The Kansas State Fair through the images of Michael Bracey, whose last visited in the 1970s
As my niece, Regina, and I were trying to choose the best time to visit family and friends in Hutchinson, the month of September popped into our minds.She lives on the East Coast in New Jersey, but I live in Chicago and our schedules for vacations vary. Because of distance, her visits to home are not as frequent, but I come once a year, usually for Thanksgiving.
She lives on the East Coast in New Jersey, I live in Chicago and our schedules for vacations vary. Because of distance, her visits to home are not as frequent. I come once a year, usually for Thanksgiving.
I think we chose September because it is an exciting time in Hutchinson. The new school year is starting its second month, the heat from summer begins to dissipate.
And it's time for the Kansas State Fair.
The last time I went to the fair was in the late 1970s, right before going away to college. I do remember the apples on sticks, dipped in either melted caramel or red candy, plain or sprinkled with chopped peanuts. Although both were sweet, I liked the red with nuts because the coating was hard and crunchy.
As Regina and I walked throughout the fairgrounds, we watched the carnival rides with their twists and jerky turns. Scared but excited children let out loud screams and long giggles, either gripping silver crossbars meant to act like seat-belts, or wildly waving their arms in the air as the roller-coaster rapidly plummets from the sky. I remember these scenes well.
Exploring the livestock area was very educational and eye-opening to us urbanites. My niece was amazed at the enormous size of the cows. She kept saying, “These things are huge!” We laughed when I mentioned how urban kids actually think, steak, eggs, and bacon are made in grocery stores.
The farmers answered our every question, patiently and with smiles. They did not flinch when my camera lens invaded their space as they intently groomed their heifers and steers for contests.
As I compiled and edited these photographs, I could not help but reflect on how some things change, but some things stay the same. The candied apples, the screams of joy from children riding roller-coasters and the kindness of the people of Kansas.
Until next time Kansas State Fair., peace and blessings.
Michael Bracey is a photographer living in Chicago who travels the world documenting people and culture. He is currently working on a project where he travels throughout the Americas in search of people of African descent called "Africans Within the Americas. "