Wow. Did we ever do it up right. I mean. Wow.
I've always had a love/hate relationship with the fair.
Going to the state fair was always a fight. It was during harvest. Were we going or not? It was always anxiety-causing for me and I always dreaded it just a little bit.
So I planned the HELL out of this trip. The car was clean. I knew where the wet wipes were. Hot, master of timing, had us up and out the door with military precision.
We arrived at 11:00 am on-the-dot.
We sprang for the $5 inside the gate parking. We got in with the reduced "lunchtime crowd" rates so all of us for $10.
I packed the stroller: hand sanitizer, sun screen, hats for all, raincoats for all, 2 umbrellas, sunglasses, lots of cash, wet wipes/diapers, epipen, bandaids/pain reliever, water bottle and a giant insulated water jug.
The only bad thing that happened all day was the big water jug leaked a little and I forgot my camera.
We got in and bought our ride bands. $20/each kid.
We went down the food row and had lunch. Hand-dipped corn dogs (a footlong for Sweet) for the kids. Where else can you be sitting at a little table near a vendor and say, "Oh, baby, you have ketchup everywhere." and the guy making the corn dogs comes out of his booth and brings you a napkin? I love this place. A giant baked potato thing for Hot. Big Mouth BBQ's "bowl" for me.
We went to the petting zoo and saw some exhibits. Sweet got to play with some legos and Tuff made a sheep out of wool felting. Everyone got dog tags from the National Guard booth. (I also learned my beloved Dolphins might pick up Farvre.... how interesting). The rides opened at noon and we hit the kiddie park first. Then on to the main midway. No lines. No creepy people... a mixed blessing.... if we did the 6-midnight bands we would have had more interesting people-watching.
Yes, I rode the Scrambler. I had to do it. They wouldn't let Tuff on without an adult. That carnie totally had my number... he knew I wanted to go for a ride. I couldn't talk her into the Zipper.
My SIL (my brother's wife) and nephew showed up for a bit. My sister came over after work. Then we went to dinner at a Mexican place with everyone. We could walk there so I had a margarita. Then to the hotel to swim. Dessert was the cookies the front desk lady told me to stash in my purse as we left for dinner because there wouldn't be any left when we got back. Great tip lady... you were right!
The next morning was breakfast at the hotel, a bit of shopping at the mall, lunch at Jaker's and a nice drive home.
No, we didn't see all the sights of the fair. Yes, it was harvest so my parents, brother & brother-in-law weren't there. No, I didn't make it back to the food row for fry bread. Yes, it would have been nice to do two nights at the hotel and go shopping more on Saturday afternoon while Hot and the kids napped at the hotel. Yes, the cost of the hotel almost made me cry.
But it was totally worth it.