is a lot more fun!
Besides, where else can you watch an hypnotist act, get your face painted like a butterfly, listen to karaoke, watch old ladies tap dance, eat deep fried Twinkies AND see a giant electric train set? If that doesn't sell you, nothing will. (Wait... there are wienie dog races. Did I mention that? Not you've got to go!)