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What Cannot Be Unseen – A Photo Essay

So today I went to the North Carolina State Fair!

My buddy Otter, her husband, and Kevin and I all tromped out to eat Fried Thing On A Stick and risk E. coli in the livestock barns. Unfortunately they’ve apparently had way too much E.coli around, because there was very little livestock comparatively—half a barn, no more. I was sad. I wanted to see draft horses with gigantic rumps and interesting chickens. No luck. Did get some shots of donkeys and sheep and had much better luck at the petting zoo, where a cow licked Kevin and Otter was menaced by Unsettling Camel Lips. (Definitely my next band name.)

We also met The World’s Most Satisfied Goat.


Awwwwwww…yeah. I have a fence.

But no enormous horse butts. I looked for a place to drown my sorrows.


They also had Key Lime, but that’s just crazy talk.

That should do nicely.


Served with powdered sugar, whipped cream, and cinnamon.

In case you’re curious, Deep Fried Pumpkin Pie Onna Stick will drown a LOT of sorrows. Nearly all of them, in fact. I’m pretty sure that I could learn that I was single, destitute, and had foot herpes and I would greet this news with equanimity, if it came with Deep Fried Pumpkin Pie Onna Stick.

Other fair food of note included Alligator Onna Stick (Kevin rated this as “Chewy, but not bad.”) roasted earns of corn dipped in butter, and Buffalo Chicken Rangoon, which was a little heavy for rangoon but otherwise tasty.

Then we went to the sideshows.

I cannot do sideshows with humans in them because that’s just…urgh, no. But things in jars! I will go leave eyeball tracks all over a three-headed pig in a jar!

One of the two was mostly live animals, generally livestock with extra bits. They had a sheep with an extra leg and one of those four-horned goats (Jacob Sheep, google tells me, and holy crap, if you want a strange experience, look up "fat-tailed sheep." Yowza. Sheepy's got back.) and a steer who probably had a couple of extra legs but was laying down. Plus a Zonkey. Can’t argue with a Zonkey.

The seriously bargain basement sideshow, though, was…well, it was a thing.

It had a half-dozen deformed plastic babies with large signs saying that this was EDUCATIONAL ABOUT THE HORRORS OF DRUGS.  (…’Kay?) They had what purported to be a shrunken head, a Genuine Figi Mermaid (sic)* and a plastic bust of the Long Necked Woman, which would have been more impressive if it hadn’t been a plastic mannequin head with the neck wrapped in steel cable.It had, for no apparent reason, a paper-mache chupacabra. It had a pickled octopus and a number of unfortunate fetal pigs and what claimed to be mummified pygmies from “Astralia.”**

It also had a turtlope, a taxidermied tortoise with a jackalope head hanging out of it, whereupon Otter demanded to know why I had not drawn it already.

But the high point of one of the most cut-rate, tacky, inferior sideshows I have ever seen—nay, the high point of the entire day—was Swamp Man.

Photography was not possible in that space, owing to poor lighting and reflective dusty glass, but on the way out, before we reached the entirely legitimate 200lb Alligator Snapping Turtle, underneath the taxidermied 2-headed raccoon, there was a…thing.

It appeared to be a human face, or something close to it, with a rather strange white beard and an open, frowning mouth with four teeth. The eyes were painted, although fairly realistically. There was something odd going on with the nose. It was all covered in dense white hair, with tan sideburns that swept forward.

Otter was gazing at it, baffled (more “Why does this exist?” than “What is it?” I imagine) but something about it was naggingly familiar. I took a step back and felt one of those mental clicks, like when you see a magic-eye puzzle flip the other way and suddenly what you thought was a bowl of fruit is actually a young woman with large kumquats.

“My god,” I said, starting to laugh, “it’s a white-tailed deer butt!”

The tail was the beard. The eyes had been shaved and painted, and they’d done a little work on the nose. And that meant that the mouth was…was made out of…had previously been the deer’s…

Oh dear god.

Teeth and everything.

When we had collected ourselves and gone outside to try and explain the Miracle of Swamp Man to Otter’s husband, I went to Twitter. And an alert reader—god help us all—informed me that no, this was not a singular deviation, this was, in fact, a thing.

Called “Assquatch.”

(Includes Bonus Photo Of Deer-Butt Doorbell!)

These are all much better than Swamp Man was, if “better” is a term that can be applied under these circumstances.

“The thing that amazes me,” said Otter, as we struggled off into the Midway, where the big thing these year was giant stuffed Rastafarian bananas–


Depending on the eyelids, they were either cheerfully stoned or filled with burning banana rage.

–”the thing that really amazes me is that you looked at it for like five seconds and you knew it was a deer’s ass.”

“It’s a gift,” I said modestly. “Evidently.”

Clearly you need to update your resume.”

So that was our trip to the fair. I leave you with Man In Squid Hat Who Does Not Approve Of These Shenanigans.


There will be no more deer-butt shaving on Squid Hat’s watch!

*All in keeping with the grand sideshow tradition! I take my hat off to the Mermaid. Not sure where Figi is.

**It’s near Figi.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

All of that is pure State Fair.
I liked the sign at mine that proclaimed in huge letters: Pork Butt on a Stick!

The stuffed Rastafarian Bananas were a Thing at the PNE in Vancouver this year, too. I can only assume that fairs/midways the continent over buy their prizes from the same cracked-out supplier.

I clicked on the "Assquatch" link.
I see.

And now, all I can do is quote lines from Futurama episodes.

"Oh, dear. I mean, oh my."
"You know, all in all, I had a good life. What do you say the three of us grab a six pack and watch the universe end?"
"He’s come to finish the job! Someone toss me out the window!"
"I don't want to live on this planet anymore."

Edited at 2012-10-21 11:02 pm (UTC)

I need a *boggles* icon. Just for that link.

Rasta Bananas! I've seen those things for the past couple years as higher tier prizes at Great Escape (the Six Flags venue closest to us), but have never had the gumption, sufficient pocket change, or faith in my ability to beat the *ahem* 'house advantage' to really pursue one. I was unaware they were proliferating their way out to other midways.

Kevin has excellent taste in t-shirts. And comics.

being a sheeple, I googled...

"fat-tailed sheep."

Found the Large Tailed Han Sheep.

Oh no. That's .... that's.... that's a mutation that should NEVER have bred into a breed.

Re: being a sheeple, I googled...

Mind. Blown.

Did you pronounce Figi as "figgy"?

Obviously I'm spending too much time with the quilts and not enough time in the Wrong Tents when I go to the fair. Either that or the Washington State Fair is just much more clean cut. Er... Sorry, wrong figure of speech.

Reading about the Assquatch and learning that they are actually A Thing somehow made life a little happier. Really don't know what this is supposed to say about me but I don't think I really care that much either. Somewhere in history someone was creative and brave enough to make the first Assquatch and that is enough for me. :)

Sounds like a pretty awesome fair! I'd have loved the things in jars too. :D

I have been to the NY State Fair almost every year of my life. I have never once entered a sideshow. Not once. You are the first person in the world to make me regret that previously proud decision.

Edited at 2012-10-21 11:49 pm (UTC)

Deep fried pumpkin pie sounds awesome, and something I may try at home if there are Thanksgiving leftovers. OTOH, assquatch, there are no words... Wow...

it actually looks like a pumpkin filled fritter.... onasteek

Michigan had the longest continuous running State Fair until a couple of years back, when they shut it down due to budget and the fairgrounds are now being turned into a shopping mall. This year there was an attempt to get something started back up - in a convention center. A midway and a couple of livestock exhibits; I'm told it was very disappointing.

we end up watching Pawn Stars semi-regularly, and they had one of the Assquatches one time. Lady had brought in some taxidermy she had done, most of it was regular items, but she had one of these. In fact, if I remember right, it looked like the 3rd in the 2nd row in the site you linked to.




oh god



edit: icon

Edited at 2012-10-22 12:34 am (UTC)

This officially proves that the Internet is a closed loop.

For the last 10-12 years, I've worked with Oracle databases, and when I google for information on error messages and how-to do things with Oracle, it's very common that I reach a page written by Don Burleson of Burleson Consulting.

Now, via your blog, and the State Fair, I am led to a page that describes something called an "assquatch" and *that* page has a link to Don Burleson who offers craft tips and instructions on how to create such thigns - and it's the *same* Don Burleson.

Mind officially blown.

So, taxidermy is officially stranger than fiction? ;-) It's an oddly configured world, after all.