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Beneath the Tilt-A-Whir

This weekend, it's all fair, all the time.

Three picks at the same location — the Greater Columbus Fair at the Columbus Civic Center. Get your weekend picks out of the way early, so you have more time to waste. Or spread the picks out over three days and nights, to generate more excitement while wasting more time.

Step one: Get a foot-long hotdog. Don't be fooled by imitations or those trying to lure you in with the promise of a "cozy dog" — the lesser-known fair fare of central Alabama fall gatherings. Accept no substitutes. These 12-inch delicacies can be bought at lunch Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. without having to pay the cost of admission.

Step two: The Ag Adventure. No fair would be complete without one of the main reasons they began in the first place — the animals people would bring to show off. At this fair, though, they've got more than just swine. All manner of four-legged creatures will grace the concrete at this year's fair. Learn about God's creation while munching on cotton candy. It's a win-win.

Step three: Hop on a ride. Too many times at the fair the young and carefree forget to jump on the Ferris wheel for some old-fashioned fun. Pony up your money, get on the pirate swing and forget that your mindless existence continues as usual starting Monday.

If you're lucky, you'll get coyly caught alone beneath the Tilt-A-Whirl. Good luck.