This was our second year going to the fair here. I hardly took any pictures. I find it difficult to funnel creativity behind my camera when I have Julia tucked into the baby carrier on my chest and I am constantly counting 4 children while pushing a stroller with 2 more. We had a wonderful time. Nothing really changed or was new from last year, so we pretty much knew our way around. After going to the LA County fair, this one seems so small. But I think I like it that way. We can actually cover all the fair grounds in a couple of hours.
I have come up with this “Fair/Carnival” philosophy. I give the children a few dollars each. They then get to decide how they want to spend it. Whether it is rides, food, or games, I don’t care. But when it’s spent, then they are done. My reason is this- with 5 children that all are consumed with greed, as soon as we walk through the fair gates they began to ask to ride every ride, buy every food item, and play every game. And I have to say no or yes. That’s a lot of no’s and yes’s which wears me out quickly. So, with dollars in hand, they all feel very wealthy, and are not nearly as quick to part with the money when it belongs to them then when it is mine. They really think hard about what they want. There’s Josh who doesn’t, and burns through it with in about 5 minute. But the older ones go from wanting one of everything, to considering what it would feel like to walk out of the fair that night with the money still in their pocket. After all, an inner-tube for their bike tire is a much better investment for fun than a 3 minute ride or snow cone. And I don’t have to say “no” once the whole evening.
The highlight of the fair is the 4H livestock auction. Last year was my first livestock auction. My head spins when that auctioneer starts his “Auctioneer Song”. I can’t follow the bidding to save my life. But Eric can. He grew up going to these auctions. When he was a kid, he showed and sold sheep at the 4H auction. And when he was that little, he made up his mind that someday, he would come back as a man and buy some child’s animal. So here we are now. Last year he bought a pig. This year, a steer. He chooses an animal that belongs to a child in the little town that he works in. He really believes in supporting the local youth whenever he can. This year there was only one steer raised in that town, so that made it easy. Right as the Auctioneer yelled “SOLD!!!” and pointed his finger at Eric, and he held up his bidding card, Maryann told me that she was going to throw-up. Great. Every person at the auction was looking at us, and I in that split second realized that Maryann and eaten ridiculous amounts of sugar that evening. And was now going to throw it all up. I managed to get her outside the tent without any vomit escaping her little body. Once outside in the fresh air, she perked right back up, asked for a drink of Laura’s Icee, and said she felt fine. It was a great cardiac workout for me. We then made our way back to the Beef Barn to look at this steer that would be packed into my freezer in a few weeks. The children wanted to pet the steer and have their picture taken with it. We got to meet the owner and talk with him about being in 4H, raising the steer, and anything else. And the children are all convinced now that they want to raise pigs for the fair next year. We’ll see…
Ben cracking a board in half at the martial arts booth
Eric climbing at the Army booth.