I grew up with the state fair, living in Salem meant that getting there was easy, and parents were comfortable dropping their teenage charges off for an afternoon without worrying something awful would happen. It was always a bit bittersweet because the end of the fair meant the beginning of school, but it was a fun way to end our break.
In Jr. High and High School you’d always want to have a date take you to the fair, it meant you were cool enough to have a summertime boyfriend. I can remember going with my buddies and seeing other friends their with their boyfriends and being oh-so-jealous. It was the place to see and be seen.
My Junior and senior year I worked at the fair, it was two weeks of hot sweaty labor inside the Hefty Chef building, it’s gone now (along with all the other permanent eating establishments there), but used to house the largest fast food establishment there, serving the requisite greasy curly fries, fried burgers, fried everything. The only training we got was a half day of orientation learning the cash registers and the menu basics. Back then there was no food safety training, no safety training of any kind, I guess they figured if we’d survived this long around hot stoves at home, we’d be smart enough not to burn ourselves or our co-workers without any extra training.