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Amite, Louisiana – Tangipahoa Parish Fair

4 Oct
 

 

An Exposure of Several Seconds Helped Make the Ferris Wheel and Another Ride a Wondrous Pattern of Lights

It has been over 25 years since I had attended any portion of the Tangipahoa Parish Fair.  Every year I attended, all the way through high school.  Going back was somewhat of a surprise.  My original intention was to photograph the livestock – the back bone of fairs when I was younger.  The only livestock on exhibit happened to be poultry.

Good Things to Eat Everywhere!

Now there was plenty of food.  Funnel Cakes, Blooming Onions, Large Corn Dogs, Popcorn and of course the traditional Cotton Candy and Candied Apples.  A fair is not a fair without a good candy apple or cotton candy stuck in your hair one your hands and all over your face.

Cotton Candy Was Being Sold Faster Than She Could Make It!

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Lots of lines at the food booths and not many people at the game booths.  It was just the opposite when I was younger.  We couldn’t afford to eat all the food and all they  had available were hamburgers and hot dogs.  Nachos had not even made the scene yet.  We would crowd the game booths even though we weren’t playing to see if anyone actually could win a large teddy bear.

Plenty of Temptation for Those Wanting to Win a Large Prize

It was fun though.  There was a cowboy shootout in the Pioneer Village and plenty of rides to make one sick.  Pans of squeezed sugarcane juice were being cooked and reduced to syrup too.

Top Gun Shoot Out at the Pioneer Village

There were a number of scary rides and that is where the lines were.  Not much of the tame stuff – one had to be scared to death or throw up in order to get their monies worth.

The Sizzler Runs So Fast One Can't See the Carts Full of Kids On a Timed Exposure. The Streaks of Light Were Made By Lights on the Side of the Carts As They Raced By

But I came for pictures and found plenty.  The press of the crowd was terrific but everyone was in a good mood and polite.  The weather was much cooler than in previous days – a good time for all at a good time of the year.

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Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana – Klondyke Strawberries

8 Aug

Shipping Label from Amite

It seems that strawberries have always been central to life in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.  One can still find locally grown strawberries for sale and see a few fields filled with ripe berries and pickers but the culture associated with the growing and shipping and selling of the berries is almost gone.  The strawberry industry in Tangipahoa is now just a shadow of its former self.

Shipping Label from Independence

Not too many years ago the towns up and down US Highway 51 in Tangipahoa Parish bustled with activity during strawberry season.  The towns were jammed with people and activity for weeks and there were berries just about everywhere.  Private stands sold the berries all along the route of Highway 51, the migrant worker school was full of kids, and it seemed that hundreds of gallon jugs with red colored water advertised strawberry wine.

Label from Natalbany

Even the strawberries were different back then.  They were Klonkdykes.  They had a distinctive aroma and they were tart and sweet.  Once you had eaten one another type of berry would not do.  However, the main market for the Klondyke was in Chicago and trainload after trainload carried the distinctly flavored berries there throughout strawberry season.  There was no such thing as plastic pints and cardboard carriers back a few years ago.  Everything was made from wood.  As the season edged on the wooden pints and hand carriers would get drenched in strawberry juice and the delicious smell permeated the wood.

"NIC" Brand from Amite

Not that long ago a disease hit the Klondyke plants and just about wiped them out.  The growers switched to the Chandler Berry which is the same berry grown in California and Florida.  Tangipahoa and Louisiana had lost its unique strawberry niche.  Without a special product to offer, the commercial  stores and outlets could get cheaper and more dependable supplies from other places.

Fluker Even Shipped Strawberries

In general I don’t eat genetically engineered food but if the Klondyke could be brought back through gene therapy I would eat as many as I could.  I suppose the old Klondykes are grown in places but they are no longer the center of life in Tangipahoa Parish.

I have attached some of the old shipping labels that were once in use in Tangipahoa.  The Louisiana State Library at least has images of many of the private labels.  The imagery too was a vital part of the strawberry culture in Tangipahoa.  All of it now has just about become a part history.