10/17/08

Our state fair, it's a great state fair

Much against our better judgment, Chris and I took the children to the State Fair yesterday afternoon. We had previously eschewed the experience, preferring to spend our money on things other than sketchily-maintained carnival rides and deep-fried twinkies, and not particularly enjoying being in the same square acre of land with eighty thousand other people at the same time. Alas, this year Mallory's class discussed the fair, bringing its existence into her awareness, so I capitulated to her demands to go.

Our State Fair experience began inauspiciously, with Mallory, Phoebe and I waiting for almost an hour for a bus in the Park and Ride lot, even though we arrived within minutes of the first scheduled shuttle. "When is the bus coming? Will it hurt my ears?" Mallory asked many times, while Phoebe whined that her legs were tired and she simply had to be held needed to "put my head on your shoulder, Mommy." The bus, once it arrived, featured a piercing alarm which did hurt Mallory's ears and which apparently signaled the craft's inability to keep its engine running while idling. Each time the engine shut off, helpful people in the back of the bus would shout, "Turn off the AC, that'll help!" or "We're close enough to walk now, just open the doors!" or "Give it a bit more gas!" What have I wrought, I wondered to myself.

However, once we arrived at the fairgrounds, things improved. We found the Kiddie rides and the girls rode the Hot Air Balloon Lift, the Dragon Wagon, the Jumpin Jalopy, and the Merry Go Round. Phoebe enjoyed every turn, swoop, and drop immensely; Mallory, not so much; I was alarmed at how very fast our ride tickets were disappearing.

Chris, who had walked over from his high school (a mere three blocks away), caught up with us and we decided to go to the farm exhibits. "Bring back memories?" he asked as we stepped into the Livestock Barn. "Smells like home," I replied, but memories of my rural childhood were betrayed by my oldest daughter, who kept pointing at cows and asking, "Is that a horse?" We did finally find a horse -- a giant horse, a draft horse, which was absolutely enormous, I had no idea horses could be that big (it brought to mind, in terms of scale, the skeleton of the giant sloth we saw at the Museum of Natural History in New York. Who knew that sloths were ever that big?) We also saw, in comparison, miniature donkeys which were oh so cute, and goats and sheep, and Phoebe was charmed by a black pot-bellied pig being led around by a leash. Then we saw the prize-winning vegetables, including a 200 pound watermelon and a pumpkin that weighed 637 pounds. "Whoa," was Mallory's comment.

The big thing about the fair, the thing that everyone talks about, is the food. Certainly there was a vast array of artery-clogging goodness to be had, but only if you wanted to pay $6 for an ear of corn, or $8 for a giant turkey leg. I was feeling frugal (seriously, I have no idea where my money went, it's like it evaporated as soon as I passed through the gate), so we just had corn dogs and ice cream, oh, and I bought a cup of really good fresh-squeezed lemonade which Phoebe managed to steal from me. I suppose I could have tried a deep-fried Oreo, or a deep-fried Snickers bar, or even some deep-fried Coke (huh? I don't get it either), but...honestly those things don't even sound good in theory to me, and I have about the biggest sweet tooth in the universe.

After a few more rides (not including the ferris wheel, because Mallory turned chicken, although Phoebe would have gone on it and the Hammer and every other gravity-defying whirligig), we were out of tickets and ready to leave (by "we" I mean Chris and me, the girls would've stayed forever). We decided that we should all walk back to Chris's car instead of waiting for another bus. This was an experience in itself because Phoebe is incapable of walking in a straight line. I don't know if I've mentioned this, but Phoebe spends about two-thirds of her time in the Land of Make Believe, and she was in that mode last night. She skipped sideways, she twirled, she danced in a circle, she walked straight in to other people and signs, all the way carrying on an esoteric monologue about the friends she was going to meet at a birthday party in a couple minutes. Chris finally picked her up and put her on his shoulders because we were tired of telling her to watch where she was going. Mallory, on the other hand, was a real trooper and didn't utter one complaint on the long walk back, which is some kind of record for her.

"The fair was awesome," Mallory said when we got home, "let's go again tomorrow!" Phoebe concurred, and said that her favorite part was the merry-go-round. I'm glad they had fun; I'm glad we could give them that experience. And I'd bet you'd like to see pictures, wouldn't you, of the kids on the Dragon Wagon or standing next to the giant pumpkin or eating their cotton candy. Well, so would I, but as soon as we arrived I discovered that my camera (my new camera, just purchased to replace the camera I lost in New York), was not working. I feared it was because it had gotten wet when my water bottle leaked all over my bag, but I think it was just the battery, because it's working fine today, when we are most assuredly not at the State Fair. So I guess we'll have to go back next year to get those shots. Or...not.

2 comments:

aimee said...

I am glad the girls had fun. I have had a deep-fried snickers a couple of years ago at the fair (and we vowed never to go again either, pictures or no pictures) and believe me, it was not a good experience. Even for sweet tooths. (sweet teeth?)

Abbey said...

Try jading the state fair experience with a field trip...with deaf kids! And people wonder why I hate it so much.