Ann Margret in a publicity photo for “State Fair” (1962)
The Frakes – father Abel Frake, mother Melissa Frake, young adult son Wayne Frake and eighteen year old daughter Margy Frake – are a farming family from Banning, Texas getting ready to go to the multi-day Texas State Fair in Dallas as they do every year. Wayne is too preoccupied with entering his red sportster in the Gold Cup car races against his arch rival Red Hoertert than really notice that his unofficial fiancée Betty Jean isn’t going to the fair. And Margy is just preoccupied with the thought of being in a relationship with a real man, instead of the courtship she has with the boorish Harry Ware. At the fair, Melissa is hoping she made the right decision regarding the mincemeat she has entered for judging, she dealing with her temperance view against Abel’s assertion that the mincemeat would taste better with some brandy. The competition is even more cutthroat as commercial producers have entered several of the food competitions including mincemeat this year. And Abel may have some problems with his potentially prize winning boar, Blueboy, who is, for reasons unknown to Abel, lethargic. Wayne forgets all about Betty Jean when he meets Emily Porter, a performer and model at the fair. Emily, who travels the fair circuit, admits to Wayne that there have been a long line of men like him, although she admits to herself that none have been “him” for who she is also falling. Similarly, Margy forgets all about Harry when she meets Jerry Dundee, an on-camera personality covering various aspects of the fair. Jerry is less forthright with Margy than Emily was with Wayne that he too has had his fair share of women, however none quite as trusting as Margy. Can both the Frake children’s romances extend beyond the length of the fair, especially considering their big city versus farm life differences, Emily’s which would naturally have her on the next train to the next fair, and Jerry’s which may take him to a more lucrative job with some national scope?