This year we drove to a local mall parking lot for express bus service to the fair. It was $5 for each of us round trip. It was a little more than I usually would pay but it was worth it to arrive at the fair stress free and to actually doze off on the return trip. Plus, buses get to use the shoulder, so a 20 minute trip by bus would have been an hour and half by car through rush hour traffic.
When we got to the fair we went to the Baby Animal Barn. This was the biggest hit of the trip for the kids. We got to see a calf, some chicks and a few other baby animals.
We saw a baby lamb.
We saw baby ducklings.
And a couple piglets.
After that we walked around a little to see what was in some of the buildings. We didn't see too much because Sweet Pea was always breaking free of us and darting into the crowd. We did find a booth selling homemade princess dresses and accessories. It was tough getting Sweet Pea away from that one.
At lunch time we made our way to the Epiphany Church Dining Hall. I know, only senior citizens go to church dining halls. We go for two reasons. One reason, I've mentioned before. I'm cheap. We usually get more for our money from the dining hall. The second reason is, my stomach isn't twenty years old anymore. I no longer can digest onion rings, a brat with the works and a deep fried Twinkie all in the same day without hospitalization. And I just like church dinner food.
I have nice memories of going to the South Dakota State Fair when I was young and we always ate at the Lutheran Hall. I'm sure my parents took us there for one of the same reasons that I go there. Let's say I've inherited my frugality from them. But they also went there with their parents and it's tradition. Plus, back then there weren't as many food vendors or choices and the church hall was one of the best the fair offered.
After our chicken and meatloaf dinners, (Sweet Pea informed me that only old people eat meatloaf) we ventured off to find more fair fun.
We found Lady Di's cousin working at a food booth and visited with him. His booth just happened to be in front of the Sweet Martha's Cookie stand. Hmmm.....coincidence? We got a bucket of cookies on our way out at the end of the day.
We then walked around looking at some of the 4-H expos and took a lap around the Education building. We got the kids' picture put on a calendar and they each got a couple fans, pencils and rulers. We usually skip the Midway because they still don't accept Monopoly money and we cannot afford it otherwise. Besides, we are taking N1S to the Mall of America Park later for his birthday.
It doesn't sound like we did a whole lot but we sure did a lot of walking. About five hours worth. The kids got tired and went into complain mode. Sweet Pea wanted me to carry her which I haven't been able to do for about a year and a half. This made us skip a few of our regular stops. We didn't visit the All-You-Can-Drink Milk for a dollar booth.(I can remember when it was 50 cents--old man talking). We also cut short our visit to the Home Improvement building. I don't know why the kids find that building so boring. We will have to wait until next year to see the butter sculpture of Princess Kay of the Milky Way too. Sweet Pea perked up when we got close to our last stop of the day, the horse barn. Her eyes lit up as they were unhitching a team of miniature ponies from a wagon. There were eight black ponies about the size of St Bernards with little yellow rose buds braided into their manes. She thought they were so cute until two of them answered nature's call while we were watching.
We then headed for the bus ride back home. For me, this was the perfect ending to our afternoon. I didn't have to drive in rush hour traffic and we would get home twice as fast.
Next year we are definitely taking the bus to the fair again. We may not be taking the kids though.