Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fair Rats Unite!

Our booth at the fair. We love it. It is awesome!

Today is the first day of the Eastern Idaho State Fair. I am having some mixed feelings about the fact that I am here, writing this blog rather than in Blackfoot making sweet and sour sauce. As you are well aware, I am having a baby in T minus 10 days. Or sooner depending on what happens. Technically I could go any time. So this year when mom was making the schedule I opted out. I am officially not working at all. Didn't look for one babysitter or anything. I was fine with it. Have been all along. But his morning when I said good-bye to Ryan as he drove off to Blackfoot for the offical first day, I admit I was a little jealous. I chopped green onions all day yesterday in preparation for the Ham Fried Rice. My fingernails have a bit of a green tint to them. So I have already started on the stained hands that come with the fair.

My Ryan and Scott Payne (brother in law) showing off some fun carny memories.

The fair? Really? you may find yourself wondering. I know. So here is the story. Ever since I was 9 we have been working in this booth at the fair. It is called Yan Kee Kan Kook and we serve Ham Fried Rice, Sweet and Sour Chicken and Philly Steak Sandwiches. Our ward had it as a fund raiser to start with, then the budget thing changed and they no longer needed it. So my dad and his partner Brian bought it and our families ran the booth. I was 14. A few years later, my dad decided to buy out his partner, so now my parents are the sole owners. Good thing they have 7 children to help run it. Now for the past 19 years we have worked at the booth. It is always the week of Labor Day and we have a ton of fun running the booth. All of our spouses have become part of our Fair Rat clan and we all love to hate the fair and working in the booth. It is a huge part of our family.

This is my dad cleaning out the grease trap in the Twinkie/candy bar fryer. Yes you read that right and yes they are good!

The Fair Rat part came from Carson. As the youngest of 7, he was just a little kid when we started and he would roam the fair with our friends who also have a family booth. He was only 5 when he started "living"at the fair. Occasionally he would come in and make pops for us, but we mostly only saw him when he was hungry or stealing money out of the cash drawer. I don't think he thought of it as stealing and we laugh about it. He was smart though. He would take our food to the carny's and trade it for rides down on the mid way. There was even a time when he was a few years older that he got a job in the Tee Pee Toy booth so he could earn a blow dart gun.

Carson, on the left, the Original Fair Rat with one of our many "helpers" who have also become addicted to working at the booth. This guy was actually a missionary in our mission and came back to work at the booth when he got home...for 3 years in a row.

Lately, he has been referred too as the Gorilla Boy because he does all the grunt work with my dad setting up the booth. He is also the only one not married and without children to chase. But speaking of children to chase, we are starting to have kids old enough to be the next generation of fair rat. Ryan made a special shirt for them. We probably won't have time to print them until next year because, well the fair started today and nothing else gets done until it is over. But they are still cute enough to share.


Jill said...

oh my gosh-I laughed so hard at the shirt! It's way too cute! Only after working at the fair in the booth can you fully appreciate the goodness and fun that it is. I'm sorry you're missing out this year-but to welcome a's almost a fair trade! I loved the Carson story too. Little resourceful theif!

lishajeanne said...

look again I just added more photos.

Us said...

Who thinks Liza was a Fantastic Addition to the fair this year? LOL
Thanks Smith family - I had a ball!!!

andrea said...

you know what? i worked there with you guys one summer. i still brag about it to anyone i meet who is from SE idaho. it makes me feel important.

i cannot believe you are now frying twinkies there. that is scary.

and HOLY CRAP. carson is a man! he was like 9 the last time i saw him. i'll bet he could even grow a beard now, which he couldn't do when he was 9.

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