Does anyone besides me remember getting a day off from school to go the fair? Those were the days! You know, back when we were too young to realize just how skeazy the fair really is?? When it all seemed like a great time, when, in actuality, we were taking our very lives into our hands just riding the bumper cars?? Good old fair day...
It has been a REALLY long time since I have been to the fair. Well, unless you count the fair Daniel and I accidentally ended up visiting in Costa Rica. But that's a completely different story. I mean, honestly, I can't even remember the last time I went to the fair. So, I have no idea why I got a big bee in my bonnet about taking Drew to the Tennessee State Fair this week. I think this is another example of my grand mission to have the summer of fun. And, because she's my sister and has no choice, Katy got roped into the whole adventure with me!! (Really, she does have a choice, she just likes to indulge my schemes!!)
We went to the fair!!!! It was hilarious. We went Monday morning, which was exactly the right time to go. There was no crowd whatsoever and just enough activities for the kids to think it was great. I mean, first thing in the gate we rode the "trolley" up the hill and I'm pretty sure they would've been willing to do that all day. And, big shout out to the trolley, because there was NO WAY I was making it up that hill!!
Once we entered the fair proper we encountered several of those photo props where you stick your head through the holes. I tell you, Katy and I were highly entertained forcing our toddlers to pose.
Next up was the pig races. This portion of the morning was touted as a "must see" event on the fair's website. It was, um, interesting to say the least. The introductory entertainment was a "ventriloquist" (I use the term VERY loosely) with a pig puppet. He used one of those creepy voice changers. Man. I think even the kids were creeped out by this! Finally, we got the actual pigs. The pig racing lasted approximately 7 minutes total. And I must say, it was pretty funny to watch pigs run around. Don't forget the big finish, either-the pigs jumped off a high dive into a pool of water. I am not joking. It was crazy! I was laughing like a mad woman! At the same time, I was wondering just how you end up in this line of work. You know, traveling around with pigs in a trailer, setting up a "race track" for them, teaching them to high dive into a pool. Who wakes up and thinks "I think I could really get somewhere with a great pig act." This guy, donning overalls that said, "Boss Hog", I kid you not, was a pig farmer from Arkansas. Arkansas. I think that sheds some light on the situation.
The highlight of our fair experience was in the "Kid Zone" sponsored by McDonalds. This was a whole area of activities, free with admission, for little kids. There was a giant sandbox, a great big sidewalk chalk area, a playground and a bounce house. We started our time in the petting zoo. I bought a baggie full of carrot slices and it turns out it was TOTALLY worth the dollar I paid for it! Drew had a blast feeding the animals.
You should have seen these goats freaking out over the carrots. Can you see them dog piling in this picture? I'm thinking they had been fasting in preparation for the onslaught of carrots handed out by little kids.
Drew was a rock star animal feeder right up until the time he had an encounter with a giant cow tongue!! All the other animals had just nibbled the carrots out of his hand, but that cow was not shy. And Katy snapped the pic right at the exact moment Drew's hand was getting drenched with cow spit! (She gets photo credits for all the petting zoo pics. Because, you know, handing out carrot slices AND taking pictures is too much to ask of one mom...)
Lyla did not really relish the thought of getting up close and personal with any of the livestock. Until she met the llama. I'm not sure what it was about this llama that made her brave, But she pet the llama and was super proud!
The kids jumped and played until Drew was drenched with sweat and then we headed off to lunch. Which was dicey. And, it was about this time I started to get grossed out by all the skeevy-ness. We did have some of this yummy goodness:
And don't even get me started on the fresh squeezed lemonade. I'm not going to lie. It tasted like pure heaven to me. Which would explain why I spent a total of $8 on lemonade. I got a souvenir cup, which means I could get a refill for a mere $3. You know, after I pay $9 to get in the gate, which brings the grand total to $12 for a cup of lemonade. Don't tempt a pregnant woman.
After a bathroom break (of course) and a quick perusal of some 4-H exhibits (a couple of near misses-so glad we didn't smash the blue ribbon pumpkins!) we headed toward the gate. The kids were bummed the trolley wasn't running (did I mention we could've skipped everything else and just stayed on the trolley??) but all in all gave the whole fair experience two thumbs up. And even though we were tired and a little grossed out by the end, Katy and I decided it was a morning well spent.
Ps. Besides the funnel cake and the lemonade, the real highlight for me was this guy:
Look closely or you'll miss it. See the stripes? The stripes on the DONKEY'S legs??? Oh yeah, baby. A Zedonk. For those of you unfamiliar with weird animal breeding this is a Zebra mixed with a Donkey. Why was this a highlight for me?? Well, for the entirety of the time I have known my husband (which is in double digit years now) he has been telling a story about a Zedonk at the Appalachian fair. My hub spins a good yarn and the story has always been hilarious. Truthfully, though, I've always harbored a little seed of doubt about whether the Zedonk actually existed. I can now say, for sure, that it does. Heaven help us!