**disclaimer....these are just my ramblings....nothing spiritual....nothing even useful really....you may want to skip this entry
I have good memories of coming to the State Fair....we'd drive down from Bloomington, usually on the day when the Chicago Symphony would give a free concert at the Grandstand. My parents would walk us through the barns and we'd look at animals...my mom used to ride horses, so she'd point out the different breeds. My dad knows everyone. Even in Springfield. So we'd visit our friends who show cows, and his friends in politics, and he'd tell stories about some client he had in a case who made a golf cart that malfunctioned in some situation, blah, blah, blah.....
Anyway, the day would usually start with my dad singing the State Fair song.....Don't know it?!
"Our state fair is the best state fair, don't miss it, don't even be late. Dollars for doughnuts that our state fair is the best state fair in the state!"
We didn't usually get to ride many rides...even back then, with 4 kids, rides and food gets expensive! I'm sure we were normal kids who begged and pleaded for stuff, but the only thing I remember getting at the fair was an elephant ear and alot of free junk from the different buildings...fans, bags, emory boards, papers...which usually got thrown away as soon as we got home.
We went to the fair yesterday.....we debated on going, but my nostalgia kicked in and we packed a backpack with water and the camera. About 1/2 hour into the trip, I knew we had made the wrong choice. One of my children was sitting in a heap, crying that she was too hot and too tired to continue on. Great. We just paid $10 to park and get in, and she's tired. After convincing her that a little water would make her feel better, we moved on. We talked to our kids alot about finding the free things at the fair, and that we didn't have much money to spend. We agreed that they could each choose 3 rides for the day, and that would be all....The girls loved their rides on the Giant Slide, Bouncing Room, and the Sky Glider across the fairgrounds.....but they weren't so excited about the free stuff. We didn't get to Conservation World because I didn't want the crying to start again from the long walk over there. We did see a corny show called the Muttsville Dog Comics that had dog tricks....we watched the horses warming up for the show later that night...we wandered into a 4-H tent (Kyle Simpson, that was for you!) for kids where the girls could milk a pretend cow with water in it's "utter"....and the free petting zoo. I was thinking that being frugal at the fair could be an adventure...a challenge....my kids weren't into it. We did, however, have dinner for 4 for $8 - - unheard of at the fair! The Colleseum Restraunt has a new dollar menu with hot dogs, corn dogs, and fries for $1!! A real bargain for you fairgoers!
So, as we walked back to our car, I had sticky fingers from Cotton Candy, feeling slightly nauseous from the grease in my Elephant Ear, and dehydrated from being too cheap to buy any more water....Sarah Jane said, "I didn't think it would be very fun to not spend much money at the fair, but there were lots of things to do!!". Well, first of all, we DID spend alot of money....and second, you didn't see the half of it, sister!