Interviews | 访谈

The American County Fair

BY RANE HILL

The County Fair is a cultural tradition in southern America. In the following interview, Rane Hill introduces what a county fair is to us and shares her personal memories, experience and thinking with us.

乡村集市是美国南部的一种文化传统。在这篇采访中,Rane Hill向读者介绍了什么是乡村集市,并分享了她的记忆,经历与思考。

Jiaqi: For those who don’t know what a county fair is, could you please give us a little bit of background information?

你可以给大家简单介绍一下“乡村集市”吗?

Rane: I like to think that a fair combines three very important parts of American life: fried foods, danger, and weird people. These fairs are not exactly the healthiest place to be. There’s a lot of fried foods that are generally considered fair foods, things like corn dogs, chicken tenders, barbeque. They’re all very American foods. 

我认为乡村集市涵盖了美国人生活中三个非常重要的方面:油炸食品、冒险、和怪人。这些集市上卖的食物其实并不健康。集市上卖的很多食物都是油炸食品像玉米热狗 (玉米热狗是一种将热狗裹上玉米粉团油炸而成的食品,发源于美国,食用时通常会涂上番茄酱。)、嫩鸡柳、烤串这些小吃都是集市上的“常客”。它们都是很地道的美国小吃。

As for the danger aspect, there’re a lot of carnival style rides. Fair rides is the general term for them. There have been several incidents of people getting hurt or dying on these rides, though it’s not too common. 

至于冒险方面,集市上有很多狂欢节风格的游乐设施。虽然设施伤人的情况不常见,但在这些乡村集市上确实发生过几次意外。

Lastly, a lot of them combine with carnivals. One side of the fair is all the rides, the other side is the carnival, so you can go and see classic carnival attractions like the bearded lady or I once saw a bunch of little dogs being jockeyed by monkeys. It’s that kind of fun little oddity that you can see there and really nowhere else.

很多乡村集市都和狂欢节一起办。集市的一边是游乐设施,另一边就是狂欢节活动。你可以看到很多经典的狂欢节景象,比如大胡子、艾德女士。我曾经还看到过一群猴子骑在小狗上。你可以在集市里看到很多稀罕的有趣玩意儿。

Jiaqi: Interesting! It sounds very similar to amusement parks. Could you explain the differences and similarities between the two?

有意思!听起来美国的乡村集市有点像游乐场。你可以讲讲它们有什么相似和不同的地方吗?

Rane: They are pretty similar. I’d say that the major difference is that an amusement park is year-round whereas a county or state fair is only for a week or two, usually in the fall or sometimes the spring. Beyond that, at an amusement park, you can’t get as many fried foods. And amusement parks are usually a little bit bigger. 

它们挺相似的。我觉得最大的不同是游乐场全年都开着,而州里或者县里的集市只在春季或者秋季开放一两周。除此之外,你在游乐场吃不到那么多油炸食品。而且游乐场要比乡村集市稍微大一些。

Credit: Rane Hill

Jiaqi: You mentioned a lot of stands selling fried food and interesting rides in the county fair. Could you tell us a bit more about the common stands? What kind of entertainment is there? 

哦!你刚才说,乡村集市上有很多卖油炸食品的摊位和好玩的游乐设施。可以给我们讲讲有哪些很常见的摊位吗?又有哪些常见的游乐设施呢?

Rane: Yeah, there are some stands selling some arts and crafts style stuff, usually shirts and hats. You can get them custom-made while you’re there. There’s also caricatures. Here’s mine on the wall (gestures). So, the purpose of a caricature is that it makes fun of you in a way. Sometimes, they’ll over-exaggerate certain features and it’s a fun little thing you can take home. 

好呀!集市上有卖手工艺术品的小摊,一般是T恤和帽子,你还可以在摊位上买到你的定制款。那里也会卖一些滑稽肖像画,瞧,我的那张正贴在墙上呢!这种滑稽肖像画画出来就是为了搞笑的,所以有时它们会过分夸大你的一些外貌特征。

There was one annual fair that I went to that had a circus built in. It’s called the Shriner’s Circus. They had tigers and little dogs doing tricks, that sort of thing. That was pretty interesting because usually we don’t have something as big as a tiger. Usually the biggest animal there is a cow. 

我还去过一个一年一度的集市,那儿有个叫“夏瑞纳”的马戏团,他们会表演一些老虎和小狗玩杂耍之类的节目。这很有意思,因为马戏团一般不会有老虎这样的大型动物,一般最大的动物就是奶牛。

Austin: I have an impression that there’s an agricultural aspect to county fairs. Is that true of the county fairs that you’re familiar with? 

我印象里乡村集市和农业的联系是非常紧密的。你身边的乡村集市是这样的吗?

Rane: I believe the first county fair was in the 19th century up in Syracuse, New York, and it was originally agriculture based. The purpose of it was competitive livestock and also to show farmers’ new agricultural innovations. It is still pretty prevalent in certain fairs, depending on which one you go to. 

我记得第一个乡村集市是十九世纪的时候在纽约的锡拉丘兹举办的,它确实是以农业为基础的,是为了竞拍牲畜和展示当时最新的农业发明。这些活动在有的集市上还是挺常见的,但这主要看你去哪个集市啦。

But, I live in a pretty suburban area, so you don’t usually see a lot of agriculture. There is one fair that I go to that’s pretty far, it’s called the Georgia National Fair. It’s right in the middle of all our rural farmland in Georgia so that’s where you get to see little chicks hatch or livestock shows. That’s really where all the agriculture comes in. 

但我住在城郊,所以在日常生活中不太能接触得到农业。我曾经去过一个叫“佐治亚国家集市”的乡村集市,它离我的城市还挺远的。人们在佐治亚州主要农耕地的正中间办了这个乡村集市,所以你可以在那儿看到牲畜展览和一些孵小鸡的活动。那种是真正有农业氛围的乡村集市。

Credit: https://rove.me/to/georgia-ga/georgia-national-fair

Jiaqi: Then why are there county fairs in urban places? 

那为什么城市里也有乡村集市呢?

Rane: The best way to explain it is that we still maintain a little bit of the agricultural aspect. For people living in the city, there’s a lot of entertainment readily available, whereas if you live in a very rural place, there’s not a lot going on so it’s more appealing. Also, we use the Atlanta Motor Speedway (a big race track) for one of our state fairs. It does take up a good bit of land that would not necessarily be available in the city. 

我认为最合理的解释是,我们的城市还保留着些乡村情结。住在城市的人会有很多丰富多彩的娱乐活动,但如果你住在乡下,就做不了那么多有趣的事,所以对乡村居民而言,集市就会非常吸引人。办集市需要很大一片场地,通常城市里没有,所以我们会在亚特兰大赛道(一条巨大的赛车道)上举办州里的集市,这样一来,城里的人也能像乡下的人逛集市一样体验到集市的稀奇。

Jiaqi: What is the reason you like the county fair? What kinds of stands or foods or activities do you like the most? 

你为什么喜欢乡村集市呢?你有什么最喜欢什么摊位或者小吃吗?

Rane: I enjoy the rides. For the stands, I enjoy the food stands the most. They also have these little games, they’re all rigged, but a lot of people play. You try to knock down the bottle with a ball or you try to fish things out. For most of them, you get a little tiny prize. They’re pretty fun as long as you recognize that you’re getting ripped off, because that prize is not worth the $5 you paid. 

我比较喜欢玩那些游乐设施。至于摊位嘛,我最喜欢小吃摊了。集市上也会有一些小游戏——它们基本上都是被摊主“暗箱操作”过的,但还是有很多人玩。像“一球即中”(用球击打瓶子)、“愿者上钩”(钓东西)等等,都是很受欢迎的游戏。在大部分的游戏里,你能赢到一个很小的奖品。这些奖品一般都值不了你掏的五美元,但如果你对摊主敲你竹杠这事儿见怪不怪的话,这些游戏还是很有趣的。

Back to the question, I really enjoy the food stands because you get a lot of food that you otherwise can’t really get, like funnel cake which is just dough drizzled into the deep fryer into a little pattern. I really enjoy it. There’s also elephant ears, which are dough fried and flattened out. It’s really crunchy like a chip. 

回到摊位,我特别喜欢卖小吃的摊位,因为你可以吃到在别处买不到的东西。“漏斗糕”就是其中一种。摊主会把长条的面团一点点地放进油锅里炸,然后面团会形成一个小圈圈,这个炸圈圈就是漏斗糕。我特别喜欢吃这个。还有“大象耳朵”,这种小吃是用面团油炸后然后摊平的油炸食品,他们吃起来像薯条一样酥脆。

Credit: Rane Hill

Jiaqi: And would there be things associated with different social groups and age groups or is it mostly things that young people like?

乡村集市上的活动会照顾到不同的社会群体和不同年龄段的人吗?还是说这些活动主要都是年轻人喜欢的东西?

Rane: It’s mostly things that young people like. If you go there you will mostly find parents with a bunch of kids running around the fair or you will find a group of teenagers or college students trying to beat each other at games or something like that. You’re not gonna find too many events that cater for anything older than that.

主要是年轻人喜欢的东西。你去了就会发现,几乎都是父母都带着一群疯跑的孩子,或者是一群在游戏里比输赢的小年轻。你找不到太多专门给中老年人设计的活动。

Jiaqi: Ok and what are some of your earliest memories at the county fair?

好的。那么你在乡村集市上有哪些童年回忆呢?

Rane: I am pretty sure the first time I ever rode a roller coaster was at a county fair. I remember it was a little caterpillar rollercoaster and it seemed so high up at the time. I was like 4 or 5 so I could not do most of the rides but I remember that one. 

我第一次坐过山车就是在乡村集市上。我记得它是一条毛毛虫主题的过山车,看起来特别高。那时候我才四五岁,所以大部分过山车我都坐不了,但是这一个我是记得的。

Credit: Rane Hill

Austin: What do you think is the difference between the way little children and teenagers experience the county fair?

你认为小孩子和青少年在乡村集市上有什么不同体验呢?

Rane: Little kids are usually the ones running around, begging their parents for money. And I think they get exhausted a lot more easily than teenagers. When you are a little kid your brain goes into overload like “Uhh… a giant plushie bear!” or “Uhh… fried foods that mom doesn’t usually give me!” Whereas if you are a teenager you’re usually there with a pack of your friends and you’re usually trying to show off for them like trying to show you are one of “the guys.” 

小孩子通常跑来跑去,向父母要钱,而且我觉得他们比青少年更容易耗光力气。你小的时候,脑袋里想的光是“啊…一只好大的毛绒熊!”或者“啊…这个是妈妈一般不让我吃的油炸小吃!”但如果你是个十来岁的青少年,你通常会和一帮朋友一起去这些集市,你想跟他们炫耀和展示自己有多酷。

Austin: What are some of the things that, if you were hanging out with a group of kids at a county fair, you might do to show off?

如果你和一群同龄的朋友们在乡村集市上玩,你会做什么来炫耀自己很酷呢?

Rane: A really common game is called the dunk tank. So they will have a clown or someone sitting on a ledge. Your goal is to throw the ball at a target to knock them down into the water. I went on a school trip to one of these fairs and a boy spent all of his money trying to knock this clown down. He just kept on trying to do it. I don’t know why. 

一个很常见的游戏叫做“深水炸弹”。他们会让一个小丑或者其他什么人坐在一块悬空的台子上,台子下面是个水池,你得朝着一个机关扔球,如果扔中了机关,台子上的人就会掉进水里。我有一次跟着学校去了一个乡村集会,我看到一个男生花光了他所有的钱,而他唯一的目的就是把那个小丑打下水去。他一刻不停地扔球,(但还是没有扔中)——我不太理解他为什么这么执着。

Credit: https://fun107.com/brockton-fair-dunk-tank-clown-is-a-legit-legend/

Austin: Interesting! When we met with the other Intersections editors the other night, somebody said that she was curious about how or who runs the country fairs? What are your impressions of the people who run the county fairs? 

有意思!前几天晚上我们和其他《交集》的编辑开会时,有人说她很好奇集市是谁来经营的、又是怎么运作的?所以你可以讲讲这个吗?你对经营乡村集市的人有什么印象呢?

Rane: Funding-wise, it is either the state or the county. But as for people running the rides, they are called carnies. They work with an entertainment company who does these fairs. They set up all the rides, they fry up the food, they run the games. People don’t usually trust carnies and there is also the matter that they are salespeople at heart. You know they are running these games that you have very little chance of winning. They are legally swindling you most of the time. 

集市经营的资金一般由州里或者县里提供,但经营游乐设施的人通常被叫做“巡回商”,他们会和经营乡村集市的娱乐公司合作。他们会包办所有玩的、吃的。人们通常不太信任“巡回商”,因为他们实质上就是来赚钱的。你懂的——在他们搞的这些游戏里,你基本上赢不到什么值钱的礼物,而大多数时候,他们其实就是在搞“合法诈骗”。

Austin: I get the sense that there is this negative stereotypes around carnies. What are some of the things that one of those people might do that will make a person going to the fair feel like they couldn’t trust them?

我感觉人们对“巡回商”一般都有这种负面的刻板印象。他们到底做了什么事让人们对他们丧失了信任呢?

Rane: They are migrant workers so you know they are moving around a lot. I don’t know if there have been any cases in the last 20 years but historically like back in the 1900s, people that moved around like that a lot with that kind of job, usually committed crimes while they were in that one little area and then moved on. I assume it is very reminiscent of gypsies in Europe. 

他们是外出打工的人,所以你知道的,他们经常搬来搬去。我不清楚在过去的20年里有没有这样的案件,但是以前,像是在20世纪初,经常搬来搬去做这种工作的人,通常会在一个小区域里作案,然后溜走。我想这很容易让人想起欧洲的吉普赛人。

Austin: Oh, interesting. I had no idea about that.

哦,真有意思。我完全不知道这个情况。

Maybe another question would be what is the atmosphere like and what created that atmosphere?

也许另一个问题是集会会有什么样的氛围呢,这种氛围是怎么营造出来的?

Rane: I would say exhilarating. Each of the little booths or each of the little rides are blaring very loud music and it’s like a color overload compared to the dirt lawn that it’s in and there are bright and colorful plushies everywhere. 

可以说很欢乐了。每个小货摊或小型游乐设施都放着很震天响的音乐,和平日里的泥草地相比,集市的出现让这些地方变得更加地丰富多彩——你会发现处处都是五颜六色的毛绒玩具。

Credit: Rane Hill

Austin: What might you be like smelling, what smells are in the air?

集市里有些什么样的味道呢?小吃的味道?

Rane: If you’re near the food booth it would be like a lot of the oil. Otherwise you wouldn’t smell too much. A lot of the fairs are by the road and a lot of these rides are gasoline powered, so sometimes you smell gasoline.

如果你在小吃摊旁边,就会闻到很大的油味,除此之外也没有太多的味道。很多集市都在路边,而且很多游乐设施是烧汽油的,所以有时候你也会闻到汽油味。

Austin: I think that has given us a very vivid picture of a county fair. Is there anything else we should know about them?

你真是为我们描绘了一幅栩栩如生的乡村集市画卷。还有什么是你想分享的吗?

Rane: The big seller for the county or state fairs is the atmosphere really. You look and see the big rides off in the distance and you get all excited: “Oh there’s the roller coaster, and it’s running, and it has people on it!”

乡村集市最大的卖点就是氛围。你一看到远处的大型游乐设施就会很激动:“哇,过山车!它在动!还有人在上面!”

Austin: Yeah! You can see it from a distance and you’re like, “Cool, the fair has come to town!”

没错!你能远远地看到它,然后想,“太棒了,集市来啦!”

英文编辑 English Editors | Giulia de Cristofaro Susan Lin

中文翻译和编辑 Translators and Chinese Editors | 王若菡 吴子璇 王诗薇 Faith Ho 王姝哲 孙骥远

排版 Layout | 王心悦 宋乐雪

Rane Hill is an international student from Atlanta, Georgia, USA majoring in Material Science – Chemistry. In this interview, she shares her memories and experience with an American Southern tradition.

Rane Hill 是来自美国亚特兰大的一名国际生,她的专业方向是材料化学。在这篇采访中,她和我们分享了关于美国南部传统“乡村集市”的回忆与经历。

Jiaqi Zhang (张家祺) is a sophomore DKU majoring in Applied Mathematics and computational science.

张家祺是DKU的一名大二学生,她的专业是应用数学与计算科学。

Austin Woerner teaches English and creative writing at DKU. He is the coordinator for the Intersections project.

Austin Woerner (温侯廷)是DKU英语和创意写作课程的教授,也是《交集》项目的创始人。