Tractors, tickets and tattoos: Fruita Fall Festival recap

Don’t get me wrong. I like rusted tractors. I grew up in Granby, where rides on the back of a rusted tractor were our version of mass transit. There’s a certain historical charm to them that’s representative of our state’s agricultural roots.

It’s just that after the first 50, they start blending into one. (“Honey, is that a 1949 International? Honey? Honey? Hey! Wake up.”)

Which is why I’m excited to make our way downtown for the festival. We love this event, and pretty much all of the festivals in western Colorado. It doesn’t matter what they center around: peaches, cherries, headless chickens, earless llamas, I don’t care — we’re there. They’re a great way to keep kids occupied. And this is very important for us, because a parent is basically like an unpaid cruise director in that (A) You’re responsible for keeping a bunch of spoiled, immature brats entertained, calm and happy all day, and (B) Oftentimes the best way to accomplish this is to provide them with rum drinks in colorful cups.

Right now though I’m debating as to how much of the little, precious time I have left on this Earth I wish to spend in this God-forsaken line for the ticket booth.

Fruita Fall Festival’s website says that attendance reaches 50,000. Imagine 1 million people. Now picture 5 percent of them wandering three blocks in downtown Fruita, all wanting to go on rides, and you can understand why operators went ahead and splurged and hired the SECOND cashier.

I would have waited, but I despise long lines. Almost as much as I despise this horrible, cash-is-no-good token system that has snuck its way into every local event. You know how it goes: You want to buy your kid a ride, but the carnie operating it won’t take your $3 and says you need three $1 tokens instead, gesturing toward a ticket booth line that starts at the Fruita Civic Center Park and ends roughly around 14 Road.

I don’t know who invented this token system, but I hope they suffered a long and grueling death, and that when they reach the pearly gates, St. Peter says to them (in a very condescending tone), “Sorry, but I can’t let you into heaven. You need to have three tickets.”

So I’m walking back to the family, ticketless, to deliver the dream-crushing news. I know Iran is developing a nuclear weapon that they hope to use to destroy Israel, but right now I’m hoping they annihilate Fruita instead — that way I won’t have to explain to my daughter that she can’t ride the carousel. A nuclear winter has nothing on an upset 3 year-old girl.

“I’m sorry, Marilee. You can’t go on the ride.”

“Nooo! Why not?”

“There’s a really long line for tickets, and Daddy can’t wait in it.”

“Why not?”

“Daddy has to work on Monday.”

So we walk around and soak up the atmosphere instead. It’s fun to people-watch — so long as you’re not trying to eat at the same time. There are a lot of tattoos out there, and some people haven’t gotten the message that arrows and pretend snakes on your arm is not a good look.

Then there are the carnival games, featuring prizes you don’t necessarily want to win. At one booth, the top prize was this enormous, fluorescent-pink inflatable replica of a cellphone — a decorative touch often seen in the pages of Better Homes and Gardens.

This hideously bright inflatable cellphone was the prize for first place. I assume second place gets two of them.

Still, we had fun. We’d like to go back and attend next year’s Fruita Fall Festival.

I hope Iran doesn’t ruin it for us.

Reach Steve Beauregard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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