"Vote for your favorite cat?" asked the young woman sitting next to the cashier at the entrance to the cat show, handing out spectator award ribbons and ballots. "Sure, I'll vote for a cat," I said. "Better choice than I usually get."
Leaving runner-up thoughts for the Burmilla, a breed I'd never heard of before (cross between Burmese and Chinchilla Persian), the most beautiful Devon Rex I'd ever seen, and Maine Coons in colors previously unseen by me in that breed, I gave it to one of the few Abyssinians on site this year. It's a breed I've always found particularly attractive, and this cat was particularly captivated by the sheaf of peacock feathers I always buy from the vendors at the front of the room when I enter. Eventually destined to be gnawed by Maia at home, they have a first assignment to pass by the eyes of all the cats at the show to see what reactions they'll arouse.
We sat (stood, actually) through one whole round of judging, noting that, though the judges perfunctorily waggle a tinsel stick in front of each cat, the judgment is based almost entirely on physical appearance and closeness to the ideal for the breed. They can do as they like, but I judge cats primarily on behavior: alertness, interactivity, playfulness. My vote in this ring would have gone to no. 10 (of ten) who spent the rest of the judging batting at the ribbon on the front of her cage.
The show is still in the same small building at the front of the county fairgrounds, but they've changed the parking, reopening the huge semi-paved lots on the other side of the main street that were mysteriously closed for many years. The last few years the only nearby parking had been the staff lot at the school down the street, an irregularly-shaped and too-small lot interspersed with buildings and lawns and whatnot, leaving some alarming and dubious choices for where to leave your car as it filled up. This is much better.
The cat show wasn't the only attraction. There were also people coming for a toy show, and something that the fairgrounds announcement board called NAGA. The info page on the fairgrounds website further refused to reveal what that is, and only further research revealed that it's the North American Grappling Association. Grappling? Under current circumstances, I thought it was going to be Nuke America Great Again or something.