The reason the fair is so important to me is because it reminds of the  story I was told of how my mother and father met.

The year was 1959 in Eatonville, Washington. Having just finished college, the only jobs my mother and father could get were at the fair. Mom was the best corn dog maker in Pierce County and already had fair experience having won the Miss Moo Beauty Pageant three years running.

Even though dad had taken a summer clown school class, his true calling was the ping pong ball in the gold fish bowl game.

While they were both working at the fair, they had yet to meet.

One day after a long day of handing out gold fish to crying children, dad was hungry for what he heard were the best corn dogs in Pierce County.

There was my mom to greet him with a smile made of an almost-full set of teeth. Myrtle the Turtle -- as her friends called her -- was immediately smitten with who would become her future husband, as she was oddly attracted to the unshaven.

Their first date was later that evening on the Zipper. And yes, I'm talking about the ride.

I always picture it happened something like this: