crowds, corndogs, and creating memories

A full day spent at the State Fair.  Eight and a half hours to be exact.

It was confirmed that there is something novel and fantastic about the view from Dad’s back, and Pete got his first taste of stroller-envy.  Stroller-envy is a common ailment that parents experience when they see doo-dads or contraptions on another’s stroller that would simplify their life right at that moment.  In our case, the stroller-envy was directed at those with a double stroller big enough for two tired kids halfway through the day 😉  So we got resourceful and nestled our kids in with each other.  Nobody fell off.  A success.

We practiced our distraction skills in the Museum of Texas State history.  Here, Gabe discovers how much more interesting the ceiling is than the delicate displays of state treasures.  Somehow Dads have a way of making things more fun.

And despite kids being a little unsure on the way TO the fair about riding the Ferris Wheel, somehow the tables were turned once we were actually standing under it.  The kids got all fired up and it was Pete and I who took turns looking up, then looking at each other with a slight hint of panic in our eyes.  Had the youngest not been so determined to control his own body once inside our little cabin (read: not felt the need to violently revolt at the vile suggestion of coercion by being held onto gently while 200ft in the air, his evil mother thwarting determined attempts to stand up and lean over the edge and say, “Whoa!!!!!!!” at the view), I might have had a picture from the top…but alas, no picture this time.

But it was a great and full day, full of all the wild wonders of a State Fair…bellowing game attendants, wild rides with lights flashing, ever-increasing numbers of people as the day wears on, impressively priced deep-fried and sugared food, sore feet, trying to keep a group together.  But while all that is completely stimulating and, at times, frustrating and annoying, the reflection on the day remembers very little of that.

At the end of the day, our reflections remember being together as a family.  We remember wrestling on the lawn in bare feet, laughing over silly family caricatures drawn, processing how the dancing figures on the black-lit puppet stage were really just puppeteers dressed in black and not scary figures.  We recall the sparkle in a boys eye just as a ferris wheel ride starts, or the novelty of a little goat that takes an affection to you amidst an ocean of people trying to feed and pet him.

It’s seeing the creations entered from people around the state…knit sweaters, model cars, action heros, lego creations…and taken the time to enter them in the contests.  It’s knowing about the ONE stand in the *whole fair* it seems that makes REAL lemonade, and getting a big cup to share.

Yeah, there’s a reason you brave the craziness of the Fair….it becomes a fantastic, wonderful, and rich memory…together.

Is braving the crowds and wildness too much or are there things/memories you LOVE about going to big fairs?

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6 responses to “crowds, corndogs, and creating memories

  1. Do I have memories about fairs? Of course! You are building solid memories for them to ponder for many years.

    I remember the big commercial building with the guys hawking kirby’s, pianos, pot-and-pans, and gismos you will only find at the fair. And climbing on the big tractors, sitting in monster machines that dwarf the tiny people pretending to drive them. And the food. Cotton-candy, dogs, corn-on-the-cob dripping in sweet cream butter. Memories? You bet.

    How about the car races with Dad pulling for the poor guy in last place driving the Buick (his favorite car). And mom saying “NO” to every our plea for a sample of food from every stand we passed. Memories? Yep!

    How about the memory of a unicycle demonstration that inspired your aunt Joan to take up unicycle? And the constant nagging of your mother to get a response from “can we go see the horses now?”

    Big fairs are great. But it’s good they only come around once per year.

    Sounds like you had a lovely day!

  2. I remember all the fairs not just the state fair. We were always showing animals-pigs, sheep, cows, chickens,rabbits and/or horses. We would enter our masterpieces in the exhibit building-sewing or cooking creations. Most of my memories are of these things and not so much the rides. But I do recall winning (buying as I learned in my later years) lots of goldfish and I think a rabbit one year. The tilt a world making you dizzy and the merry mixer leaving you feeling queasy. The state fair was always cold but we would be out there washing our animals. I don’t think you have truly experienced 4-H until you have washed your white chickens and dried them with your hairdryer. The state fair was a family affair and we usually got to camp out while we were there. I don’t ever remember my parents going down the midway with us at least not past the taffy stand :). It was always a kid adventure. We would go as one big group and
    just have fun.

    I remember going to sit with my MawMaw and PawPaw Tarver on hill at the end of our road and watch the rides and games pass by on their way to the parish fairgrounds. We take a coke float and sit on the grass or tailgate.

    Now that I have my girls I hope they can have some of these types of memories although to be honest we haven’t taken Haley to our local fair and I usually avoid the area like the plague. I guess as she gets older and we start showing animals that will change.

    I dont know about the whole ride experience…there is something about putting my babies on contraptions that I just saw passing by on the road that scares me now.

    Making fun memories though was/is what it was all about and I would not change a single one – well maybe just one. I’m sure that we will need to hear about more of this adventure.

    • The message above is from Aunt Tori. Evidently I’m not as capable of completing the required fields at midnight 🙂

  3. Wow, this brings back memories! We frequented three fairs while growing up in Dassel: the Cokato Corn Carnival, Red Rooster Day (always on Labor Day in Dassel), and the Minnesota State Fair. We would eat corn-on-the-cob at the Corn Carnival (all that beautiful Green Giant corn cooked in milk and slathered in butter — I think we all ate a dozen cobs each in one day). I always seemed to be the unfortunate “smashee” who sat in the left-most position in the Scrambler cars. My hips still hurt when I think about it. And then on Red Rooster Day, we would watch as the men from Dassel sprayed Seven-Up on the cooking birds to create the most wonderful crispy skin. I remember the rows and rows of picnic tables set up when the whole town showed up for dinner, and we all devoured a half chicken apiece. Then in the evening was the Miss Dassel contest, and one high school senior girl would be crowned.

    With our own kids, we have dragged them more often than not to museums (Nels asked one time, “Dad, when can we go back to the You-See-‘Em?” It will always be that in our family’s vocabulary), but the same family experience applies to museums, too. Any time you spend time with your family is valuable.

    I, too, struggled when my boys were little with the whole concept of “making a difference” in the world, and feeling the guilt that comes with being able to take a nap when my kids did, or indulging myself with a sewing or knitting project. But the most important thing for me was to be able to include my kids in whatever I did. I intentionally brought them with me to church to sit through hour-long meetings of the various committees I was a part of — I wanted them to learn to entertain themselves with books, Matchbox cars, and the occasional Happy Meal we would pick up on the way. My boys didn’t have ipods or cell phones until they could afford to buy them for themselves (I would always tell them that if they needed to call home, just borrow one from one of their friends, since they all seemed to have them already). It was never really an issue, and my kids learned that life doesn’t consist of constant gratification and entertainment. Consequently, now that they’re both in college, they love to learn new things and can carry on long, intelligent conversations with people (Woo-hoo, my evil plan worked!!).

    It doesn’t seem to matter if you have one child or ten — they will require your love, time and attention. I work at the local high school with the reading specialist, and most of the high-school-age students in our classes read at a level much lower than their grade level would indicate. In my humble opinion, the first five years of a child’s life are so incredibly critical to the success of their futures. If you talk with them, read with them, and discuss things with them, that is a precious gift that not many parents take advantage of in today’s world. In our hurry-up-and-wait society, time is a truly priceless luxury. Indulge them (and yourself) with taking the time to stare at the stars; you’ll never get that time back again, but they will remember those times whenever they look up.

    Thanks for starting up your blog again, Ginger. I’ve been waiting patiently for it!

  4. Oh fantastic memories!! You guys crack me up. Thank you all for posting…what great memories, and without even the tummyache I seem to be recovering from with my own experience 😉 though endless corn hardly sounds like a tummyache!

  5. Greetings from Alaska!

    Oh I have LOTS of memories from fairs visited in many states as well as a couple of countries (at least 3). Nothing like traveling and discovering something as completely off-the-beaten-path as a fair/carnival/circus.

    Ironically though, the best fair experience I have had was this year at the Alaska State Fair, despite the fact Tomas was not able to be there as he was working up on the North Slope. I decided that instead of being bummed out by the fact he was not there, I would act like he was and just take a bazillion pictures to show him when he got back!

    Shopping list in hand, I picked up some items that both of needed that I knew only there at the fair was the place to get them. Thermals, socks, Carhart clothing, cool Alaskan T-shirts, etc…

    Grazing of course is required with impossibly messy and sooooo good Funnel Cakes, roasted ears of corn slathered in butter, mayo & assorted spices to give it a little kick, cream puffs, bbq pulled pork sandwiches, halibut tacos, fresh oysters from Prince William Sound, etc…. CALORIES DO NOT COUNT! 😉

    And what fair is not complete without a concert?! For almost 4 hours Garrison Keeler and entourage from Prairie Home Companion entertained, serenaded and wrapped us up in their world. Didn’t matter it was standing room only and the grass was damp. Weather was perfect, people jovial and life couldn’t get any better. 🙂

    As an added bonus, Tomas was able to get through on the cell phone through out the day as his crew was hurrying up and waiting for a permit to be issued for the next phase of the project. So he WAS there in a sense.

    Can’t wait for the next one……..

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