Sunday, August 3, 2008

County Fair Time

It's been about 30 years since my best friend, Tammy and I styled our feathered hair, applied sparkly blue eyeshadow and Bonne Bell Lip Smacker, donned our halter tops, short, short cut-off jeans and spent every day for a week at the Olmsted County Fair in Rochester Mn. We were there to see and be seen, troll for boys and were anxious for our once a year fix of a few dozen Tom Thumb mini-donuts. The only thing we missed out on were the boys. I think maybe it was the thick, flavored lip gloss but I can't be sure.

On Saturday, Doug and I took the kids to the Otsego County Fair and it was a real kick to do a fair on this side of my life. I did not worry about my clothing other than to make sure I had a sweater since it was a bit chilly. I don't eat deep fried foods anymore, even if it does smell really good. And I got me a husband now so there is no trolling.

There was plenty of fair food:

Note the deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Eewww!

There were irritating carnies, girls wearing short shorts, and a lot of people smoking cigarettes.

It was a classic small town county fair.

The kids had a great time. Our oldest son (19) wanted to play the games where he could shoot a gun (he lost every time). He did win at the balloon dart game, however and chose a lovely and not at all politically incorrect framed photograph:

He was also desperate to buy a leather jacket/vest/boots, anything. We said no. Except for the bumper cars:

he doesn't do the rides, and only wants a huge soda whenever he goes anywhere. He was the easy one.

Our other son (13) did not want to be seen hang out with us. He got his money, bought his tickets and went off looking for friends and/or his girlfriend. Eventually, when he needed more money (and couldn't find anybody he knew) he showed up and went on some of the rides with us. He also ate a 14" hot dog:

which I didn't approve of but was powerless to stop.

Our oldest daughter (11) cried during The Orbiter:

the first ride she went on (I don't blame her, I refused to ride it because I was sure I would die) and then laughed hysterically the next time she rode it. She did all the rides and played all the games, won a purple monkey and a huge blow up hammer with a squeaky dolphin on the end (don't ask). We have just 2 years before she will be trolling for boys at this very same fair.

This year marked the first year that our youngest daughter (9) was tall enough to go on the big rides. She went on all of them and was not fazed in the slightest. She rolled her eyes during the one that makes grown men vomit:

She ran to be strapped, stomach down, onto The Cliff Hanger, a glider ride that then spun so fast that everyone flew out out sideways:

She shrugged during the ride that made her older sister cry. Oh and she could barely stay seated on the ferris wheel, while I was clinging desperately to the pole in our car. I REALLY worry about what she will be doing at the fair when she is 13.

I admit to saying no way to most of the rides. I am basically a coward when it comes to this stuff. But I did this one (that's me on the left with the black shirt):

I worried the whole time about losing my glasses (which possibly distracted me from vomiting) and it took me awhile to feel right afterwards.

I also went on the ferris wheel, which was a real accomplishment because for some reason that one terrifies me more than any of them. Here you can see how much fun I was having:

I looked like this because Doug kept making us swing, and there were a lot of squeaking sounds that just weren't right, plus the height and spinning was a bit of a problem too.

I played the water gun game which I used to be really good at:
and I lost every time, EXCEPT for the time I played against my 9 year old. Sigh. The best part for me was seeing the goats, sheep and award winning chickens, which in retrospect scares me more than the ferris wheel ride did. Heh.

Doug rode The Flying Bobs with the kids:

The Orbiter:

and the ferris wheel:

AND he made sure the kids didn't lose anything:

All in all it was a blast.

PS. Five years ago we happened to be in Rochester during the fair and we took the kids. It was too bizarre for words to be there with my husband and four kids. It also was exactly the same somehow. Except that I did NOT wear short shorts.


gary rith said...

Yeah, carnival rides make me puke now, getting old is a b!tch, isn't it?
Speaking of puking, a 14 inch hot dog.......
Wonderful to see you all having fun!

Anonymous said...

Fun trip down memory lane, Tracy! Thank God even our grandkids don't invite us on these adventures any more. I wouldn't want them to see what a wuss I've become.

Tracy Helgeson said...

What?! You mean it's not just me who can't handle the rides anymore? Thank god, I thought there was something wrong with me, now I know it's yet another age related affliction. I'll add it to the list:)

Melody said...

Sounds great.....but you are a braver woman than I. Anything that moves fast and spins sets me to puking. Oh the forties are great....can't wait to see what the fifties have in store.

Unknown said...

I can't do those rides, either, Tracy. And the thought of deep fried oreos.....gross! When my kids used to do rides like that ( when they were little) I was frantic, I wanted to yank them all off and leave, or just put everyone on the carousel. But thanks for the pictures.

Kim Morin Weineck said...

I love that shot of you on the ferris wheel. It's funny when these events make you feel old and young at the same time.

Great post!

Travveller said...

This has me looking forward to next weekend. We're taking my 3 year-old daughter to the county fair for the first time this Friday!

I expect she'll love the animals, want her dad to win all the games for her, and be really mad that she's too small for all the "fun" rides.

meno said...

That was a blast from the past.

Last time i went to a fair there was a chicken inside a box who would play a piano for 25 cents. I spent the whole time shoving money into the box because i was worried about the chicken being hungry.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Melody, I might have puked, but I didn't eat before we did the rides. Still have SOME sense:)

I know Deborah, aren't oreos bad enough already? Cripes. I am thankful that none of my kids were interested in THAT food vendor.

Kim, I didn't think of that but you are exactly right, I did feel old but still young too. Not sure I LIKE that but there you go.

Laura, have fun and you have quite a few years of tantrums about not being able to go on the fun rides!

Meno, i was looking for butt shots for you but no luck. Most of the girls I saw were strutting around like I used:)

What the heck kind of fair did you go too? I have never heard of a coin operated piano playing chicken. Geez, we are missing out up here. The chickens I saw were just standing around.

Kim Hambric said...

This post really has me looking forward to the Grange fair and encampment this month in Central PA. Thousands of folks come and camp out in trailers and tents for a week. There are rides and truck pulls and my fav - award-winning chickens. The folks will live there for a week and eat those fried things, listen to live country music and play in the mud. It is actually one of the most frightening things I have ever seen. I have yet to get used to living in central PA.

By the way, those photos of the fair-goers that you took . . . well, you've got some svelte folks out where you live.

Glad you've got the nerve to get on those spinning things. I can't even swing anymore.

Tracy Helgeson said...

I am no good at going on the swings either, Kim. But I decided to do the rides so my kids could have a good story about mom to laugh about someday. Someday started the next day but whatever:)

Enjoy YOUR upcoming carnival, yayy, truck pulls.