Tag Archives: The Fair

Scrapbook: The Fair

26 Sep

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.

'Sup, tortoise.

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.

This year:

Last year:

"Oh hi! Just trying to cause grave bodily harm to myself or others!"

Hey Kingston! Kingston! I want to take a picture of you, dude!

That’s better.

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!”

"I love amimols!"

"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.

"I love amimols!"

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.

Pretty Pictures: Orchids

19 Sep

This orchid room was on display at this year’s county fair. Isn’t it just gorgeous? I’m kind of torn—I’m a reverent supporter of xeriscaping and hope to one day convert my front and back yard into a water-conserving paradise. Growing orchids in our climate is kind of the equivalent of buying oranges from Chile in the off-season. I love orchids but I just don’t think that they were meant to live everywhere and since it takes so much time and trouble to grow them here I have to wonder if it’s worth it. If you’re an orchid aficionado and that’s your passion, that’s one thing. But the casual gardener like myself can’t really justify the time, energy and money it takes to sustain plants that abhor my climate.

I mean, I tried. After I graduated high school I had enough disposable income to spend on exotic flowers yet not enough to move out and support myself so I filled my bathroom at my mom’s house with orchids. I learned a lot about orchids in that time, namely that you shouldn’t try to grow them if you live in a hot, dry, savannah-like climate. They did okay in the bathroom, which received lots of light and was constantly a bit humid from the showers my sister and I took, but removing them from that room was practically a death sentence. When I finally moved away from home I ended up returning the orchids to my parents’ bathroom. They were unhappy anywhere else.

I could never get them to bloom after their initial flowering, but I could get them to grow and look happy as long as they stayed in the bathroom. Whenever I see orchids in the store I’m tempted to try again but I can’t justify spending twenty bucks on a project I don’t have the time and energy for.

Aren’t they lovely though?

Weird Science

9 Sep

This napkin holder could tear ass all over the table

In my previous post about the fair, Little Big reader Shelby commented that she didn’t bother going to the fair anymore because drinking beer in 100-degree temperatures while listening to crappy free bands wasn’t her thing.  I can’t imagine why not, Shelby! That sounds like an evening I’d gladly pay twenty bucks for.

What I personally like about the fair is this:

  1. It’s an excuse to eat a whole lot of fried food
  2. I go with people who are fun to hang out with, so we always have good times
  3. I really like goats, and chickens, and bunnehs
  4. Crazy shit, people. Crazy shit.

I have a soft spot for all the crazy shit you find at the fair. It’s a weakness. I’ve become one of those Old People Who Go To The Fair For Exhibits. In my defense it’s not everyday you see a Marilyn Mon-Lincoln or a Lego napkin holder on wheels.

Baberaham Lincoln

I am enamored by entering things in the fair. I think it’s a dying pastime that deserves to be revived. I think communities need to focus more in the inspiration, the creative process, and the skills of the community and celebrating that effort through exhibition is something we need to revisit. I think we need a grassroots community effort to involve children through city programs and the fair.

Also? I just love seeing people enter weird shit.

I get all my tablesetting inspiration from the fair.

I love love love children’s art. I love it unironically down in my soul. I feel that children’s art is the most perfect form of artistic expression.

ZOMG Adorable!

"Everybody's Racetrack."

And this? This is just badass…

I can hear air guitars wail when I see this.

I love that someone entered their Science Fair project in the fair, even though no one else did.

I nearly forgot there was a problem! A delicious, delicious problem.

I really wanted to show this painting to my piano-loving friends Melynda and Stefanie.

It looked way better than person. My flash messed it up.

Speaking of weird shit, I’d like a guard llama, please.

Until next year, crazy fair entries! Until next year.

The Fair

7 Sep

Our town hosts the County Fair and each year the community braces for it. I have a friend who used to work at a discount food store. When the fair was in town they usually assigned him the same mind-numbing same every day for eight hours: stacking and unstacking pallets of dog food with a fork lift near the door. This strategically placed job was less about accomplishing anything and more about acting as a theft deterrent. When all the dog food pallets were stacked, it was his job to unstack them, and look busy about it. Give customers The Eye as they come in. And repeat.

This year marked Isobel’s first trip to the fair as she was finally old enough to appreciate live stock, fried food, and people watching. I was giddy with excitement. Judge away! I know I’m some sort of hick for admitting this, but I was really looking forward to sharing this with Isobel. After the fair, I was thinking about taking her cow tipping!

My bestie just happened to be working at a booth at the fair this year so our first stop was a giant, walk-through, anatomically correct heart, complete with whooshing sound. It was air conditioned making it easily the best booth at the fair. Afterward we took a few photos of Dr. Isobel and her buxom nurse, Anthony.

Isobel is quite familiar with horses because she has several that she likes to play with. We taught her the theme song to Bonanza and she gallops her horses across the coffee table. The thing is, she’d never seen a real live horse before so we head to the stables.

The first horses Isobel sees in her life are the largest ones possible, taller than most grown men with feet the diameter of dinner plates. The Budweiser Clydesdales. They were monstrous. And they were beautiful.

Isobel was so excited as soon as she saw them. She even whinnied a few times. I tried to get a video of her looking at them and neighing like a horse but of course stopped as soon as I pulled the camera out. She clammed up so all I recorded was a video of her with me in the background saying, “What does a horsey say? NEEEEEEEIIIIIIIGH! What does a horsey say? NEEEEEEEIIIIIIIGH! NEEEEEEEIIIIIIIGH!”

Basically that video will never see the light of day.

I’m deleting it as I type.

ZOMG that thing is a horse?!

Another thing she learned about horses is that they poop. And if they are Clydesdales, they POOP. They drop loads of epic proportions; it’s like dumping an entire bag of organic fertilizer on the ground at once. Which I suppose it kind of is. In fact they had someone whose sole job was to follow behind the Clydes wherever they go and clean up giant crap-piles with a giant snow shovel. That man was kept very busy.

After we saw the Clydes Isobel was very ho-hum about all the other horses. They were just not that exciting in comparison.

We wanted to get photo booth photos since we get them every year, but it was so hot outside the machines were malfunctioning. They had a company mechanic working on them but he said they were all overheating. It wasn’t even as hot as it usually is, probably only 96-97 degrees F. It could have been much worse. We went back later in the night when it had cooled off and took Isobel for her first photo booth experience. She was mesmerized by the flash.

The highlight of the trip was probably the petting zoo. Isobel called all the goats ‘chuchos’ and woofed at them to let them know she was their people. She got along with the goats as well as they got along with her: they tried to chew on her hair and shorts and she tried to pull on their horns. Basically they were each fascinated and curious about each other and not worried to get in each others’ faces. Neither seemed to mind.

I was thrilled that she got along with them so well because I’ve always had a soft spot for goats, and let’s not forget their role in the extinction of the dinosaurs.

"What shampoo do you use? It's delicious!"

While I was trying to get cute pictures of Isobel petting a goat another goat came up to my left arm and started licking it. I’m sure it was after salt as I was quite sweaty. It gave me this look like, “I totally love you!” for a bit then it resumed its licking. I had to move away from it because that goat did not want to stop licking me.

Love me

"You has a nom taste."

We didn’t bring our stroller because we knew there’d be masses of people and not a lot of space in some areas. We brought the sling and the fair was kind enough to let us borrow a simple umbrella loaner stroller provided we left them with Anthony’s driver’s license as collateral.

Remember the mushrooms from last year? I was super excited to see that they were at the fair again this year, along with last year’s rainforest theme.

The night ended with us returning the stroller and packing her up in the sling while she started falling asleep. I held her against me and rubbed her head as we walked and her eyelids drooped. Isobel may not remember her first trip to the fair, but Anthony and I always will.