Call me crazy, but my first time ever at a state fair was Friday, September 15, 2017. Yep. Last week. Perhaps I was hidden from this curious world throughout my childhood because my parents prioritized safety and sanitation, two things fairs aren't known for; but germs and fire hazards aside, I stepped onto the Jackson Fairgrounds on Friday night not sure of what to expect.
My senses were overloaded as I soaked in the bright colors, odd smells, and a plethora of clichés I've only known through TV, like stuffed animals the size of my bedroom; live goldfish handed out like Halloween candy; and blue-ribboned quilts, jams, and amateur artwork lining miles of pegboards. The sights were unforgettable—not only for their vibrance but also for their peculiarity, some scenes confusing and even disturbing me.
In my short time with my camera on the fairgrounds, I found the state fair to be a sort of playground for American culture, where folks of all ages, ethnicities, and classes come out to have a good (and often odd) time together. I've attempted to capture a glimpse of this bizarre and enlightening experience through the following photos to preserve the memory of the one week of our year where nothing is quite as it seems.
Originally from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Katie Howerton moved to Jackson in 2011 to study Graphic Design and Drawing at Union University. She discovered Our Jackson Home in January 2015 and used it as a guinea pig for her senior design project, creating the first issue of Our Jackson Home: The Magazine. After graduating she was given leadership over Our Jackson Home at theCO, where she now runs the blog, designs the magazine, and coordinates events. She and her husband Jordan live in Midtown and are active members of City Fellowship Baptist Church.