The Fair… Fair or Unfair?

We’ve had a lot going on in our little world the last couple of weeks.  I probably have enough blog material to keep me busy for quite some time.  We all survived my husband’s first overnight business trip.  We went to the Science Center.  My son started second grade.  The dog is still alive (for now).  My husband downloaded a really cool game that you can play online for free.

The big thing in our neck of the woods this time of year is fair time.  The previous month is when the different counties have their own county fairs.  Then in August, we have the state fair.  This will be the first time that we have actually gone consecutive years to the event.  Last year just the adults went, and even got to camp overnight.  This year we took the kids.

If you have never in your life attended a State Fair in the Midwest, there are some things you need to know:

1)  There is no dieting at Fair Time.  There is nothing healthy at the fair.  Except maybe salad on a stick.  Everything else is fried.  They have everything from fried oreos to fried vegetables to fried butter.  Yes, fried butter.

2)  Everything is on a stick.  Everything.  See Post #1.  Except for maybe this:

3)  You must amass a small fortune to be able to attend.  It costs to park.  It costs to get in.  It REALLY costs to eat all that stuff on a stick.  I’m sure if we give it a couple of years, they’ll figure out how to charge to breathe the air there.

4)  Your kids will hate you because you won’t let them do every single thing they want to do unless you have that fortune referred to in #3, because you won’t be able to afford it.

5)  You will walk the equivalent of a half marathon. I’m not kidding.  You make up for this by ingesting a week’s worth of calories, however.

That being said, we pooled our resources to be able to go to the fair-I mean afford stuff at the fair.  My husband’s work actually reimburses for the tickets-which was why we decided to go.  We saved half of our money that we made from putting the stuff none of us can actually fit into anymore into my parent’s annual rummage sale.  We took cans back-never before did I realize just how much you can fit into a Nissan Altima with two children and their car seats.  We tried really really really hard to NOT spend money beforehand.  I researched to find all the best deals.  We packed water bottles.  Then my husband took over and we ended up abandoning all my great creative cost cutting ideas.

I started off the morning trying to put myself into a diabetic coma.  Pop tarts for breakfast.  Mmmmm.  I must have been figuring that if I actually went into a coma that we wouldn’t go spend all that money at the fair.  We actually got out of the house on time-that NEVER happens.  My husband disagreed with my idea to go park for free and take the shuttle bus for $1 each.  We instead paid the $10 for parking.

I had two goals while I was at the fair:  get some free stuff and buy another tie-dyed t-shirt.  There is a lady who does beautiful tie-dye at the fair each year.  Last year I finally bought a long-sleeved shirt from her after admiring them for years and years.  I know that I could do my own tie-dye.  As a matter of fact, I have an overflowing box of white clothing  all ready to go for everyone in the family along with three different tie-dye kits.  I can’t find the package of soda ash.  Apparently that is really really important or your tie-dying will mutate.  So instead I resort to purchasing my tie-dyed items.  I really need to find a place that sells soda ash.

I got my t-shirt.  I didn’t get anything for free.  I even went to the wine tent-I swear the wine samples were free.  No.  They were $1.  I guess that’s close to free.  It was actually the cheapest thing we found all day-$1 for a thimble sized amount of wine.

We also ate some food.  Lunch was an entree apiece.  My son and I had a corn dog.  My daughter had a hot dog on a stick.  This alone cost us almost as much as the three of us eating at McDonalds, which by the way was there too-apparently no place in the world is safe from McDonalds.  We drank water from our water bottles instead of actually buying something to drink. Supposedly there were to be places to refill your reusable water bottles, but I think they lied to us.  Later on we had ice cream.  It was really good ice cream-I surmise it must be made from gold considering the price.  We got a human sized bag of kettle corn on the way out.  At least my kids will have something for snacks for a few days.

My daughter wanted to go on every thrilling ride she saw.  My husband and I get sick on rides, and she is four so that just wasn’t going to happen.  She begged to go on everything from the double ferris wheel to the ride that is a giant cylinder that spins around-I have no idea what it’s called but someone always pukes on it.  We settled for “Ye Olde Mill”.  This is a ride that is little boats that go through what looks like an old saw mill that advertises everything you can pay money to eat at the fair inside.  It’s nice and cool and very dark in there.  It’s also fairly quiet except for my daughter shrieking in delight the whole way. We managed to convince her that this was as thrilling as it gets.  I’m glad she’s still young enough to believe it.

My son spent a good amount of time counting how many things were in other things-we saw an end table in the art building that was glass and filled with golf balls.  Kind of like those guessing things in grade school.  No wonder he was trying to figure it out, he thought there was a prize.  Then there was The Drowning Machine.  Yes you saw that right.  There was actually a display about how you can get sucked under by current when you’re boating.  Oh he couldn’t get away from it.  He must have asked the people there a hundred questions.  We had to basically pick him up and carry him away from it.  I feel sorry for whomever is his swim instructor next summer.

We did have fun.  The kids saw a lot of different animals-both your traditional farm animals and some more exotic ones at the petting zoo.  They got to milk a fake cow.  They both got to make spin art.  I took lots of pictures-which is important to me as a scrapbooker.  And we got to see a life sized moose carved out of chocolate.  To hell with the famous butter cow, this is my dream.  I was hauled away before I could jump over the rope and take a bite.

I was surprised to find that I still had money in my purse.  It turns out that was because my husband didn’t eat a thing while we were there.  Last year when the two of us went he got in a lot of trouble for getting a beer.  Not just any beer, a beer that cost $11.  Every time the subject of the fair comes up, I have to point out the $11 beer.  So he refrained from consuming anything.  Wow, he must really love me.  To help keep him from succumbing to hunger, we stopped on the way home and picked up a gourmet meal of Jack’s pizzas.

All in all a good day.  We were exhausted from all the walking but glad we went.

This morning my son got out of bed and remarked “Hey Mom I remember when we went to the Iowa State Fair.”  “Yes honey I hope so,” I replied, “That was yesterday”.

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