When the Fair Comes to Town

So you wonder what the Fair is like when it comes to Cambodia? I’ll tell you about our first experience. First, no one I asked knew that the fair was actually coming until it got here and they started setting up. The night before the big show, there were spotlights streaming across the sky. We were going out to dinner and decided to see what was happening (spotlights aren’t common around these parts), and when we got to the center of town, we  saw a huge stage and carnival being set up. The next day there was an announcer that rode through town telling everyone about the concert that night. This is how the locals know the fair has come to town.

Carnival1

We noticed as we drove to the concert/carnival the next night that everyone in town seemed to be going there as well. Come to find out, this fair travels to all of the provinces in Cambodia to put on the same show. So not only were the people of Kampot at the show, so were many people from the countryside within the province.

Our first stop was the carnival…

There were 4 rides that I saw at the carnival, 2 being for kids. The most popular ride looked as though it had been made for kids and transformed into a ride for adults…by the teenagers and young adults. It was simple enough: a metal horse suspended by metal bars that rotated in a circle like a merry-go-round. The thing that made this ride different is that the horses swung…if you swung them. So students would get on these small horses and swing them back and forth while the ride was rotating. Many of them ended up going higher than the actual ride. I was one of the people standing observing as these metal horses flew by my face and up above my head. They had marked the “danger zone” a circle on the grass with a small rope. Another thing that I found really interesting about this ride is there was no line. When you wanted to ride, you had to run for a free horse when the ride slowed down and someone else got off. Amazingly, there were no fights, but there was a lot of running…

We then made our way past the fried bug and lizard vendors to the concert. (This lady sold hard-boiled quail eggs, which I love, along with her fried bugs.)

Carnival4

Fried grasshoppers, beetles and boiled quail eggs.

The concert was a combination of singing, comedy, dancing and acting. Many famous actors, singers, and comedians all get together for one concert. It was very good, but oh-so-loud! There were so many people there that we couldn’t really see, so Aaron “rented” some stools from a vendor for our friends to stand on. All the Khmer boys would walk by and look at them really strange then immediately look down to see if they truly were that tall. We then would see a little smile form on their faces, and a look of “Why didn’t I think of that!?”

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