New Jersey, um, State Fair?

Someone says “New Jersey.” What comes to mind?

· Bruce (as in Springsteen).
· Tony (as in Soprano).
· Political corruption (as in, well, lots of it).
· Toll roads (as in New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, and thank God for EZPass).
· The City (as in, going over to).

Urban images, all of them. I’d bet more money than I can afford to lose that one phrase that would not come to mind would be this one: New Jersey State Fair. State fairs are for places like Iowa, and North Carolina, and Nebraska, and Georgia, and other states in the South and Midwest with largely rural populations and lots of dairy farms and people who are sincere and have no idea how to be sarcastic or world-weary or why an EZPass is so useful.

New Jersey State Fair? The state that gave us Frank Sinatra (from Hoboken) and Lou Costello (from Paterson), two thoroughly urban guys who probably couldn’t tell a bull from a steer (there is a small but critical difference, you can look it up), has a state fair?

Yes, they do. In Sussex County, well away from the smog and pavement and elbow-rubbing, NJ-Transit-riding, daily grind that is life as they know it from about Exit 9 northward on the Turnpike.

And as you’ve probably figured out, we discovered the New Jersey State Fair a few weeks ago. The video shows a brief parade of antique tractors. You can hear, over the putter of the engines, my brother-in-law Bob and I commenting as they pass by.

It was fun and totally unexpected, not the kind of thing you’d expect to do during a visit to Jersey. Gotta say, though, it was not nearly as big as the North Carolina State Fair.

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