Growing up on a farm and being part of a local 4-H group, the county fair was a major highlight of my childhood. I loved getting my goats ready for show! My sister and I would work and play (mostly play) with them all year, training them to lead and stand. We loved helping out with the 4-H food stand (those milk shakes were just the best!!) and participating in all the fair activities. It was always a good time.
Caleb and I had never taken our girls to a fair, but since we are currently living near where one is located, we decided to make it happen this year! With our girls being on the young side, we figured it would be best to go early and make a long morning of it, heading home for a late nap time. Plus, neither of us are huge fans of country music – isn’t the rule of thumb you either love it or hate it? – and around here that’s about what the night time entertainment consists of.
I’ve bottle fed a lot of different animals in my life, but this was a first for me! Yes, I am totally feeding a 3 month old baby camel! What?!?! Having fed a lot of baby Holstein calves over the years, I expected this guy to really wham the bottle around – I mean, look at the size of that thing!! I had my stance down and was all ready, but to my surprise this little one was incredibly gentle. He never even bumped the bottle – just gently pulled off every now and then. P.S. I FED A BABY CAMEL! AHH!!! So cool. 🙂
Abby loved all of the animals! Here she was petting some kind of small cow creature. They told us what it was, but I was apparently not listening very well.
Can we just take a minute to appreciate what an incredibly happy corn this is right here? I mean, that smile reaches from “ear” to “ear” if you’ll pardon the pun. Aw, shucks, she’s still adorable! 😉
Getting the milking done. The little boy next to her wanted to figure out what exactly was really going on down there.
There were a couple of large barns full of the awesome Belgian horses, and of course I made the family walk through and gawk at them. They are so awesome and huge and beautiful! Also, we are definitely never going to buy and upkeep one of those giants, so we have to enjoy their presence elsewhere. There were a couple sweet little babies too!
The saddest part of our day was the train ride. We were excited to let Abby pick one ride and she instantly chose, “The train!!” We made her walk around and look at a few other options first, but she had her mind made up that the train would be the best thing to ever happen to her. She has been obsessed with Thomas the Train lately (if anyone has a kid that outgrew Thomas toys, feel free to let us know because they are pricey new! haha) and was so excited about it. We loaded her up and I explained to her that we would be waving at her and watching. She seemed ready to go, and was waving and smiling (kind of nervously) as she started off. We couldn’t see her expression for a minute as she rounded the bend and then as she came into view we see her face streaming with tears. She spotted me and instantly held her arms out crying for me. She was the only one on the train, so the operator happily stopped it after one lap around and her “fun” ride was over shortly after it began. haha Unfortunately, we weren’t offered a refund for the 9/10 of expensive fair ride our daughter didn’t experience. Boo.
After the train excitement we went to find some grub to lift Abby’s spirits. Call us pathetic, but we didn’t eat any traditional fair food. We went with the Hy-vee food stand. A pork sandwich, 2 brats, and one small bag of cheetos later, everyone was feeling better. I’m not sure how Abby managed to get so cheesy with her small pile of cheetos, but… it happens!
We enjoyed a few different animal and entertainment shows. One of them was the lumber show, which was actually pretty great. The humor was bad and yet cracking me up. I realized why when Caleb leaned over and whispered, “Your dad would find this really funny, wouldn’t he?” Haha… yup. Two of the people running things had a log rolling contest, where they were each on one end of a log and then tried to make the other one fall off into the water first. It looked like SO MUCH FUN! I was wishing I could try it SO bad. Then, they let a few kid volunteers try to stay on the log as long as possible and I wished I could have tried that too. Maybe next year! 😉
We also watched the tiger show. I don’t want to be rude, but it was pretty much the lamest show ever. The entire show consisted of the trainer talking a lot, answering a bunch of questions, and having a younger tiger in training sit and fail at standing on her hind legs for treats. Oh, and then he let 3 tigers just play in the ring for awhile with no instruction. It was kind of pathetic to be quite honest. But tigers are still some pretty cool cats and it was neat to see them up close.
The elephants came right up next to the fence, which was really fun. We enjoyed seeing such big animals so close!
In the petting zoo, I cheated as usual. Instead of buying Abby an unreasonably small yet extremely expensive cup of animal food, I bent down outside a couple of the cages and picked up more than a few handfuls of pieces other children had dropped. I mean, come on…. those little cups are simply not worth it and it would be wasteful to leave all that food scattered around, right? Abby enjoyed feeding these gigantic goats (seriously! They were the biggest goats I had ever seen, and I really want one!!) and a very sad looking llama creature. He was shaven and looked pretty rough. haha
As we were circling the fair, we kept running into the pony rides. They always cost waaaay too much, but someone’s parents were still feeling pretty bad that their oldest daughter was terrified on her one ride. Ya… we fell for her excitement about the “horses!!!” and ya… it was worth it. She absolutely LOVED it and the fact that her Mama walked right next to her the entire time made it even better. I was hanging on to her and after a few times around she even told me, “Mama, I want to do it by myself!” This was probably the highlight of Abby’s day.
Too bad we didn’t think to try and take a picture of the fam until the end of our adventure. Can you tell that our daughters were overtired and completely done for the time being? ha Good thing their parents were still full of good spirits. All in all, it was a fun time and hopefully we can go again next year! 🙂