Nothing on earth compares to the Fair.
...Yes there's Disney World and Six Flags, Cedar Point and all the rest, but there is nothing like driving up to a field that you look at every day of your life and seeing it suddenly transformed; seeing the Ferris wheel in the distance and thinking this is what summer is all about. It's not about mass consumerism, long lines, or miles and miles of concrete. (nor is it about the sun shining all year round...) It's about being alive!, grass and animals, the smell of manure, running, laughing, screaming, homegrown food, and homegrown fun. It's a celebration of our harvest, our people, and our land. And finally, it's a celebration of our seasons - one of which is coming to an end...
But we still have these few wonderful days to squeeze everything we can get out of summer; to go berserk, hoot and holler, shake our booties, and gorge!
That said, this year's fair was not the gluttonous extravaganza it was last year. Mainly because we now have two children above the height limit for the kiddie-rides, the cost of which adds up quickly when we're on our "after vacation budget."
Emerson loved it...but she knows her limits as well. She declined the offer of some other rides with "nah...not this year..." (Already I am marking the passage of time in my mind - soon they will be going on all the rides, then on all the rides by themselves, then to the fair without us...at night... Sigh. But wait a minute, then Matty and I will go to the fair by ourselves as well...on a different night...)
But oh this year!
saving enough money for each of us to have one treat...that's right, one.
Not so piggish, I realize. So not in the spirit of the fair... but when you factor in that the girls' one treat was a heaping bag of cotton candy each, somehow it seems like enough. (Matty and I each chose sno-cones, and half way through mine I wish I'd opted for the fried dough. Next year...)
Fortunately, there is a lot of free stuff to do at the fair as well, and we spent the rest of the day taking the full tour. (And keeping our kids from discovering the pony rides)
Or prize-winning vegetable people?
Milk bottles dating back to antiquity?
Ophelia was impressed beyond belief.
Reservedness aside, at the end of the day we still fell prey to the elements of irresponsibility and frenzy that the air inspires. During the last hours of the fair - as winds from hurricane Irene began to arrive and rain clouds gave late afternoon the premature feeling of night - I found myself with three dollars in my hand, knowing I should probably give the bathroom attendant a really big tip and get the hell out of there. Instead, I ended up running willy-nilly to the fudge booth, asking what I could get for three bills.