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American County Fairs

Each summer, counties all … the United States hold county fairs. The fairs have been taking place for more … 150 years, and serve as a good way to bring … people of the county together for a little food and fun.

Typically, a county fair has a variety … activities and events. Central to every fair, however, … the animal shows. Participants from tots to teens have the opportunity to prepare, then present their animal for show. The shows are judged … experts, and one animal in every category wins a prize, usually a blue ribbon. The animals must … well fed, in good health and well groomed. Often the horses have bows and ribbons tied in their hair, and the rabbits wear fancy collars. The children take great pride in carrying for their animals, and … forward to the fair every year.

Besides animals, there are also displays of handmade arts and crafts. These too are judged in competition with each … . Looking at the handmade quilts and sweaters, one imagines what life was … a hundred years ago. The county fair competitions provide a good way … preserving old art forms for new generations. County fairs usually last … about a week, and are often held in July. Visitors like to make the trip to see the animals and crafts. Kids love the excitement too. All in all, a trip to the local county fair makes for a very pleasant summer’s day.


  1. Read an article about trainspotting. Six sentences have been removed from the article. Choose from the sentences A-G the one which fits each gap (1-5). There is one extra sentence which you don’t need to use. An example at the beginning is given (0).

A It is also important to stay a safe distance from the tracks.

B Steam trains are the most beautiful.

C Unlike some hobbies, you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment.

D It can be in beautiful countryside or by an old bridge.

E I just don’t understand what so funny.

F York Station is also very popular.

G The final aim of this is to have seen every train in the country.

A hobby which is particularly strange to many people is trainspotting or trainfanning, as it is called in America. This pastime usually involves standing on the platform of a railway station in all kinds of weather and for many hours, writing down the serial numbers of all trains that pass through the station on that day. 0 – G.

1____ A pen or pencil, a notebook for the train numbers, a camera and perhaps a pair of binoculars is all that most people take with them. You also need a lot of patience.

There are two very busy places in England for trainspotters. Clapham junction Station, which is to the south of London, is one of them. It is the busiest station in the country.

2_____ It is in northern England and it has the National Railway Museum nearby.

Although people laugh at trainspotting and say that it’s boring, those who have taken up this hobby disagree. ‘It’s not just about standing on a platform and writing the numbers of trains as they pass through a station,’ says Bob Turner, who has been a trainspotter for 20 years. ‘It also involves activities like watching trains from a favorite location. 3_____ We also ride trains for fun, take photographs or even visit railway shows and museums. Being a trainspotter also increases a person’s interest in rail history.’

There are also a few rules that trainspotters follow for their own and other people’s safety. ‘Safety is very important,’ says Bob. ‘You must always cross the tracks at the proper crossing, not just at any point, and you must always expect a train on any tracks from any direction and at any time. 4_____ You must never walk along the tracks, on bridges or through tunnels. Nobody should risk having an accident while enjoying a hobby.’ Does he really enjoy it? ‘Yes I do!’ says Bob, smiling. ‘I don’t know why people think it’s something to laugh at. 5_____ Trainspotting can be a great way to spend your time. I have traveled all around the country looking at all kinds of trains and I have seen lots of great places.’

Ø Do you personally consider trainspotting as a hobby?

Ø Is trainfanning peculiar to megalopolises only?

Ø Is this extraordinary hobby common with your country?

Ø Have you ever thought of taking up trainspotting?

  1. Read an article about water parks and do the activities that follow.

Let’s Get Wet

Back in the 1970s, a typical family day out was a trip to the local leisure center. Every town had one and they were basically all the same, with a large rectangular swimming pool (shallow at one end, deep at the other), a separate deep-water area with several diving boards, and a kiddie-pool for babies or those who couldn’t swim.

How things change! Now – thankfully – we have the water park, based on the notion that swimming on its own is not the most interesting activity in the world. People get bored easily, and demand a lot more entertainment for their money.

In Britain, most water parks are a combination of pools in an enclosed area and in the open area. In Mediterranean countries, because of their warmer and drier climate, they are more often than not completely outdoors. All, however, provide much more than the chance to swim a few lengths.

Unlike the leisure center, there’s little point just turning up for an hour or two. This is partly because there is so much to do, and partly because there is usually an entrance fee which, although quite reasonable if you make the most of what’s on offer, is not cheap.

So what is there to do? All water parks have a number of slides. These are not the old-fashioned straight slides on the 1970s, though. They come in all shapes and sizes – some are open, some are totally enclosed tunnels, some are steep, some are bumpy, some twist sharply, some you can go down in pairs, or on rubber rings. All of them have water flowing down them. You can often choose how you want to go down – head first, feet first, on your front or back, sitting up, lying down. Your position affects your speed – and how much water will splash into your face!

Other attractions often include the rapids – in which you make your way through a man-made river, surviving the obstacles such as backwards flowing currents, waterfalls and rapids. It’s exhilarating and – at times – a little scary, and for some reason kids are much better and getting round than adults. The baby-brother of the rapids is the lazy pool, where the current gently takes you round a circular channel of water. It’s relaxing more than exciting, and some lazy pools even have a jacuzzi half way round.


Date: 2016-04-22; view: 4081

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