This sighting from 2001 takes the cake as the strangest sighting at the local fair or any venue. In fact, it’s not even actually a sighting. I was in the company of my cousin on the south side of the fairgrounds and heading the opposite direction a short distance away were two adorable and very young blond girls who were at the most 12 years old, proudly brandishing cigarettes in public on the most crowded spot on the grounds. I couldn’t believe my eyes as they passed by and I cursed the fact that my cousin was there, disabling me from following the girls and seeing this very rare sighting opportunity play out. I desperately needed a break…and got one. My cousin announced he was gonna head to the midway to play some crazy carnival game he had unsuccessfully attempted earlier. I told him I was gonna “head back and check something out in one of the buildings”, allowing me opportunity to break apart.
I had to play catch up and was speedily heading southward, spotting the girls approaching the south exit with cigarettes still extending from their fingers. I was almost running to make up the considerable distance. The elderly gentleman at the gate, apparently as amazed as I was at what he was seeing, said something indecipherable but most likely about the girls smoking since they raised their cigarettes towards him while walking past out the gate. This was just so surreal that I chose to exit the fairgrounds behind them. Since I had a season pass, I’d be able to get back in a couple minutes later anyway.
I had finally closed the distance and was about 10 yards behind them when it finally struck me that I had not once seen either girl take a drag from these cigarettes they were lugging around. I studied closely from behind and finally realized that they had duped me….the cigarettes were rubber or plastic fakes which they had most likely purchased at the carnival. I had to smile and turned around to go back into the fairgrounds. These 11-12 year-olds played me like a $10 banjo, and probably alot of others along the way. Of course, the silver lining is that these girls were so fascinated by being seen as smokers that it’s a reasonable bet they followed through developing an actual cigarette habit a few short years later. Perhaps I’ll see them as college girls lighting up at the fairgrounds this year.