A New Day at The Fair

Alongside corn dogs, we now find empanadas. What endures is the unapologetic streak of real life, and lessons learned

Greg Miller

National Date Festival, Indio, CA.

In E.B White's masterpiece Charlotte's Web, the parents of Fern and Avery Arable watch nervously as the children charge off toward the Ferris wheel and frozen custard, the merry-go-round and wonderful music of a bustling fairground. "Well, they've got to grow up some time," Mr. Arable says to his wistful missus. "And a fair is a good place to start, I guess."

A fair is both a world apart and the world in miniature, sharply distilled (if slightly distorted), where the earnest industry of the 4-H pavilion exists alongside the low appetites of the funnel-cake stand and the thrill seeking at...

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