In my youth Vancouver's annual late-August PNE fair seemed to be a metaphor for the end of summer, and we knew the days of sunshine and beaches, & nights of unabashed freedoms were counting down to the inevitable return to school and slide into fall. While its been more years than I care to admit since my last PNE visit, this year I wanted to head down just south of our own Fraser Valley and the 49th, to visit one of the many regional fairs that happen throughout Washington state during August.
Rural events such as the Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden WA really are a backdrop to the celebration of the vital role agriculture plays in the entirety of these farming communities; it transcends from just being a "job" and becomes the fabric of the region - they become as much about being a showcase of the regions sustainability as they do about being a social release. It's this type of atmosphere I visualized growing up, perpetrated by Hollywood - and while there might be the same something-deep-fried-on-a-stick as I can find at our local PNE, the intangibles are what really sets these fairs apart.
... as well as the people.