Two days ago I went to the Ohio State Fair, for the first time in four years.
I was concerned I might get arrested.
In How Judges Cheat — Part 3 I talked about my lawsuit against them (that I lost). You might want to take a look at that, first.
Basically, they have a rule requiring shoes (one that was not properly enacted, but that the courts let them get away with):
There it is in number 6:
All patrons, vendors, concessionaires and exhibitors must wear shirts and shoes on the fairgrounds.
I had been going to the Fair for many, many years barefooted, being challenged only twice before the incident of the lawsuit. But now I was concerned that they had my number, and if I got stopped again, they would decide to charge me with criminal trespass. So I was left with deciding just how to approach things.
I could just go barefoot and put on something if challenged. The question there was whether they would let me.
I could wear soleless sandals. I have no idea if they would consider them as “shoes” or not. If not, they might decide to arrest me for being a smartass. One thing about if I decided to go barefoot is that, if challenged, I could not then put on the soleless sandals: they would then be too obvious. But if I started out with them, I might be able to not attract their attention.
I could just wear some sort of real sandal, but I just did not consider that an option. Why concede the battle before it even starts?
Anyways, I wore the soleless sandals. These are a pair I made a long time ago and (very very) rarely wear. I went barefoot up to the gate, then put them on.
At least I didn’t feel I was wasting a lot of money. Because of my membership in the Ohio Historical Society, I was able to park for free (instead of $5). And because of my Kroger Plus card, I got in for half price ($4).
My day (actually, mainly just morning) was uneventful. However, just as in previous years, I saw barefoot people violating the rule. And these were people that the Fair people had to know were violating the rule, because they do it every year.
Here’s the demonstration of spinning wool into yarn. The spinner there is always barefoot.
There were other displays in which the exhibitors were barefoot, too, but I sure didn’t see them being harassed.
One funny thing about the soleless sandals. They only kind of approximate sandals. Here’s a picture (along with a Tom being exhibited):
If you look closely, it’s obvious there is something different about them. The thing is, I passed lots of folks who gave me not a second glance. Even a stray glance downwards did not alert them (and I know how to recognize when people notice bare feet; that just didn’t happen with the soleless sandals). They were just enough that the eye did not examine them. Maybe, just maybe, one adult gave them a visual once-over.
But kids. I caught at least three kids looking, and examining, and looking again, and checking them out. There is something about a child’s eyes. They don’t make the same assumptions that adult eyes do, and they managed to see that there was something peculiar going on.
Not that they reported me or anything.
So I hung around there for about 3 hours, while they day climbed over 90°. By then I’d seen most of what I wanted to see (really, there wasn’t much new, and I started to get bored).
So, I finished up the day touring the museum at the Historical Society (in glorious air conditioning). One of their best exhibits is about the Indian Mounds of Central Ohio, and it is always well worth the effort to visit and look at them. Even better, I’ve never had a bit of trouble visiting barefooted.
The only thing I regret about wearing the soleless sandals is that, because I wore them, I have no idea if I would have been equally successful if I had gone barefoot.
But if I had not been successful . . .