Small town growing up means that you always did one thing before school started back up. The County Fair. It always marked the end of summer, still does kind of mark the end of summer, but it’s just one of those things you’ve got to do. It’s always on the summer bucket list. Man how the ways I have enjoyed the fair have changed! I’m going to break it down by age range for this post. I think that’s the best way to do it.
1.Age 5-12: Carnival Rides!
My parents took me to the fair pretty much every year. My first thoughts when I walked in the gates: Carnival Rides and Cotton Candy! I had to get to the tilt-a-whirl and I always made my dad go on it with me. I also always had to check out the animals, and of course ride on the ponies. Of course, they only go in circles, but at that age…it was AWESOME. Besides the rides, I was all about the food. My one thing at the fair was that I had to get some cotton candy. Sometimes we would get it when we left and then I would try to make it last for days at home! After food, we would head back the ride area to play that carnival game so I could try to win a goldfish. One year I won two goldfish! One of them died two weeks later, but the other…he was a trooper! You won’t believe this, but he lived 16 YEARS! Can you believe that? Well, towards the end of his life he had only one eye, one fin, and was white instead of gold, but seriously! 16 years. He just died the other day. RIP Tornado.
2. Age 13-17: Acting Cool
Not going to lie…this is the most annoying age at the fair. I would always go with my family, and sometimes my friend’s family would go with us too. But of course, we all started getting into those teenage years and I would always hope I would get to see that boy from school that I had a crush on, so that I could casually walk by and say, “Hey,” and flash a cute smile. Yes, I’m awkward, and that was my plan to land the cute boy. I am lame. Geez, teenagers are annoying!
I also, still, would go check out all the animals, but had given up the pony rides, due to size and not seeming “cool”. Pony rides are for kids! Ha.
3. Age 18-20: Friends
At this age, my sister and I were able to start going at night with our friends. Our parents would go too, but we’d meet up with them along the way. This age consisted mostly of wandering around the fairgrounds aimlessly, and then heading back to the carnival area to wander around and try to get the carnies to let you play their game for free. This age also might have consisted of one or two rides too. But we realized that we don’t have money without the parentals, so we weren’t really able to buy anything! Except, now that I had a much better taste in food, we would stand in that god awful line to get that beloved corn dog! That’s the one purchase for the night!
4. Age 21-25: Beer Garden
Show me to the beer garden! At this age, I can finally enter the beer garden and purchase a beer to wander around the fairgrounds with. I still go to see all the animals, like every year before. And you bet your bottom dollar, I am back in that corn dog line, but now with a beer in hand! The fair always seems to be the same exact story now…see the animals, get a beer, get in line for a corndog, get another beer, walk around, see more animals, and walk around. Now when we walk around, I’ll see kids I went to high school with that are now married and pushing their kids around in the stroller. And now all of a sudden there are just kids everywhere. And teenagers. A ton of them. Acting just like I did! It all comes full circle I guess! But like I said earlier, it’s just one of those things that you gotta do every year! And I love every minute of it!
People watching never fails at the fair too! There is always ALL KINDS of people that show up for the fair. Some familiar faces, tons of new faces, kids, old people, babies, teeny boppers, and they’re all walking around doing something interesting. Never fails!
What end of summer tradition do you guys partake in?