Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A fair day

It is county fair season. White eggs, brown eggs; Rhode Island Reds, White Leghorns, and many other breeds of chicken will be on display at fairs all over rural Virginia. Fairs reach back into our agricultural roots, provide rides and amusements to kids, live entertainment, and serve up fresh lemonade, BBQ, and funnel cakes.
Albemarle County fair was last week - weather was good, but organizers were disappointed by turnout. Could it be that the age of the county fair is passing, diminished by suburbia, satellite TV, MySpace, and video gaming? Plus, during a tough economy, the entrance fee, charges for rides, and fairly expensive food makes for a costly family night out.  Augusta's fair is this week and from the program and long list of exhibitors it appears to have grown. Time will tell if attendance will follow. The weather looks cooperative. Many fairgoers think the Rockingham County Fair, next week, is the gold standard of county fairs in Virginia.
Fairs are also political events with local parties setting up booths and candidates working the crowds. I'm not sure how well balloons and bumper stickers competes with chickens, canned veggies, cows, and kiddie rides, but the politicos are working hard. One new aspect of fair politics is the Obama folks looking for new voters to register. You can spot them with an Obama button and a clipboard working the crowds around popular displays and events. With a close race expected in November, newly registered voters (if they vote), could make all the difference. The Obama folks are confident that they will get them to the polls.
Other grist
Rumor is the Obama campaign, which just opened offices in Harrisonburg and Staunton, may open part time offices in Lexington and Bridgewater. They have recruited a big volunteer base. Now, that's grassroots! Pecking for votes all over the 6th district!
Another rumor is the McCain campaign will respond by opening a HQ in Harrisonburg. This should be safe turf for a Republican and even the rumor of this office is an admission of how much trouble McCain and the Republicans are in.
The Gilmore campaign continues wallowing in chicken litter. The other day at an event in Culpepper, only 12 people showed up. A similar thing happened on his recent trip along I-81. Several stops were at businesses where he had a captive audience; those that weren't attracted little attention. Local Democrats are reporting that well-known Republicans are actually coming by and asking for Mark Warner yard signs and bumper stickers. Rumors are flying like feathers that Gilmore's donors are disappearing and his quest for party money will be like scratching for a bug in dry dirt.
Finally, Chris Saxman and Matt Lohr held a press conference in Harrisonburg to talk about ethanol and talk about McCain's energy policy. CCC has discussed ethanol in several earlier posts. Senators Webb and Warner recently asked the EPA to back off the ethanol mandates to ease the pressure on corn as poultry and livestock feed. So, nothing really new from the two McCain surrogates. What interested this bird were the visual images on TV3 and in the DNR - on TV3 the shot was tight and showed Saxman, Lohr, and about three others. The front page pic in the DNR looked like Lohr lost in a cornfield. My guess it they were mostly talking to themselves. Cluck.

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