I'm not much of a crowd person so it goes to say that I'm not much of a State Fair person either. However, now that I have a kid I thought it might be fun to take her to experience the great Minnesota State Fair. Even so, I couldn't convince Jesse to go so I just assumed that our visit wouldn't be this year. However, my company had a recognition event at the State Fair this year and since I couldn't make it that day they gave me a ticket to use on my own time. It seemed a shame to waste this.
Riley had a couple days off of preschool before the holiday weekend and Thursday was my day to stay home with her. What to do... hey, might as well call up my friend Josie and see if she wants to go to the State Fair with me along with her 5 year old daughter Olivia. Yes, we were going to the fair after all! Fun fact: It's been nine years since I attended the fair - it was August 27th and I had my first date with Jesse that night which is why I remember the date so clearly.
I actually planned out the day beforehand. Well, at least an outline of where we would go based on entering from the main gate. Parking didn't cooperate for us so we entered by the farm animals which I was hoping to avoid. A day or two before we went to the fair I tried to prepare Riley for it. "There will be food, art, rides, tractors, farm animals...", I shared. Riley responded "I don't like the sound of those farm animals". Lol. She was being literal, but it was funny to hear her use this figure of speech. When we entered the gate on this side I turned around to find her with her hands over her ears, because God forbid, an animal makes a sound. But she quickly lowered her hands and was totally cool with exploring some of these barns. Go figure.
|Olivia kept calling these sheep. I can see it.|
We got to the fair just before 10:30. We planned to go earlier, but Josie is notorious for being late. She said she'd be at my house at 8:30. I joked that I would see her at 9:00, and it was actually more like 9:30 when she arrived. Still not sure how it took us so long to actually get there. Anyhoo, a few minutes into the gate and we were already looking for food. Josie started with a breakfast sandwich, but the girls and I went right for the corn dogs. We took the classic food on a stick route.
Oh, but first I took these pictures of the girls in the wagon. Lol on Olivia's faces. Pretty much all day I took pictures of her with these type of faces or with a straight/serious face. Riley, on the other hand, has the picture face down. She'd smile and do the head tilt (she recently started doing this because she apparently wants to be 'lovely'). Actually, Riley's poses started to worry me. I mean, I know I take a lot of pictures, but it got me to thinking about body image and all that. It's not that she's done or said anything to really make me worry, but it's now more on the radar than before. Anyhoo, back to the corn dogs...
|Serious face with a touch of "really, you're going to take a picture of this?"|
|Josie's new Facebook picture?|
|That's my girl|
|I sense a theme here. Serious and Smiley...|
Josie and I met a gazillion years ago at Bridgemans. I was 17, she was 19 (I started working there at 15 and worked at 3 different stores over 9 years - yikes!). We decided to check out their 'booth' here and were surprised to see our former managers still working for the company! They were even nice enough to treat us to some free ice cream. And Olivia was nice enough to take our picture too.
We only had a few hours at the fair before Josie had to go into work so we moved on from the farm animals and planned to head over to the Kidway with a few stops before we got there.
Riley also used to be scared of rides, but is now into them... well some of them. She did well over all and I'm guessing this was the highlight of the girl's visit. You'll even see Olivia smile in some of these. :)
|This started out well, but then she lost sight of me and got scared. I don't blame her.|
|This was a 'nope' for me after Josie said how fast it was. I'm a bit of a chicken when it comes to slides.|
The best time to go to this area is before 1:00 because you get the early bird rate on the rides (one ticket off regular price). We bought 30 tickets which was just enough. In fact, we had 4 tickets left over, but we (the mom's) were ready to move on at that point.
We went on the merry go round (I went on because Olivia was under the required height) and, of course, my kid choose to sit on a bench instead of a horse. I don't think she minds the horses, but is on to the moving up and down thing and that she doesn't trust. Olivia was all over it though and I started to get some smiles from her.
|Drunk on state fair fun|
|Riley's favorite ride of the day. No surprises here - just moves around in a circle.|
Riley was loving this until...
... her motorcycle started popping wheelies. She was all very serious from thereon out.
Early in the day I asked the girls if they wanted to walk for awhile and was told by Olivia that her legs hurt. Um, ok, but you haven't walked at all... I was the one to pull the wagon first and when I finally traded off with Josie, Olivia kept begging that I pull the wagon. Wait, what? I did pull the wagon much of the day and the girls pretty much never walked. What a life. My knees and back were shot after 3 hours and my biceps killed the next day. Yes, old is how I feel.
|The crowd wasn't too bad here and earlier in the morning, but got really thick as the day wore on.|
From the Kidway, we decided to hit the Little Farm Hands area before heading home. I know I hadn't been to the State Fair in years, but I'm pretty sure I never made it to this entire area before (including the Kidway) because I don't remember any of it. Goes to show that when you have kids your life really does change because we spent our time in kid friendly areas this time. Also, we never made it to the Midway this trip which would seem weird to my pre-kid self.
Phew! We were getting tired (how do people stay here all day?) so we decided to head out. We had to walk all the way back to the other side of the fair and decided to make a quick stop to see some horses.
|Jesse was amazed that Riley got this close to a horse.|
It was at this time that we realized that it was 1:30 and Josie had to be to work at 2:00. We dropped Josie off at her work (only 5 minutes late) and I took the girls back to my place to play and hopefully take a rest until Josie was off of work. They didn't sleep, but they spent some time reading in Riley's room which meant I could get some alone time so I was totally cool with that.
Overall a good day. Riley said she loved it so there's a good chance I won't wait another nine years before returning. Now I just have to convince Jesse to go...