Fair Game

I have a thing for the fair. There's something about circuses and carnivals that thrills me to my core. I don't know why, but I find an excessive amount of glamour in the whole production and the timeless entertainment that sends kids and adults alike into fits of glee. Like, what other time of year will a grown man get emotionally invested in a glass bottle ring toss game to win a stuffed animal for his lady? None. I love the fearlessly bright and deep colors of everything, paired with marquee lighting and heart-attack inducing sweets and a soundtrack of excited screams. 


To give you a good example of what kind of weirdo I am: when my sister was a preteen, my mom took her to see 98 Degrees in concert. She took me to the circus. When my sister was 19, she had a fake ID and was partying on the beaches of Waikiki like a normal person. For my 19th birthday, my mom brought me to Cirque Du Soleil's LA show. So.. I eat that shit up, and the Alaska State Fair, after around 20 years of attendance, still makes me giddy. 


Yesterday we happened to both have a Monday off, on a rare, non-rainy August day, during fair season. So I think you can guess how quickly we loaded up strollers, empty bellies, and headed out to Palmer. 


Because it was a Monday, we were super pumped thinking there'd be no lines. But then we remembered as we parked a solid mile away from the ever-stretching line, that this is Alaska. People take their kids out of school for this because it's the only exciting thing that exists here besides washed up country artists having sold out shows at the Sullivan. So we had plenty of time to get it together, figure out strollers, switch kids around, and decide exactly what we were going to eat the second we passed entry. 

I mean, the kids and I decided. They had a dentist visit exactly three days prior to this excursion and that dentist looked me right in the eyes with a wagging finger that I could tell she wanted to bonk me on the nose with, and said "Mom, NO." So we're working on eating literally none of the things that the fair sells.


I made the mistake of telling them that they'd get to pick ONE treat at the fair during the car ride. Spencer picked pink cotton candy and Oliver picked blue cotton candy because, duh. So naturally, that was the first and only thing they cared about and we could do nothing before finding the sugary tufts and sending them into near psychedelic comas. 


Apparently, the fair isn't 100% completely and totally about the food for some people? I know this because my boyfriend is one of those people. He chugged his super healthy protein shake on the drive out, and we circled the fair grounds thrice in search of a REAL fruit smoothie - it didn't exist. It's a state fair, and if it's not fried or dipped in corn syrup, they don't sell it. I swear we were the healthiest people there and in hindsight, I am happy about this. But I do regret not grabbing a funnel cake or six. 


However, I found a veggie wrap at Vagabond Blues. It was filled with locally sourced carrots, arugula, red onions, a homemade guac and an aioli with a kick of spice that I couldn't figure out but was definitely psyched on. 10/10 - recommend for vegs and meaters alike.

Spencer and I have a 4 year strong tradition of getting her little booty up on the carousel and celebrating the princess she is. So we bought ride tickets and headed there. 


But this year, because it is year 4, S decided to be extra. We skipped through all the horses, while I said "Oooh! A black horsey. A white one! Essie, this one has a pink saddle!" She ran, determined, straight to the carriage, hopped in with her little pigtails flopping, and said,


"Now we're like REAL princesses."


I told her Jake and Olive would be on the other side ready to take pictures of us, so smile! And she came up with the magical idea that we should kiss and wave like Cinderella did at Disney. So that's what we did. 

We walked around the shops for a bit, went into the petting zoo, let cows lick the cotton candy off our fingers and blankets, checked out the baby goats, and I'm super happy to report that my son didn't squeeze half the life out of any baby chicks this year.


We stopped by Sweet Caribou, grabbed a few of the most delectable macarons on earth (pretend it doesn't count if my dentist asks you), and set out for more rides; only to be distracted by Daniel Tiger's appearance and wonderful photo op walls. But as you can see, selfies are becoming impossible with this guy because, I mean, he's a kisser.

The elephants were last. Spencer had remembered them from Disney and dropped everything, including our last 6 tickets for the opportunity to fly with Dumbo. She had just psyched herself out on a "rollercoaster" that was 4 ft tall, covered in plaster flowers and had a vehicle designed to look like a caterpillar.. You know, the most horrifying ride there. So Flying Dumbo was her saving grace. 


We finally experienced Monday the way we'd anticipated and had the whole ride to ourselves!

Then the wind picked up, and everyone got sleepy and cold. But because I am more of a child than my own children when it comes to carnivals and circuses and state fairs, we were required to stop for my last sugary treat before hiking back to the car. It was perfect. 


Happy Fair-ing everyone. 


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