Butterflies Beat Goats, Tractors Trump All – The Fair Part 1

Last weekend (the 20th), my sister and I braved possible meltdowns of epic, sleep deprived proportions, to take my 4.5 year old son and almost 2 year old daughter to the Iowa State Fair.

Murphy might have followed us there, but was thankfully distracted by the beer tent and the day far exceeded all expectations.

Distraction is Best

Lil Diva was in awe of the fair, from the second we entered the gate.

“Wow. Dad dropped us at the most boring part of the fair,” my sister said, as we walked by trailers and motor homes, into rows of tractors.

The words were barely out of her mouth, my agreement on the tip of my lips, when The Tackler went crazy.

The Unexpected Hit

He would have happily played here for an hour...

For him, the row of tractors was the holy grail of coolness.

You could climb into them, some over a story tall, and for a four and half year old boy, it was the best thing. Ever.

My sister and I tried to stifle our yawns.

We spent at least thirty minutes amid the various farm vehicles before we lured him away.

The rest of the day he peppered us with, “I wanna go see the tractors.”

That’s Not Nemo

There an aquarium of sorts, right where I remembered it, full of the dull and drab colored fish from Iowa’s lakes and streams.

No clown fish allowed.

For the kids, it didn’t matter.

“Dish! Dish!” Lil Diva pointed, always too excited to form the sound “f”. “Nemo!”

“Mommy, that’s a really big one!” The Tackler said, as a huge fish lounged at the bottom.

Lil Diva was captivated while I had to keep The Tackler from crawling into the eagle's nest replica.

I had to tear The Tackler away from a replica of an eagle’s nest.

“But I want to climb in the nest, Mommy!”

“Sorry, sweetie. It’s for birds only,” I said, as I thought how it really was the perfect size for a preschooler.

Luckily the turtles and geese in the pond allowed us to distract him from the tempting nest.

Petting Zoo #Fail

We moved on, to what I – in my infinite wisdom as a former fair visitor and first time bringer of young children to the fair – deemed would be the highlight: the kids petting zoo.

The kids warily eye the animals - about as close as they got the entire time.

A zebra, goats, buffalo, turtles, and other animals were in the tent, tiny shovels strung up to feed overpriced pet food to the animals.

“Mooooooommy. I want to leave. I don’t like it here.”

“Mommeeeeee. I want to go.”

The Tackler kicked up the whining in the crowd as I tried to show off the animals to Lil Diva, to get either of the kids to help me.

No one was interested, though I did get them to watch me feed the animals.

It was like I was eight years old again.

My sister and my cranky kids had to drag me away as I was forced to give the last of my food to another parent.

Nap Where You Can

The Cough ceased for a bit and she slept blissfully for a while.

The yummy smells of food vendors teased us, so we decided to have an early lunch. My sister found pulled pork, I had a hot dog, and The Tackler ate his PB&J I’d brought with us.

Lil Diva promptly passed out cold, her cough blessedly silent.

She slept for 30-40 minutes, longer than she probably would’ve at my mother’s, given any movement to lay her down set off The Cough.

Tasty pastry coated in butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Mmmm...

Our “healthy” food consumed, we went in search of fair junk food. A taste of delicious tiny warm donuts were only shrugged at by the Tackler, so we passed on them for my childhood favorite: the elephant ear.

He only ate a little, as my sister and I devoured it as we navigated the wall of people to the event she had to see: The Stunt Dog Show.

When Dogs Fly

Lil Diva multitasks by inhaling her lunch during the stunt dog show. The same supposedly featured on Oprah.

The show did manage to entertain my kids – Lil Diva happy they remained at least five feet away at all times as she inhaled her lunch in the bleachers.

But this is where we began to bake. The day was beautiful, warm, but not hot. Except when you had to sit in the sun for thirty minutes.

Watching the dogs fly through the air, jump rope, and catch Frisbees was awesome, but left the kids a bit overheated and cranky when the show ended.

Butterfly Befriending

A butterfly tent stood next to the show’s ring, so my sister took The Tackler for a look (it was $5 a person, and I found it a bit steep for three of us to walk among butterflies). I assumed The Tackler would be as unimpressed with the butterflies as the petting zoo.

I was wrong.

The tent will filled with butterflies. Everywhere. One landed on The Tackler’s shirt, not realizing how perilous such a thing could be with a boy who loves to smash.

Or maybe it did know something. Because according to my sister, he was in awe of it, as it hitched a ride through most of the tent while relaxing on his shirt. It wasn’t until he was forced to shoo it away at the end, his new friend left.

He wondered about his “friend” for the rest of the day.

To be continued…. in Part 2

Do you ever go to your state fair or equivalent?? What foods can’t you miss?


About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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7 Responses to Butterflies Beat Goats, Tractors Trump All – The Fair Part 1

  1. TheKirCorner says:

    Growing up in NEPA…I can say that I have been to many many fairs and I am not a fan, but I do love a good zoo and Musikfest..(a huge musicl festival in downtown Bethlehem that happens every year lets me indulge in fair like food w/o having me walk through mud or dusty roads).

    Yet, your pictures were awesome and I know my Gio would LOVE those tractors….and then we w
    All would enjoy one of those elephant ears (or fried dough as we call it)

    Cankt wait to hear the next part! I loved the part about the butterfly tent !!!!

  2. Oh the butterfly tent sounds amazing.
    Not that I’d turn down the beer garden either.

    What a lovely experience, so far.
    And elephant ears are never wrong….

  3. We are heading to our state fair next weekend. The boys LOVE it! But they want to hurry up and get through the fair part so they can get to the carinval rides part. *sigh*

    My favorite things to eat at the fair are Gyros, scones, and either the Elephant Ears or the funnel cakes. All of which wide up on my rear end in 3.2 seconds after consumption.

  4. Katie says:

    I’ve been to the Iowa State Fair twice in my life and I’m not a fan. I’m just not a fair girl.

  5. CG says:

    I agree with the Tackler. I want more time with the tractors. And the keys…

  6. Pingback: How To Accessorize and Dig Chicks – The Fair Part 2 | Dances with Chaos

  7. Pingback: When “White Trash” is the Only Answer – The Fair Part 3 | Dances with Chaos

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