Sunday, July 13, 2008

My Love Affair With the Fair

Okay, I admit it. I am a sucker for a fair. There is something about agriculture and fried food that just draws me back year after year. I have fond memories of going to the Ventura County Fair as a child. I would drag my parents from animal to animal, making sure I got a good look at each individual cow, sheep, or rabbit that was up for display. I dreamed of living someplace where I could be a part of FFA or 4-H and raise my own animals for show. Alas our backyard in the suburbs was all concrete and about the size of a shoe box. Not to mention my Mom is not what one would call an animal lover. Instead, I looked forward to fair each year when I could have my day with the livestock. In college I was an Animal Science major until organic chemistry kicked my butt and sent me running to the world of Communication. During my Animal Science days I got to milk cows, birth sheep, and even learn how to judge livestock. Yes, I took a whole class on judging livestock. Yes, I am a geek. But at least I have a good idea why one ewe gets the blue ribbon while the other gets nothing more than a green participation award. I digress. There is much more about a fair than livestock. Its a great place to find out what new food man has decided to deep fry (I think the deep fried coke was going a bit far but what do I know?). Its a place to spend $35 trying to throw a ring over a glass bottle so your son can have that giant stuffed basketball he has been dying to win. A place where you can spin to your hearts content on any number of rides set up by toothless carnies who most certainly smoked a little something something before going on shift. Most of all its a place where you can gawk at the sea of humanity and all its blaring fashion errors. Where else will you see 50 year old obese women in short shorts and tube tops (except for maybe some sort of biker event)? Come on people. You know you love it.

 

Last year my kids  experienced a few fairs. We went to the puny Yolo County Fair. The great thing was that it was free and a perfect first glimpse at the fair world for my little ones. Mari cried the first time she came face to face with a sheep but she came around to the world of livestock pretty quick. We got to check out the vintage tractor and fire truck exhibit and the kids loved watching the performing dogs. A nice way to spend the afternoon out of the house with infants.

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We also hit up the State Fair in Sacramento. Without fail there is always a heat wave during this massive State Fair which always turns me into a a maniac looking for the most shade. But I have to go because its the State Fair and oh so fun. Last year was particularly awesome because our boy Huey Lewis was performing. I believe that children should be exposed to the wonder that is Huey at as young an age as possible. So I made the kids some "Huey Rocks" shirts and we enjoyed some good old fashioned "News" in the 135 degree heat. Well at least that is how hot I remember it. The kids enjoyed the petting zoo, livestock, lemonade, and music immensely.

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We have been to the Dixon May Fair for two years running. This little country fair always has big acts come and perform there for some unknown reason. The day we went ZZ Top was headlining and bikers from all over the area came to town. Always good people watching when there are bikers involved. I love me some biker. This is where Mari started her love affair with the horse. She saw the pony rides and freaked. She enjoyed being on that pony more than anything. It may have been the highlight of her little life thus far. Ben enjoyed the free carnival games for kids and trying to run away from us every 5 seconds. The evening was capped off with Mari doing a little stage dancing next to the DJ. Good times.

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On Friday night we went to the Solano County Fair. It was Keith Sweat concert night so lets just say the fair had a very "urban" feel that night. Definitely different than the majority of my fair experiences. The kids HAD to go on the pony rides. It has become a necessity whenever pony rides are around. They just love them. And we love watching them make horse sounds, clap, and cheer as they go around in a circle.

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From the pony rides we headed to the pig races. They were so cute! Four pigs racing around a track to get to their desert of vanilla ice cream and an Oreo cookie. They gave us little colored tickets so we could root for our pig and have the chance to win a ribbon. Our pigs didn't win but we had a great time nonetheless.

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Afterwards we had to take an obligatory stroll through the petting zoo. I still think I get more from the petting zoo. I love them! This one had a wallaby and donkey and llama and deer! I was, I mean the kids were, in heaven.

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Afterwards we did the ceremonial walk through the livestock pavilion  and said hi to all of those gorgeous animals hoping to take best in show. We hit up the leaping water dogs and ended the evening with a carnival game. Ben has become a major stud at the game where you throw tennis balls into cups floating on water. He managed to get one in and he and his sister got lovely stuffed snakes as a prize. Not a bad little outing.

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Now is the perfect time of year to find a fair near you! Its a great an inexpensive way to spend the day as a family. Embrace your inner ag- lover. Relish all things deep fried. Start your love affair with the fair.

5 comments:

Shannon said...

This may be my favorite post of yours so far! I love your enthusiasm, and your love of the fair is very apparent! I'm just starting my own "love affair" with the fair, as I never went to any of them while I was growing up. But last weekend we took the kids to the San Diego County Fair and had the best time we've had in a long time! The fabulous fried food, the elephant ride and a monster truck show were the highlights for us :) Hooray for the fair!

Terri O'Laughlin said...

Yet something else I have not done with the kids. The only thing close is the NC State fair. It is crazy there. The area is too small, they cram too much stuff in and there are WAY too many people! Usually too packed to enjoy. I need to find a little county fair somewhere close by.

Sharlene said...

Terri- here are some links to fairs in North Carolina so you can have your own fun. Hopefully one of these is close by and fits your schedule:

http://www.ncagfairs.org/upevents.html

and

http://southfest.com/northcarolina.shtml

Mashel said...

WE love doing the fair too. We haven't gotten to do it with the twins yet, since it comes in Sept. and they were born in Oct. But have always taken the older boys, and both of us grew up going. It is so much fun.

The Romero-Schroeder said...

Great Post, i do love Fairs!!!