This year is the 100th anniversary of our state fair which is going on this week in Douglas, about a three-hour drive south of my hometown of Sheridan. I must admit I was skeptical about selling books there. Nobody goes to a state fair to buy books, I thought. They go to look at livestock, ride the Ferris wheel and carousel, play games, and see side shows. At least that’s what I did when I was a kid, and we went to the state fair in Arizona before moving to Wyoming. But I had already told the owner of a Douglas bookstore I’d do it so I couldn’t back out.
I drove down yesterday with another writer. Two other authors were selling books at the same time I was. We read our work aloud and talked about writing. Because the book tent wasn’t directly on the midway, we didn’t have many customers, but a few people stopped to listen to our reading and discussion, and I sold five books so the afternoon wasn’t a total waste.
It was a cloudy, windy day with temperatures in the upper sixties, a welcome relief from the ninety-degree weather we’d been having. We didn’t take in much of the fair, but the wind occasionally brought us the aromas of food and manure and strains of country music. As we got ready to leave the book tent, a herd of longhorn cattle was unloaded into a nearby pen, and those poor cows weren’t happy. This prompted me to remind my guide to point out any droppings because I probably wouldn’t be able to see them. I was assured that the pen was far enough away that there wouldn’t be any droppings. Considering the lungs on those cows, you would have thought the pen was next to the book tent. To tell the truth, I had a pretty good time, and if I’m asked next year, I’ll probably do it again.