Day Eight

Taking four boys to the County Fair is like riding the Tilt-A-Whirl for hours on end. You get spun around, pulled in a million different directions and keep praying for the ride to end. It was Family Day at the Mongtomery County Agricultural Fair so with all the deep discounts it only costs $500 for a couple of hours instead of $1000. Yet, it is a Stiles tradition so off I went with the boys and their friend Quinn.
Once through the gates, the kids dart off for the booths with all the free give-aways. They answer a few questions about recycling and get free coffee mugs, grab candy from the Democrats ( I will refrain from any political commentary here) and free tote bags from a Pest Control Company. And me? I miss my stroller.
When you are carrying lunch, give-aways for all four boys, plus money, phone and keys the stroller is the ticket. Two years ago, I took the stroller to the fair and just put all of our stuff in it and pushed it around. Mac was so mortified that we were pretending to have a toddler just to shirk carrying duties, I promised never to do it again. So, I was the sherpa for the group, straggling behind with our bags and freebies.
Oddly enough, before we visit animals, displays or rides we go to the bulk candy shop set up in the indoor Mall. I don’t even remember how or when we begun this ritual but it does serve a purpose. If each boy has their own bag of candy, they only ask me once or twice for every concesssion we pass on the fairway. If they didn’t have the candy, it would be an incessant buzz in my ear all day. Quinn, never having experienced the wonder that is the indoor bulk candy mall, stood dazed and confused amid the snaking aisles. Despite the strategic benefit, I always feel slightly guilty about this diversion so I move everyone along and soon we were on our way to the animal barns.
Being an agricultural fair, the smells, sights and wonders are slightly more evident than at any run of the mill County Fair. As we approached the Dairy Barn, the undeniable stench of farm animals hit us. You get acclimated after about ten barns but the first wave is tough. The cows were kind enough to entertain the boys by urinating and defacating upon our arrival. As I struggled to breathe through my nose I marveled at their ability to munch on their candy as they viewed this spectacle.
We weaved through the rabbit barn, sheep stalls, poultry house and horse stables but mostly we dodged the manure and muck that were rampant throughout. Obviously still compromised from the rigors of late-night computer repair, I left the house in flip flops. I should be stripped of my fair badge for such an oversight. No one in their right mind would try and navigate through the Agricultural portion of the Fair in anything but sneakers. So, laden down with bags, a cooler and a basketball the boys won from the Firemen, I picked my way through the slop concentrating on the fact that this is educational for the kids. Even if it was non-hygenic for me.
Finally, after saying no to purchasing hand-made yarn bracelets and Angry Bird themed stuffed animals, we stopped for lunch. There is a rhythm to the fair and we never deviate from year to year. In order to get a seat on the rail of the pig races you must stop and eat lunch there thirty minutes before show-time.
I don’t really care that everyone is full of candy. I don’t really care if they actually eat their lunch. I do really care about getting good seats for the show. I mean, where else in America can you see pigs, ducks and goats race all in one place? Not to mention being invited to repeatedly yell “Soooweeee!” at the top of your lungs. We are also encouraged to say “Aflac” before the duck race but that is not nearly as liberating.
We yell, we cheer and just like that–the races are over. We head over to the rides with the 5,000 other fair goers to get our discounted wrist bands. The carnival barkers, concessions and tents with sports items scattered the boys and slowed our progress.
Wrist bands secured, presumably for life, the chaos truly began. All kids started speaking at once trying to convince each other to go on “their ride” first. Struggling under the weight of our ever-increasing load, I just wanted them to settle on something so I could put this stuff down. The fun house with a slide at the end was first. It is then that I remembered the camera. So, I put all the bags on the ground and sifted through until I found the camera. I get it all set up just in time for the boys to move on to the next attraction.
The giant slide was next. All boys grabbed feed bags and got in line. Having found the camera, I was then juggling the myriad bags while trying not to drop the camera at the same time after adding all of the candy and the swords they pilfered to the kitty.
I found a bench and deposited our belongings on it thus preventing anyone from actually sitting on it. Proceeded to take requisite pictures and not have anything stolen at the same time. If we left at that moment, it would have been a total victory.
What proceeded next was a blur of rides, games and mayhem. Quinn talked Mac into the Pharoah which took them high in the sky in a Cleopatra styled-boat. The bumper cars were the longest ride and produced the biggest headaches. The mirror house. The swings. The mousetrap roller coaster and the Haunted House. Growing wearier by the minute, I followed the group as they scampered from line to line. I started to care less and less about anything getting stolen and got brazen about where I left my pile. Anything they took, would be less I had to carry.
Finally, after four and half hours, the skies darkened and I took this as a sign from God that it was time to leave. Penniless and tired we retraced our steps slowly back to exit. No barkers, salesmen or booths caught the kids’ attention as they trudged along. I had returned all bags, candy and freebies back to their rightful owner so I was the only one with a spring in my step.
After a stop in the bathroom, we reached the car and managed to get everyone and everything packed in before it began to drizzle. Drew said “I feel sort of dizzy.” And I replied, “Me too honey, the fair will do that to you.”


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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

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