I love this man!! We go to the State Fair of Texas every year. I can probably count on one hand the years I have missed the fair since I was about 12 or 13 years old. We missed the fair last year due to the weather interfering but this year the weather was perfect and so were the people who went with us.
BIG TEX: The Voice of the State Fair welcomes each person with a Texas sized "Howdy"
Our Crew: Derek, Mei Mei (5 y/o), Jennifer, Kenny (11 y/o), and Snugglebug (2 y/o).
Derek is one of our "adopted" kids. Jennifer is his fiance'. Mei Mei is Jennifer's guest and her "adopted" sister for the day. Kenny is Jennifer's little brother. As you can see, we have a lot of "adopted" kids with us. They aren't adopted in the traditional sense and the story is far more complicated than I can explain. Suffice to say that they spend a lot of time with us (minus Mei Mei who we met for the first time this trip). They three younger ones added so much joy to the day. We experienced the fair in a brand new light thanks to them.
Our happy group meandering to our next destination. We are experienced fair-goers and don't need to stop and look at every little thing. We map out our route with specific things in mind and head out. Snugglebug walked almost the entire day. He refused to ride in the stroller, which gave us a lot of room to carry stuff.
I'm still amazed to see him walk. You would think I would get over it by now. He's been walking for a year and I still find myself in complete awe of the fact that we actually made it! He looks so big walking through the fair grounds.
The highlight for the kids were very expensive bubbles and an equally expensive inflatable ball. They played with those all day. You can't see the bubbles too well in the picture but you can clearly see them jumping up and down to pop them. Well, whatever it takes to keep them happy. Derek and Jennifer were thrilled that the bubble gun ran out of bubbles just before we left the fair.
Everyone goes to the fair for a different reason. Some for the food, some for the rides, some for the ferris wheel, but we go for the side shows. The side shows aren't what they used to be with rare and odd people and animals like the wolfman. Today they are talented people and animals showing off their skills. One of our favorites are the African Acrobats. These men are at the fair every year and amaze me with their acrobatic skills.
There are other attractions as well. This year, new to the fair was a giant sandbox. It was indoors so by the afternoon we were ready to take a break and enjoy some A/C. Kenny was a character and posed for the camera. Mei Mei made a sand castle, and Snugglebug just buried his toes in the sand and watched everyone else.
Probably one of the longest running shows at the fair is Billy Roy's One Man Band. Strike the image of the man from America's Got Talent. This man really does have talent. He took a few years off and I realized the first year that we didn't see him that he is without a doubt my favorite act at the fair. He plays ten different instruments and sings (he doesn't count his voice as an instrument.) He's a delight to watch. He has more coordination in his pinky than I have in my entire clumsy body.
Other side shows included: The Bird's of the World (an awesome display of the biggest and most exquisite birds flying from the ferris wheel into an amphitheater), A High Dive act based on Pirates of the Caribbean (more than a little cheesy), a dog diving act, and pig races.
The Butter Sculpture: Another favorite and a must-see. Yes, it is ALL butter. I'm not sure who came up with the idea. It started 5 or 6 years ago and we're still amazed. The sculpture is in a refigerated case and is entirely of butter. Shhh, don't tell Paula Deene what they've done with the wonderful stuff.
The kids using up the last of the bubbles while we eat.
Our final and most important fair tradition is a family photo. In years past these photos have ended up taped to our mirror, framed on the wall, and tucked in our wallets. It's not so much that we look so great in these photos. We always take them at the end of the day, and we look hot and sunburned. It's that the photos show the thrills of the day. We can look back and see all the memories we made on that day. No make-up needed to make a perfectly memorable photo.
Back Row: (l to r) Jennifer, My sweet hubby, Snugglebug, Derek
Front Row: (l to r) Mei Mei, Kenny