The State Fair was in town this month, and we decided to brave the heat and crowds and take the kids for their first fair visit. Let’s divide our trip into three parts: farm, food, and fun.
We spent some time in a Little Hands on the Farm exhibit, pretending to grow and harvest crops and tend to animals. During our tour of the exhibit the kids got free caps with seed logos on them. Most of my relatives are/were farmers, so I was all “OMG SEED CAPS! LOOK, KIDS! YOUR FIRST SEED CAPS! SEED CAPS OMG OMG SEED CAPS!” while the clueless exhibit volunteers looked at me like, “uh, what’s a seed cap?”
Henry and Eleanor (especially Henry) loved the John Deere display. We all took turns “driving” the tractors and practicing our farmer waves. Henry sat and drove forever, explaining to me that he was driving a backhoe.
I knew I had to try the chocolate-covered bacon the minute I heard about it. Yes, bacon dipped in chocolate and coated in powdered sugar. Actually? It was pretty good. The bacon was too chewy for my taste (I prefer it crispy, well-done, almost-charred) but thought it made a good salty/sweet combo. Henry and Eleanor got to try it—they mostly just sucked the chocolate off the bacon. I’m sure I looked like Mother of the Year feeding it to my kids. “Here, kids! Let’s clog those arteries!”
The bacon was just an appetizer for my favorite fair grub, the funnel cake. I know it’s just fried dough, but YUM.
Can I tell you how excited I was to see taffy for sale? Growing up we went to the DuQuoin State Fair every year, and these southern Illinois taffy folks were always there. A box of taffy was always our take-home treat. It’s still as delicious (and still sticks to your teeth) as when I was little.
Henry and Eleanor love butterflies, so we spent a fair amount of time (get it? FAIR amount?) in the Department of Natural Resources’ butterfly exhibit, oohing and aahing over the butterflies. The kids tried to count them, and would pick up mulch and pretend to feed them. At one point during the butterfly lovefest, I overheard an elderly lady say to her friend, “Doesn’t that make it all worth it? To hear them react to the butterflies?” Dear Elderly Lady: Thanks for thinking my kids justified your trip out to the fair—your comment totally justified MY trip to the fair.
Henry and Eleanor had never ridden rides, so we thought we’d give it a try. Our first ride consisted of strawberries that spun around. Thanks to the 90-degree heat, the ride was basically “pretend you’re cooking in an oven for 3 minutes.” We moved on to the car ride, and Henry was in heaven. Both kids enjoyed riding in the red racecar, but Henry had the biggest grin on his face the entire time and would wave back to us like, “Mom and Dad! This is the BEST! THING! EVER!” You could tell that in his mind he was zooming fast around a racetrack.