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Fun at the fair

July 16, 2011
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We have a great county fair where we live, probably one of the better mid-size county fairs in the state. Growing up, my sisters and I were all involved in 4-H so we spent endless days at the fair – working in food stands, walking around, giving presentations, helping out in the 4-H building, riding rides, and just having a good time. The summer after I graduated high school I even had royal duties to fulfill as that year’s county Fair Queen.

So I think it’s great that the kiddos and I can experience the fair like I did when I was younger.

The kiddos and I have spent at least a part of every day since Wednesday at the fair. The nice thing about living here again is that we can spend a few hours at the fair, come home for a few hours to rest and then go back later that night.

That also means we don’t have to try and cram everything in to one major fairgoing session. We can split it up a bit and then go back to things the kids really liked.

Today we checked out the animals and saw a big turkey

some pigs

and the bucket calves

along with chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep and show cattle. The kidlet wasn’t to thrilled about seeing the chickens for some reason (though the confused rooster crowing at 1pm did make her laugh) but was pretty much okay with everything else as long as she was in her stroller and they were shut up tight in their pens. Girlfriend better get used to livestock when we move out to the country.

One of the best (and cheapest) attractions at the fair is the little “train” that makes a circuit around the fairgrounds. It only costs 50 cents to ride, all the proceeds go to either the local hospital auxiliary or the historical society and it’s a nice way to see some of the things around the fairgrounds and rest your feet.

I think the kids have taken a ride at least once every day.

The kidlet refused to go on it last year, but this year she’s excited to ride.

Can’t you tell? 😉 She really does like it, and made her goofy cheesey grin face, but I snapped the photo just a second too soon. You can also see how flushed her face was starting to get in the heat. My poor fair-skinned, red-headed kiddos turn bright red and sweat like no other in heat. That usually doesn’t stop them from running around like perpetual motion machines, but you just want to stop them and dunk them in water to cool them down.

After the train ride, we walked over to one of the (many) free attractions. The fairboard likes to bring in some sort of animal show every year and this year it was The Great Bear Show.

It was interesting, and entertaining, even though the kiddos kept complaining that it was hot today. And it was hot – 90+ degrees with 90+ percent humidity. Or, typical fair weather as we like to call it. It just doesn’t feel like the fair if there isn’t one day of heat and humidity. Thankfully, Wednesday through Friday were all a little cooler.

After the bear show we went home to cool off and rest some. Well, the kiddos were supposed to rest, but it never seems to work out that way.

We came back in to eat supper at the ribeye roundup put on by the cattlemen’s association and then go to the night’s concert. But we had some time to walk around before we ate, so we saw a few more things.

Next to the train depot, there’s a little recreated historical village.

It’s mostly made up of buildings that have been moved to the fairgrounds from their previous location elsewhere in the county or state. There’s a working blacksmith shop, livery, saloon, barber shop, post office, general store, printer, bank, sheriff/jail, county school, and church. Many of them have been restored and filled with historical items to recreate how they would have looked 80 to 100 or more years ago. On a few nights, there’s a wild west “shootout” that goes down. Otherwise there are various activities that happen – spelling bee at the school, demonstrations, cupcake walks and the like.

But my favorite has to be this:

Homemade ice cream made fresh every day. It only comes in one flavor, and you can only get it one way (in a small styrofoam cup, unless you want a root beer float – then they give it to you in a large styrofoam cup and you have to go over to the saloon and buy a sarsaparilla and make your own). But it’s the best stuff on earth, and only available during the fair.

We made a stop in at the saloon to have a sarsaparilla and orange soda before supper. Here the kidlet is bellied up to the bar.

She didn’t want any pop (yes, we call it pop here), though. Neither of our kids are big pop drinkers, which is totally fine with us, but they miss out on fun little experiences like drinking an ice cold orange soda straight from the glass bottle at the saloon.

After a delicious steak supper, the hub took the kiddos around to look (and re-look) at a few things while my parents, aunt, sister and nephew went to wait for the night’s concert. The fairboard does a great job of bringing in mid-sized artists to the fair for entertainment. They’re generally country singers who have had a few chart hits (or are older, but still definitely recognizable). This year they had the Charlie Daniels Band on Friday and Kellie Pickler tonight.

Not too easy to take a photo from 100 feet away in the dark, but you get the idea. She put on a great show despite it still being 85 degrees and humid even after the sun went down.

Tickets for the shows are fairly inexpensive. They have what they call a Pay One Price pass. You pay $25 (if you buy it early enough, otherwise it’s $35) for the pass and can get into every grandstand show at the fair. We saw the rodeo on Wednesday, Charlie Daniels on Friday, Kellie Pickler tonight and may go to the Figure 8 races tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the last day of the fair, and I’m sure we’ll be back again for one last train ride, one last ice cream, one last piece of pie, one last look at the model trains, one last climb through the old caboose by the depot, one last trip through the 4-H building, one last meal at the church food stand and one last ride on the tractor shuttle. We’ll miss it, but at least we have our annual trip to the State Fair in August to look forward to.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Reenie Visness permalink
    July 27, 2011 1:17 pm

    Loved this, Kari. There is still evidence of fair happenings from over 50 years ago when I worked in the church stand! Good work! Greap pictures. Lots of memories.

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