Fair days

The rides have been torn down. The last funnel cake fried. No more roasted corn to be had.

Wilson County Fair - 2009
Wilson County Fair - 2009

The Wilson County Fair has come and gone for another year. And I’m happy to say I got to attend this year.

Ever since I moved to the Nashville area, I’ve heard that the Wilson County Fair was something I absolutely had to go do. However, with a husband who plays county fairs all around the country, attending yet another county fair just for fun was pretty low on the list.

This year, though, it was announced that the Wilson County Fair was listed as one of the top 50 fairs in the country, and the urging to go grew too hard to ignore. So one night last week, my husband and I packed it up and went to the fair.

And I am SO happy we did!

Our visit to the fair really made me feel like I’d taken a step back in time to when entertainment didn’t revolve around video games and the Internet. We decided to be kids again, and we made a meal out of carny food. The smell of the food and the lights of the rides were sensory overload. We sprung for a ride on the large Farris Wheel that turned over head all night and upon reaching the top didn’t know which was to look first as the fair seemed to spread forever below.

There was a petting zoo. A walk through an old town. Monkeys riding dogs. And most importantly: families out having fun together.

Just when I start to lose a little faith in our world thanks to the constant stream of bad news coming from all around, I have an experience like the fair that brings that faith back. Moms and dads with kids of all ages were scattered all around the fair bringing a smile to my face. I walked through the fairway holding hands with my husband, and it was like being on an old fashioned date.

We left that night more relaxed than we could have ever asked to be. My legs were like goo from walking so much, and my stomach gave a little grumble at the junk food we’d eaten. We rode home with the windows open in complete content silence, marveling in the wonder night we’d had.

You’re never too old for a night out at the county fair, and I do highly recommend catching your local fair when the opportunity arises. Leave the stresses of work and society behind and go be a kid again. It’s wonderful therapy for the mind and the soul.

My Flickr Set of Fair Photos

My “Hollywood” experiences

I joked tonight that I’ve lived in Nashville too long when a movie being filmed outside my place of work annoyed me instead of leaving me excited. I say that about running into singers, actors, etc. as well because on a whole I really have just come to take it in stride. (Though I have to confess, George Strait made me totally freeze up and start stuttering and lose a great opportunity to possibly meet him, but some day maybe the chance will return. Doubtful. But maybe.)

I do think the whole Hollywood thing is pretty exciting. And there is a true mystique and fascination that exists around the whole TV and movie making process. I admit to getting wrapped up in it on occasion myself. Getting to participate in making the new Lee Ann Womack video was pretty incredible.

But twice in my life, Hollywood has made me throw my hands up in the air and want to scream in frustration.

InfamousMy first Hollywood experience was actually in little ol’ Marlin , Texas, in 2005 when they used the Falls County Courthouse to film a lot of scenes for the movie Infamous whose cast included Sandra Bullock and Sigourney Weaver. I was working at the town’s newspaper at that time, and of course this was the biggest news to hit Marlin in probably almost 20 years. (Well, the biggest bit of positive news.)

They filmed inside the courthouse and outside the courthouse. For exterior scenes, they put out a call for classic cars to line the streets around the courthouse. To be honest, the cars got me more excited than the stars, but then that’s just how I roll.

Dawg.

Whatever.

On the afternoon that they filmed some of the exterior scenes, I went out to try to get a few photos for the next week’s issue. I was careful to stay OUT of the way, but before long I was sniffed out and scolded to not take any photos due to the need to keep things about the movie confidential. I could respect that fact up to a couple points. One point was the fact that Marlin is a small town that I doubt any entertainment reporters would be picking up our paper to sniff for things about the movie. The other point was the one in which they started to impede my ability to do MY job.

Old CarsIt took awhile, but I did finally get them to leave me alone enough to take pictures of the cars all around the square. One gentleman offered to let me sit in his car and watch from afar, which I gladly accepted as at that point I had to crouch down behind all these cars to stay out of view.

Eventually, the movie was done filming. We ran the photo I took of the cars in the paper. And life moved on…

I never did see the movie. It’s in my Amazon.com wishlist in case anyone cares to buy it for me.

Fast forward four years, and I had my second Hollywood experience. This time, Nashville, TN. Printer’s Alley. My job? Working in one of the bars in the Alley. The filming is going on in the bar next to the one at which I work, but it somewhat disrupts things in the whole Alley.

Now, understand, when I heard days ago about a movie being filmed in the Alley, I got excited about how much great PR this could mean for it. Perhaps seeing our Alley in a movie would bring visitors next year?

However, going into the night I was already in a bad mood, but it didn’t take long for the bad mood to sour further. I quickly felt like I couldn’t do my job properly lest I cause some sort of problem between “Quiet! Filming!” barks and worrying about how our band would be able to load in their gear. Ultimately, I wanted to do my job, while they did theirs, but struggled with how to do just that.PA filming

Again.

And I have to admit. That frustrated me. I believe my exact phrase was “Pain in the a–, huh?” to my husband as he pulled in to unload his gear to play.

I often get this exact same frustration from tourists who seem to forget that while Nashville is a tourism-centric city, it’s also home to many people. We’re happy to have you here. But please don’t stop us from living our lives; doing our jobs.

Chances are tomorrow night I’ll have my third experience, as apparently filming will be again occurring in the Alley. I don’t know if that will go into the night and overlap with my time there. But, the chance is there. And I can’t say that it excites me.

Call it a pessimistic approach to the experience if you want.

Me? I call it an experienced approach to it.

Because that’s how I roll.

Dawg.

Whatever.

You gotta taste this!

I like to eat. I like food. It’s not a comfort thing! Generally, if I am stressed, I DON’T eat. It’s when I am happy that I eat the most… which could explain why I gained about 15 pounds after getting married. I’m working on that, but the long and short of it is simply that I do like food.

Dinner is served...
Dinner is served...

I also really like to discover places in Nashville. New places. Old places. I just like to discover places in, and things about, my city.

So it goes to reason that on my Twitter feed, Taste Casting caught my attention. The discovery of new places to eat? Sampling menu items? Blogging about my experience? Brilliant!!

Without taking a moment to second guess it, I signed up. It wasn’t until later that I started to do the, “What if I don’t get along with the other bloggers?” or “Who am I kidding? I’m not foodie.” and “Will this work with my schedule?”

Those questions were silenced once again simply with the idea of good food, city exploration and blog fodder. It couldn’t be a bad thing at all.

Wednesday night, I attended a meet and greet with other bloggers who had signed up to be a part of Nashville’s Taste Casting team. My husband came along, and I really hope I can convince him to also become a member and this be something we enjoy together. But even if he declines, I can already tell — based on this first experience —  I’m going to thoroughly enjoy this new endeavor, the people I’m going to (and already have!) meet, and the things that I will learn.

Despite there being only four members of the group in attendance, myself included in that tally, I’m excited about the possibilities. It was very much like meeting three other kindred spirits. I feel like I can learn a lot from them, but in the same breath once again feel like I have found a place that I fit. The friends and business contacts that can be made are exciting. The new places to discover make me curious. The food to be tasted makes me hungry. The job to get done gives me determination.

The Taste Casters :: Me, Kim, Debbi (our leader!), and Jessica
The Taste Casters :: Me, Kim, Debbi (our leader!), and Jessica

What is Taste Casting, you  might ask?

Taste Casting is a group of people — bloggers, twitter users, Facebook addicts, all of the above — who come together to visit restaurants we are invited to review.  Upon an invitation to review a restaurant (or a bakery or a coffee shop… any type of food service establishment) a group will meet on a specific night and time to have a meal provided by the restaurant. At that time, the members will have an opportunity to critique and ask questions — not only about the food, but also about the ambiance, the service, the menu… everything! Photography, video, and Twitter and blog posts are to be made to help promote this new business. Consider it a whole other avenue of advertising for the establishment as well as a wonderful networking opportunity for the social network members.

As I’ve said before, I’m excited for this, and we are have room for more members in our Nashville Taste Casters group. Just visit Taste Casting, take a look around, and if you’re in Nashville and interested… join! Or if you own an eating establishment and would like to have us review your business, Request A Tasting!

It’s all about food and social media. Sounds like a positive combination to me!