March 07, 2004



So, I had to go back today to the Florida Strawberry Festival to attend another country music concert. Quick quiz; Does this make me:
A) A sucker for country music
B) A dutiful employee
C) Susceptible to the charms of farm animals, body odor and funnel cake
D) All of the above.

Okay, that was a rhetorical question.

But there was plenty to see and do. And plenty of images that may scar me for the remainder of my days...


First let me say that if you had to pick a throaty, redheaded, audacious, overweight Kentucky girl to sing you some country music, Wynonna would have to be your first and second choice. She puts on one helluva show.


She also seems to attract an audience that is hell-bent on making some rather bold statements with their head apparel.


I know one fan who should stop buying from the Frederick's catalog.

Don't be fooled by the rocks that she got. She still, she's still Jenny from the block.


Not too far from the exit of the performance arena stands this food stand. I like to think that the word "Beef" is in quotes for a good reason and not because the quotes are meant to infer the idea that the food might be "like-beef" or might exhibit "qualities similar to but not exactly identical to beef." Who knows, maybe Beef is the nickname of the chef.

Let's pray that's the answer.


A stone's throw away was the "Agriventure'' section (is that a hybrid of aggravation and adventure?) featuring various forms of livestock and farming. It included a life-size plastic model of a milking cow fitted with a functional udder. (Great band name, by the way: The Dysfunctional Udders).

Anyway, kids could reach down and grab a teat and pull on it until their hearts and carpal tunnels were content, with none of that threat-of-the-cow-kicking-you-in-the-temple kind of hassle.


It came very close to being labeled a "heavy petting zoo.''

Mommy taught her well.


Directly in front of that display was a small wooden shack with a cowboy-hat-wearing gentleman seated in a rocking chair. The sign on the wall says it all: ASK UNCLE NAT.

Perhaps you were supposed to ask him about the fake cow with the functional udder. I had other questions for Nat, such as...


Hey, Uncle Nat, are you having a seizure or are you just drowsy?

And this question:


Hey, Uncle Nat, did you know that's the out-of-town newspaper?

Somehow, I suspect that when the bow-tied, horn-rimmed Howard Troxler pens his very urbane and well-reasoned Metro columns, the last consumer he figures will be reading his prose is a temporary cowboy sitting on the front porch of a wooden shack at the fair, right next to a fake cow with a functional udder.

But maybe I'm just projecting.


What the albino tigers of Sigfried and Roy's act were to Las Vegas, the pinkish swine of Robinson's Racing Pigs are to the strawberry festival.


Huge crowds cheer on the fleet-footed porkers, who race around a track of saw dust to be the first to get an Oreo cookie.


The speed of the hogs is remarkable. So is the patter of the race announcer, who dubs them with porcine-derrivative names like "Dale Earnhog Jr." and "Rush Hamhock.''


I believe that's Sarah Jessica Porker in front by a snout.


The new feature this year is the "pig paddling porkers.'' In that race, a beefy set of hogs cuts halfway through the racing track, climbs a set of stairs and launches their fat little torsos into a skinny pool of water, through which they swim torpedo-like, climb out, towel off and then run to the finish line for a cookie. The grace they utilize in their swim is awe-inspiring. Not unlike watching five chunky Russian women piggy paddling through a hot spring in Kiev on a cold winter morning. Or something like that.


Gotta admire the determination of the lead pig. Look at that grimace. He appears to be hydroplaning.

It was at about that moment I was reminded of the lyrics to James Taylor's song about his pet pig, "Mona":

When you were just a football
At your mama's side
I reckon everyone figured you
For a bar-b-que when you died
And here i'm thinking about you lying underground
Pushing up a pine tree in my field

Oh Mona, Mona
You can close your eyes
I've got a twelve gauge surprise
Waiting for you

Swim while you can, Arnold Ziffle. One day - maybe not today and maybe not soon, but one day, they're gonna run short of bacon.

Posted by Jeff at March 7, 2004 10:58 PM | TrackBack

Thank you for the pigs! Great race report! Especially the obscure JT reference!

Posted by: newsdesigner at March 9, 2004 02:51 PM

Once again an excellent take on the strawberry festival. Maybe next year you can give us an update on the food.

Posted by: Gary at March 11, 2004 07:44 PM