Redemption Fair Day

We spent our last day in Iowa at the Iowa State Fair.  We have had a long 5 days, and ending it with a trip to the fair, only to hop on a plane immediately after, may end up being a huge mistake.  I’m tired and I know the kids are, but we can’t say that we didn’t make the most of our time.

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Fair Day!

It was finally here, the day I have been waiting for…my annual day at the fair!  I won’t bore you again with what I think of fairs, but if you want to read about last year’s experience, you can here.

This year, Ryan took half a day off from work and we headed up to Del Mar to get our fair on.  The theme for the 2012 San Diego County Fair is Out Of This World.  Let’s just say that was a bit of an overstatement.

I couldn’t believe how many of my friends said they were going to skip the fair this year.  WHAT?!  I have never even considered that as an option, until this year.  I really wanted to be able to proclaim great things about our fair experience, but I just can’t.

Everyone knows that you practically have to take out a small loan to go to the fair, but I also feel like for one day a year, it’s kind of worth it.  First off we got the kids their food – hotdogs, fries and drinks for a grand total of $12.90.  Actually, not too bad because we got 5 coupons for each meal to get into local museums and attractions.

Next, Ryan and I decided on some fish and chips for our meal and we shared a soda.  That came to $32.  Not only did that not turn out to be that good, but we jumped the gun with our food purchase.  When we turned the corner to find a place to sit and eat, there was a stand for duck tacos and Pink’s Hot Dogs had a stand.

The Pink’s Hot Dog Stand

It was a rookie mistake.  Ryan decided that we had to get a hot dog from there anyway so off he went to get a Rosie O’Donnell – 10″ Stretch Dog, topped with mustard, onions, chili and sauerkraut.  Rosie O’Donnell apparently is a hotter commodity in San Diego than LA.  Here, the dog cost $8, in LA, it’s $4.55.

The Rosie O’Donnell

Next we decided to head down the midway to the rides.  We weren’t going to ride a lot of them, but one of the main ones we wanted to go on was the huge Ferris Wheel.  Last year, I took Kamryn and Rory on it, but this year, they changed the ride and each rider had to be at least 42″ tall.  Rory is a whopping 36″.  He probably won’t even be tall enough next year which is another reason to stay away in 2013.  The total for the ride tickets was $28.

I ended up taking Rory to the ride next to the Ferris Wheel which was a roller coaster simulator.  There was no age or height limit so we handed over our 8 tickets and climbed in.  There were two other boys that got in before they closed the door.  Within 3 seconds of the ride starting, I averted my eyes from the screen to Rory’s head because I was going to vomit.  Put me on a real roller coaster and I’m fine, put me in a pretend one and I’ll puke all over.

After the disappointment of not being able to go on the Ferris Wheel and nearly losing my overpriced lunch, we walked around until we could find one more ride for the kids to go on.  Kamryn loves big rides, she loves scary rides – a perfect ride for her would be a haunted house ride, which we found.  Rory was scared shitless at just the sight of it.  There was no way in hell he was going on that.

We settled on the big slide.  Once again, Rory was too short and had to ride with an adult and of course we were 3 tickets short.  Another $2.25 and Ryan handed over our remaining tickets and they headed up to the top of the slide.At this point, we were at a bit of a loss at what to do next.  We had made a quick walk through the livestock building when we first got there, but all they had in there were a bunch of lambs and cows – not even the prize winning steer and hog.  You had to pay $1 each to see them.  I don’t think so.

We decided to head over to Our Body: The Universe Within exhibit.  It was going to be an extra $7 for Ryan and I, but the kids were free.  Plus, it sounded kind of cool.  Unfortunately, there were no cameras or cell phones allowed, but it was pretty interesting.  On display were actual human bodies and organs.  Some were skeletons, some showed the muscles, there was one that was literally cut in half, others had the organs displayed inside the body cavity.  It was really fascinating.

Rory and Kamryn gave more than a few other exhibit goers their money’s worth by pointing out the bodies with penises.  Kamryn just stood and giggled, Rory preferred to yell and point.  And with that, our day at the fair ended.

Admission – $22.00

Parking – $10.00

Food – $61.90

Rides – $30.25

Exhibits – $14.00

Spending the day with my family – priceless $138.15

I’m not really that cynical, we did have fun, it just wasn’t as much fun as I expected.  However, good things are coming down the pipeline, I just found out we’ll be in Iowa during the Iowa State Fair and I have a feeling I’m going to be in need of a redemption fair day!  Ironically, the theme for the Iowa State Fair this year is, Nothing Compares.

 

Fair Is Fair!

I am a big fan of fairs.  I like love the food,
Big Ass Turkey Leg and Footlong Corndog
 Kamryn and the prize winning hog.
 the grossly huge animals, and the people watching rivals any DMV.  Unfortunately, the first fair I ever went to was The Iowa State Fair.  This isn’t just any state fair.  This fair is world renowned.  Martha Stewart raves about it.  Maura Tierney raved about it on the Martha Stewart Show.  It’s listed as one of the 1000 Places To See Before You Die.  So why, you ask, is it unfortunate that this was my first fair?  Compare it to eating the best meal ever and then hoping that every subsequent meal stands up to that one particular dining experience.
Last summer the kids and I made our annual pilgrimage to Des Moines, Iowa to spend the day at the fair with my best friend, Sara, and her kids, Ben, Thomas and Elise.
 
Sara and Ben
 
Thomas, Elise and Ben
First you have to understand that Sara and I have been friends for nearly 30 years and when we get together, there is a lot of talking, laughing, adventures and talking.  Did I mention talking?
 
Sara and I over the years.
To be completely honest, I think Sara and I could put the “fun” in funeral if we were there together, so being at the fair with my BFF and her kids is almost excitement overload.
What could be better than spending the day with friends at the happiest place in the Midwest?  How about witnessing a birth?  A new life emerging from…well, you know.  A mother’s struggle, her reward for that struggle and we got to see it all!  Cameras were rolling and broadcasting the whole event on screens for all to see!
 
Baby calf still covered in afterbirth.
Of course it was a cow – what kind of fair do you think this is?
Yesterday, I took the kids to the San Diego County Fair.  We no longer live in Iowa, so making it to the Iowa State Fair this year is going to be a little tough.  We met my friend, Janis and her kids, Jack and Violet for some fair-tastic fun.

 
Kamryn, Rory and Jack

One of the first bonuses was I got to move to the front of the line to get in the entrance gate because I had a stroller!

 
Rory pouting about not being 42″ tall in his “front of the line” stroller.

It’s funny how one little thing can set the mood for the entire day.  We watched pig races,

 
Kamryn and Jack watching the pigs.

rode rides, and enjoyed the absolutely perfect weather.  Afterall, you can’t get a view of the ocean at the top of the Ferris Wheel in Iowa.

 
I don’t think I’ll ever find a better fair than the one in Iowa, but I’m damn sure going to try to find the second best!