I've been to tons of County Fairs growing up, and I always loved them. I used to especially love the rides and yummy treats like corn dogs, cotton candy and funnel cakes!! And I always loved playing the game where you win a real live gold fish by throwing a ping pong ball into a cup of water. One of those gold fish I won actually lived for multiple years when I was a kid, until one of my cats decided that it would be fun to scoop it up out of the water and bat it around until it stopped moving. That is totally beside the point of this post, sorry. Anyway, as much as I love fairs Jeff and I, as a couple of almost 8 years, have never been to a fair together!! Maybe it's because the rides we used to love as kids now make us nauseous and give us headaches. Or maybe it's because eating a boat load of fried food makes us feel like crap for an entire 24 hours. I don't know, maybe we're just too old for fairs, if that's even a possibility.
Thankfully though, now we have Renee and we get to enjoy everything life has to offer through her eyes, as if it is brand new, and it makes things so much fun. And because I'd never been to the California State Fair I bought tickets online and told Jeff that we were going, no excuses!! Not, really, he was on board with the idea too :D
We actually went two Saturdays ago (like always, I'm a bit behind on my blogging) and got there right when they opened at 10am to avoid both the crowds and the heat as much as possible. It turned out to be the perfect plan of attack for us.
Our first stop was the livestock barn to see all the 4H and FFA cows, pigs, sheep and goats which are always a big part of the fair for me :D Renee was a little overwhelmed to see all the full size cows. They must have seemed humongous compared to the pictures she's used to from her books. We still had her in her stroller at that point, and she was quite content to just sit and observe the giant animals from a safe distance.
Then we went to the petting zoo so Renee could actually interact with and pet some of the farm animals. She was a little apprehensive at first, there were animals everywhere, but she warmed up quickly and then didn't want to leave. Just Renee and I went in and Jeff stayed out to take pictures of us. We also bought $1 worth of food to give to the animals, but I forgot how forward they can be and a donkey and goat pretty much stole all of it from us as soon as we walked in the door. Oh, well :D
There were lots of goats.
A little pigmy goat and a baby deer (fawn?).
A sheep, taking a rest from all the annoying toddlers.
And a kangaroo, they were so cute, but they didn't stay still long enough to pet.
After we all got a good dose of livestock, we went over to the food section to get a snack. Jeff let me choose our first fried food adventure of the day and I picked a Jumbo Corn Dog and a lemonade that we all shared. I'm pretty sure it was not only Renee's first corn dog, but her first hot dog of any kind. She loved it, of course, and could hardly wait for her turn to take a bite as it went around from Mommy, to Daddy, and back to her again. She also love the lemonade, another 'of course'. I never give her sugary drinks at home. She only ever gets water, milk and freshly pressed vegetable/fruit juice from our Jack LaLanne Power Juicer (sorry for the plug, I love that thing!), so the lemonade was quite a treat!
Next on our agenda was the Big Bug exhibit. And no, for those of you who are squeamish about bugs, they weren't real. It was a room full of giant robotic bugs that made us humans seem tiny, like we were the insects. It was pretty cool, but I think Renee was a little too young to fully appreciate it. If it had been a room full of giant kitty cats and dogs she might have thought that was cool, but she doesn't really know what bugs are yet. Jeff and I liked it though!
|I think that was the grasshopper.|
After the bugs we had a craving for some more fair fare (sorry, couldn't help myself) and opted to share a plate of fried zucchini. Renee was happy that she didn't have to share with Mommy and Daddy on this snack and greedily munched away on her own zucchini stick.
|Mmmm, fried bread. Hey, wait a minute, there's a vegetable in here!!|
With fried zucchini in hand, we all went over to the mini zoo they had set up. It was really cool with lots of interesting little animals. There was a kangaroo, an emu, some hedgehogs, porcupines, parrots, and one weird sloth-like animal. Now I can't remember it's actual name, but Renee thought it was a cat and just kept saying, "meow" to it. That's pretty much what she does with most animals that she doesn't recognize; they are either a dog, a cat, a cow or a bird.
|Saying hi to the kangaroo. She really wanted to stick her fingers in the cage!|
Renee was getting pretty sleepy at this point and Jeff and I still wanted to explore the fair a bit more, so we strapped her back in her stroller and hoped she would fall asleep. It didn't take her long and she was out by the time we got to the next exhibit which was The Farm. Jeff and I only garden as a hobby, but this was a serious farm set up, very cool.
|Very cool, and very large farm exhibit.|
Then we went to see the CA Counties exhibit where every county set up a very elaborate display to showcase the things they produce or are known for (i.e. wine in Napa county). We were happy to see that Yolo County won. Woo hoo!!! Go Woodland, Davis, Winters and West Sac!! You know we didn't really care, but it's like that tee-shirt that says, "The sports team from my local geographic region is superior to the sports team from your local geographic region!" Us silly humans, we always gotta pick sides :D And finally we went over the Creative Arts exhibit so I could see all the beautiful needlework entries. Jeff wasn't interested in this exhibit at all, so he just sat on a bench and watched Renee (still sleeping) while I marveled at all the amazing knitting, crochet and quilts on display.
After all that walking, Jeff and I were hungry again. I know, I know, but that fried food really has no nutritional value, so you have to eat a lot of it to compensate. That's my excuse anyway, and I'm sticking to it :D Renee was still sleeping, so I went and found us a shady seat while Jeff waited in line for a lamb gyro. He had hinted at getting the giant smoked turkey leg, but I steered him away because I didn't think it sounded very good. But when we were sitting there eating our gyro, another guy sat down next to us eating a turkey leg and it smelled soooo good. Oh,well. The gyro was really yummy too :D
Renee finally woke up and just in time to get a balloon animal from the clown that was near us. I asked him for a pink dog and he quickly whipped one up and handed it to Renee who was staring at him with that I-just-woke-up-so-I'm-still-grumpy look on her face. But, he was about to leave and we didn't have time to wait for her to get in a better mood. Plus, I knew a pink balloon dog would cheer her up likity split!! Which it did. Although, the clown kind of scared me when he cautioned me not to let Renee bite the balloon. I thought he just meant that if it popped it would frighten her, but then he explained that she could accidentally inhale it! Who knew? Needless to say, I kept a very close eye on her and her new pink doggy friend after that.
|There is a LOT of pink in this picture!!|
After Renee had her lunch (from home, not fried) we walked around a bit more. Jeff is a sucker for Kettle Corn, so he got a bag of that and we decided to go back to the children's section so we could munch on our popcorn while Renee played. They had a sand-pit that was filled with corn kernels instead of sand and Renee loved it!!! She must have played in it for at least 45 minutes before we had to forcibly remove her. That was fine with us though, we just sat on some hay bales, ate our popcorn and chatted with the other parents.
One last little visit with a cute baby cow and Jeff and I were done.
We had such a great time! I think that going to the State fair is going to have to be a new Summertime tradition for us. And I can't wait until Renee is old enough to throw ping pong balls into cups of water so she can win a gold fish for Mommy :D