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A Mountain Perspective

My Days at the Fair

Chelsea Baranoski

(11/09) During my time at the Mount, I have come to enjoy the down-home, country awesomeness that is the Great Frederick Fair. It amazes me how big an event the Frederick Fair really is. Before coming to the Mount, I had never heard of "Fair Day," when students in the Frederick County Public Schools have off so they can go to the fair. If I was a tot, I would be jumping for joy! A day off just to have fun and eat funnel cake? I think I live in the wrong county!

My first trip to the fair occurred during my sophomore year. My friend Danielle and I went to the fair for the Joe Nichols concert. When we pulled out of the Mount St. Mary's parking lot, I realized that I forgot the Mapquest directions. No worries… the fair couldn't be that hard to find, right? Needless to say, we got lost. Really lost. We were heading down a road that seemed to have no end. We realized we could not be headed in the right direction, so we had our first "off-roading" experience. I will never forget Danielle pulling her little car on the side of the road so that we could turn around in the lush green grass. Once we got back on the road (in the right direction, this time) we were able to find the fairgrounds. But time was ticking! The concert was about to start and we didn't even have our tickets yet! Once we found a parking space, we zoomed out of the car. We darted to the entrance, handed the worker our money to get into the fair and asked her where we could find the ticket booth. We ran through the fairgrounds like we were being chased by a giant firecracker! However, when we reached the ticket counter, it was already closed. We thought we were out of luck, but a woman offered to sell us two of her tickets to the concert. This was truly divine intervention. I thought the woman was going to sell us the tickets for an exorbitant price, but we actually got the tickets for less than they were worth. And did I mention these tickets were in the 6th row on the track? And that I got autographs afterward? Truly a miracle.

I had such a good time at my first Frederick Fair that I had to go back. During my junior year, I went with three of my friends to see Jason Aldean. This experience wasn't as eventful as my trip to see Joe Nichols (no off-roading involved), but it was still quite an experience. When we arrived at the fair, we could not find the grandstand. We circled the fairgrounds for an eternity, grabbing some funnel cake along the way. Once we found the grandstand, we sat back and enjoyed the concert. Afterward, we were able to get autographs and pictures with Jason Aldean! My picture with Jason turned out blurry because my friend was so excited that she could not stop shaking!

This year I went to the Great Frederick Fair twice. This was the first year that I experienced the "carnival side" of the fair. When I went to the fair with the Mount's Campus Ministry program, all of the students wanted to check out the rides. This left me shaking in my blue and white Nikes. I am petrified of heights, and I become nauseous very easily. The only rides I can tolerate are the Ferris Wheel and kiddie rides. Nevertheless, I still split a sheet of tickets with my friend, Tricia. I started off small - the bumper cars. Those were tolerable - I wasn't in the driver's seat, so all I had to do was sit back and relax. But then, I got brave and decided I would go on a big ride with Tricia. The ride rose high in the air and swung its passengers back and forth as their legs dangled from the hard seats. Granted, my palms were sweaty and my heart was beating a thousand times a minute. When I was on the ride, I closed my eyes so that I would not see how high I was in the air. This didn't help much. I could feel myself being pulled hard to the right and then hard to the left. I screamed so loudly it probably sounded like I was the star of a horror movie. You could probably hear me screaming in Emmitsburg. Tricia was next to me on the ride, but she could not see my face. She yelled, "Are you ok?" And of course I responded "Yes!" even though I could not stop freaking out. Finally, after what seemed like years, the ride ended. Afterward, Tricia told me that she asked the campus ministry students seated across from us if I was ok on the ride. And they just waved their hands as if to say "so-so." I just laughed. It was so embarrassing, but I definitely had to go on a big ride at some point in my life. And why not now - during my last year at the Mount?

You would think that one scary ride would turn me off to any more rides. Wrong. The other campus ministry students persuaded me to go on the swings. The swings weren't too bad, but I had to squeeze my eyes shut again. I think I would have gotten sick if I kept them open…between the constant motion and the height…I'm sure my fellow Mounties were happy that I did not scream on this ride. I saved their eardrums!

One week later, I was back at the Great Frederick Fair for the Josh Turner concert. No rides this time! I wanted to spare my vocal chords! As always, the concert was amazing! Josh Turner started the show with my favorite song, "Firecracker." In fact, my friends and I made shirts that said "I'm a Firecracker!" especially for the concert. What a fun night!

I hope that even after graduating from the Mount, I can still find time to go back to the Great Frederick Fair. It has really become an important part of my life over the last couple of years. Hopefully next time I venture to the fair, I will work up enough courage so I don't scream (as loudly) on the rides. Or maybe I will stick to concerts. We'll see.

Chelsea is a senior at Mount St. Marys majoring in English

Chelsea is a senior at Mount. St. Marys majoring in English.

Read other articles by Chelsea Baranoski