I live in a town of population of about 1200. That is up 22% since 2000, lol. It is a rural community 20 miles from the bedroom of Athens, GA, itself a University town of 113,000. There is not much traffic. There is no huge industry (except chickens and joists.) There is not one hotel nor B&B in the entire county. People visiting me must sleep on the floor or drive into Athens, a 30 minute ride. So as for souvenirs from my town, we have no tourists, ergo, no place to buy a souvenir. However, if the fair was in town and a visitor came, they might buy a funnel cake. It is all about the funnel cake.
The Agricultural Fair just concluded this week. It is a huge deal in our county, and rightly so. It is the learning ground, proving ground, and the showcase for the next generation of farmers. Without farmers we would have no food. I am a big fan of farmers (and fishermen). Everyone looks forward to the Fair all year, eagerly anticipating the animal showcases and also the rides and food. Great fun is had by all.
Adjacent to the Agricultural portion of the fair, is the fairway, with gaudy lights and loitering teens on cell phones and bravado kids daring each other to ride the stomach-plunging rides. If there was a typical souvenir, it would have to be funnel cakes. I wrote about what funnel cakes are, here. It is at the fair and only the fair that funnel cakes are made and bought and eaten and then regretted, for they are a fried, heavy food.
Another item indigenous to this locale that people purchase (but I advise against it) are boiled peanuts. The peanuts are boiled in the shell for hours in salty water till soggy. The purchaser peels the soggy shell, now a consistency resembling moldy cardboard, and drops or spits the shell on the ground. You pop the now-soft nut in your mouth, itself having a consistency and taste like … lima beans. Why anyone considers lima beans a treat is beyond imagining, and having to tear through soggy shells first is too much work for no reward, if you ask me.
At any fair are gee-gaws to buy and it is here the closest thing to a souvenir may be obtained. This is a booth I admit I have never stopped at and I am not entirely sure what-all is for purchase. There are a lot of Confederate flags for sale and the tent itself is adorned with a huge one.
Wikipedia says: “The display of the Confederate flag remains a highly controversial and emotional topic, generally because of disagreement over the nature of its symbolism. Opponents of the Confederate flag see it as an overt symbol of racism, both for the history of racial slavery in the United States, and the establishment of Jim Crow laws by Southern states following the end of Reconstruction in late 1870s, enforcing racial segregation within state borders…” Alternately, “Supporters of the flag view it as a symbol of heritage and the freedom of the distinct cultural tradition of the South from the oppression of Northern government. White southerners often see the flag as merely a symbol of southern culture without any political or racial connotation. According to Civil War historian and native Southerner Shelby Foote, the flag traditionally represented the South’s resistance to Northern political dominance; it became racially charged during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, when fighting against desegregation suddenly became the focal point of that resistance.”
It is an important part of culture and history here and for that reason I make no opinion about it, only to show the typical souvenir booth at the fair.