After jolting down a washboard road and shelling out $8.50, I parked and ambled into the amusement area, which offers about fifteen flavors of ol'-timey country fun, or concocted facsimiles thereof. Robust country music boomed from the band South Wind, moving a mom and her daughter to dance in front of the stage. When the group tore into a twanglicious take on "Sweet Home Alabama," I started tapping my foot.
Kids on the nearby pony ride wore tense, radiant, and bemused expressions. One solemn baby on a furry brown pony viewed it all with Buddhistic calm.
Over in the hay barn, little kids whooped it up, burying each other in flung armfuls of hay. Next door, at the "Scareoke," three high school girls muddled through a rap song called "The Freaks Come Out at Night." Laughing, they tried to keep up with the lyrics racing by on a TV screen. "This is a riot," I said to a videotaping dad. As the girls came off the stage, he told them, "Oops it didn't record you'll have to do it again." "Dad!"
I chatted with fifty-something Phyllis Riddle, whose wooden stick horses had caught my eye. Her husband, Lawrence, Wiard's sole grower, saws out the pine horse heads, and she paints them. I bought from her a bag of beans labeled "Country Bubble Bath. Directions: Cook and eat one hour before bathing."