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Fair time

Fireworks. The sound of explosions beginning down by the lake called me up to the deck to watch, and oh, were they lovely! Twenty enthusiastically glorious minutes of falling flower fire cascading down behind the intervening veil of trees. The view was splendid. We're far enough away that the noise echoed back several seconds after the explosion.

It's that time of year when state, county, and country fairs roll around, with all the excitement and trivia they bring. The Canadian National Exhibition (casually known as "The Ex") is on, as is the Iowa State Fair. The Erie County fair just ended. All over this continent, fairs are starting and ending.

The Ex started later than usual, thanks to the blackout. It was meant to start on Friday, but didn't until today. It not only relies on electricity, but on a large contingent of emergency infrastructure. Tonight, therefore, we saw the opening night fireworks. aliciam has been raving about the event - I'm thinking I might finally make it this year, for the first time. I'd like to. I'm very fond of Iowa's state fair - the butter cow, the apple slushies, the sand sculpture, the largest hog, and all the exotic chickens and rabbits. I don't have much experience going to other regions' fairs, and this one is so close, it seems a shame not to give it a chance.

Trivia: This year is the Iowa State Fair's 150th anniversary, and the Ex's 125th.

More trivia: The musical State Fair is based on the Iowa State Fair. The theme song for the musical includes the lines "Our state fair is a great state fair / don't miss it, don't even be late. / It's dollars to donuts that our state fair / is the best state fair in our state."
What does the phrase "dollars to donuts" mean?

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
owlfish
Aug. 19th, 2003 08:19 pm (UTC)
I've been meaning to ask you - other than the fudge, what in particular do you like about the Ex? What things do you always make a point of going to see?

C. isn't convinced his parents will want to go. If you're willing to answer it - other than my general enthusiasm for fairs - why should they go? (If they do, it'll almost certainly be without me, since I'll be busy with the con.)
(Anonymous)
Aug. 20th, 2003 03:18 pm (UTC)
Donuts.... *sound of Homer drooling*
I'm not much of a wordsmith, or a grammarian, but I'll take a swing at that one.

"Dollars to donuts" is in its full form a variation on a host of phrases that goes something like "I'll bet you dollars to donuts...". I figure it means that you're so sure of your supposition that you'd be willing to risk real money against a lesser reward.

Er, or was that a rhetorical question? :)
owlfish
Aug. 21st, 2003 03:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Donuts.... *sound of Homer drooling*
Dear Mystery Poster,

No, it wasn't rhetorical, I really do like knowing these things.

I wonder how far back it goes?
owlfish
Aug. 21st, 2003 03:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Donuts.... *sound of Homer drooling*
To answer my own question, I found something here on the subject:

"DOLLARS TO DOUGHNUTS (or donuts) – “The almost forgotten terms ‘dollars-to-buttons’ and ‘dollars-to-dumplings’ appeared in the 1880s, meaning ‘almost certain’ and usually used in ‘I’ll bet you dollars-to-buttons/dumplings.’ They were replaced by 1890 with the more popular ‘dollars-to-doughnuts’ (a 1904 variation, ‘dollars-to-cobwebs,’ never became very common, perhaps because it didn’t alliterate).” From “Listening to America” by Stuart Berg Flexner (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982)."
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )