I LOVE the fair. When we lived in Alabama, there were no good fairs, in my not-so-humble opinion. After we went to the supposed state fair there, I cried because I was so homesick for the N.C. State Fair. Last year, we made it to the one in Virginia, and it was good, but not as good as the one I've been visiting all my life... This year, I got to take my baby to the fair for the first time, and it was "my" fair growing up!
When I get to the fair, I am all about the exhibits and the farm animals. Growing up, Mom and Dad wouldn't let us "waste money" on rides, so we spent very little time at the midway. Instead, we would stroll the aisles and run through the barns, looking at shiny, fresh produce pinned with multicolored ribbons and smiling at Wrangler wearing kids in 4-H jackets as they dragged freshly brushed goats from stall to ring. When we were old enough, my brother and I entered things in the fair. I highly recommend that for some fall fun. Enter a cake that you've baked, or a picture that you've drawn or taken, or even decorate a pumpkin. Vance and I entered the pumpkin painting contest every year at the Dixie Classic (our local fair in Winston-Salem). I'll never forget the year we scored a long, curly haired gray wig at a thrift store. That year, Vance's pumpkin was Benjamin Franklin, complete with gray ponytail, tri-cornered hat, and a mini kite on a coat hangar extending from his back. Good times...
There is also something really fun about talking to the people manning the booths at fairs. Everybody has a booth it seems, from the State Department of Labor to the guy who demonstrates his overpriced food processors. As a lifelong and devoted 4-H member, I would often get in free to the fair so that I could work a booth. That involved handing out brochures for 5 minutes and roaming the building the booth was in for 40 minutes. Just kidding. =) If you're in a local organization that has a fair booth, volunteer! You can score a free ticket, and sometimes, even good parking at a vendor lot. And you feel more a part of the fair when you're working there. Yesterday, Seth and I talked to the guys at the State Bureau of Investigation tent. They knew some of the guys that David works with, and it was fun to chat a bit. I talked to the Gideons when they insisted that I take a Bible, and I think it cheered up those suited, older men to know that a young lady attempts to do her devotions daily. And I left a message for an old 4-H leader of mine at that booth... Slow down. Talk to the people. Take a sticker. They're there to talk to you, especially if you can relate to their cause or organization.
Seth and I had some fun times at the fair yesterday, lemme tell ya. First of all, a word of advice to young moms. DO NOT go to the fair on Senior Citizens Day. It's the only day of the fair that there will be wheelchairs competing with strollers for who can block the most aisles... Seth hates riding facing forward in his stroller at this point. He sucks his thumb and scowls until I take him out. Then he rides on my shoulder, squealing and writhing and kicking to beat the band. I spent most of our time at the fair pushing a stroller with one hand and holding him in the other aching arm. If I'd known it would be that bad, I would've just roughed it with the baby backpack.
In an attempt to save money, I packed a lunch for myself and some baby food for Seth. My big plan was to find a place to sit down, put a blanket over the stroller to protect it from getting food on it, and then feed him in his stroller. Of course, most of the benches were being taken by the aforementioned senior citizens, so I had to resort to a hay bale for a place to sit. Seth, of course, was mad at me for making him sit in his stroller and for not feeding him fast enough. So there I am, with a bucking baby who has managed to buck his way down so that he's wedged between the stroller bar and the stroller, and I'm trying to pull him out with one hand and keep his food from falling on the ground with the other. Several benches full of frowning older women were watching the show. I finally got him fed and changed without getting us both covered in food and hay, but it involved me putting him on my knee to feed him and changing him on a blanket on the ground. Why did I try to go this year again? Oh yeah, because I like the fair, and I didn't want to miss it. Next year will be for him...
Despite the headaches associated with carting a baby to the fair, and despite the fact that I paid more to park than I did to get in, I had a great time! =) I always know that fall is in full swing when I go to the fair. I love seeing all the fruits of this year's harvest. I love seeing the sleek, full grown cows and the cute, baby chicks. I love getting back to the farm roots that I have in my family. And this year, I love that I got to share a little bit of that love with my baby boy. We'll be back next year, and it'll be even better!
And for even more fall love, see www.agracioushome.com!!!