We go to the fair every year. I love the weird shit, the competitions, and the animals. When I was younger and less concerned over the safety of rides put together overnight by the obviously high, I loved the rides, too. I really think the people you go with really affect how much fun you have. We live in a small town, where we learned from a young age you either make your own fun or you make your own meth. And the market’s kind of flooded for meth.
Last year I was super excited to take Isobel to the county fair, but I knew this year would be even better: she was old enough now to really enjoy it, we were going with her good buddy Kingston, and, to top it all off, high school slow dance favorites Boyz II Men was headlining! Actually, we were neutral about Boyz II Men, but we did happen to go on the night they were performing. The show started just as we were leaving, and I suddenly remembered that my friend Melynda planned on going. I turned to Anthony and said, “Hey! Maybe we’ll see Melynda!” Anthony looked over the crowd of thousands dubiously.
“There is no way we’ll find Melynda,” he said confidently.
“Oh look! There she is!” I replied. Not twenty feet from my stroller, there she was. It was a moment of total serendipity.
First stop: the heart booth. Always the heart booth. Each year our local hospital sets up a booth including a giant, anatomically correct heart that you can walk through, complete with wooshing blood-noises. Like a snuggle nest! Anyway, it’s by far the best booth at the fair for two reasons: my bestie volunteers there, and it’s air-conditioned.
What we didn’t realize is how much the kids would love the heart booth, to the point that as soon as we exited one ventricle the kids would immediately try to to circulate back in. There were two kids and four adults yet somehow they were so crazy for the heart booth we could hardly contain them. In the photo below, for example, Kingston is being escorted out of the heart for about the seventeenth time.
It was total mayhem.
They would not be deterred, even as the heart booth filled with strangers. My normally timid child followed Kingston’s bold lead and steamrolled their way through the innocents trying to learn about anatomy. Kingston favored brute force, pushing his way in and weaving through legs, while Isobel was more sneaky. At one point she pulled a fast one on me and ran around the back of the heart, searching in vain for a extra ventricle that she could circulate through. No such luck.
Anthony did take this picture, though, and I realized I could have won a blue ribbon for Whitest Legs in the County had I only thought to enter them in the fair.
Once we were able to pry the kids away from the heart, we visited the photo-op area, which is a yearly tradition. Seeing as how we’ve done it twice now.
(Click here to see photos of Doctor Baby Isobel and Buxom Nurse Anthony.)
Then we headed over to the rainforest area where I took my favorite photo of the night. Too bad it wasn’t of my kid!
(It was of Kingston, though, so that is totally okay:)
Last year Isobel couldn’t navigate this bridge on her own.
Taking toddlers through areas like this takes a bit longer, especially if your kid is Kingston. You have to fight his natural impulse to be set loose in the rainforest so he can Break All The Things and have a great time.
Previously the mantis was just kind of hanging out, but this year they added mangled butterflies. The carnage is a nice touch.
So here is the part where I think to myself, “Let’s take a sweet photo of the kids together, holding still and smiling and looking directly at the camera nicely, so that we can always remember all the good times we had at the fair.”
Touching, isn’t it? It came out about as well as the photo I took of Isobel and Victoria at Yo Gabba Gabba.
I did get a photo of Isobel sitting on the mushrooms to compare to last year’s, though, and that made me happy.
Hey Kingston! Kingston! I want to take a picture of you, dude!
So my favorite part, even better than all of the weird things you can see in the exhibit hall, is the animals. Specifically, the bunnies, the chickens, and my personal, all-time, most-favorite-ever: the goats.
The thing about the goats is that they are always trying to eat their own signs. Always. It’s hilarious. One time in high school I went to the fair and I was wearing a pair jeans that were ripped in the knees an the goat tried to eat the pants clean off my body. True. Another time, back when I was a toddler, my parents were at a farm when they needed to consult their map for directions home. A goat wandered by and started eating the map. How can you not love an animal like that?
You can tell from this photo how excited I am to see bunnies. I look more enthusiastic than Isobel. But she was actually flipping out with glee. Here she is telling Anthony that she wants Dada to “put this bunny in her hand.”
That girl is like, “Hell no. Mr. Fluffernutters is MINE.”
She adored the fair. Her tiny body reverberated with excitement all night. She loved it so much we ended up going again on a free day for more pig petting and goat snuggling, and and would have gone a few more times at least (admission and all) but that was the week we went out of town to visit Jose and Lupe. She even loved the bus ride we took from our parking spot to the fair on the park and ride. She might even love the fair more than I do, if that’s possible. Her favorite part, by far, was the animals. Even now when I tell her we have to go somewhere she begs me to take to the fair to “go see the animals.” She was in heaven. All night I heard the refrain “I love amimols!”
When we went to the petting zoo to see the goats I realized she either picked up on my love of the creatures or inherited it, because she was terrified of all the animals in the petting zoo except the goats. In fact, she told me that this goat was hers, all hers, hinting that no one else could pet it. She spent the better part of the next 2o minutes hugging it.
We saw the chickens, which she loved but later told me were “too loud.” Other things she said were too loud: turkeys, cows, and Kingston.
Kingston, for his part, was also having a blast. When he wasn’t initiating headbutt competitions with the goats he was playing in…
CORNS! Which I’m sure Angel found in his diaper later.
I love this photo. He’s like, “I have the power. OF CORN.”
Isobel went straight to the farm equipment, which, if she ever saw in real life would definitely be deemed, “too loud.”
She must have known this, because as she played with them she made truck noises.
After baby Kingston left we toured the exhibit hall for a while before heading out. I was looking at artwork and photography while Anthony was indulging in parkour for parents: stroller tricks.
Aaaand because I can’t write a post about the fair without including one strange thing I found in the exhibit hall, I shall leave you with this epic cat lady painting. Not pictured: her 300 other cats. Until next time, county fair.