Mess Cat predicted this is the one I’d write tonight. Thanks for the idea, girl.
This afternoon we made our yearly trek down to Perry for the Georgia National Fair.
Just Yes. I love the Fair.
I texted Mess Cat to tell her little guy Shaker that this was ChaCha’s (yes that’s my Aunt name) absolute favorite thing of the whole year and for them to get excited. They were driving down to meet us.
As we rode down I thought about it. The Fair really is my very favorite thing to do during the year. I love it. LOVE IT.
I put on my jeans that were my latest Pinterest win and dusted off my boots. As much as I love my flip-flops, the Fair just calls for boots, and today was their Fall Debut.
We spent much of the time on the side AWAY from the rides. I just love the animals and the exhibits. The rides side not so much. I think I must have been traumatized as a child.
I love that you can get so many varieties of food. We found one place there that we know is safe for our food allergy child, so we are able to relax and eat and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Fair. Among the supper fare for everyone was gyros, pizza, chicken sandwiches, blooming onion, and roasted ear of corn (mine–look forward to it all year!). We sat as the sun started settling a bit and the breeze stirred. Music flowed around us as the same singer that entertained us last year sang oldies but goodies.
During our wandering around we visited the pigs and the cows. A new feature this year–in the cow barn, the littles and their cousin got to try milking a mechanical goat. That made them giggle and was really cool. We love the ice-cold chocolate milk that the Dairy folks give out every day of the Fair each year. It doesn’t get much better than that. It always hits the spot.
We love playing on the tractors on display from Walker-Rhodes Tractor Company. It’s so awesome that they bring these out there to share. I remember one Christmas during my previous life how excited I was that there was a new tractor on the place. Playing on my Papa’s tractor when I was little used to be one of my favorite things. I love that my children enjoy playing on them too.
And y’all! The modular homes were back. They used to have several there every year, but they have stopped in the past few. While there were only two there this year, they were awesome! Both had been “endorsed” by the Robertsons of “Duck Dynasty,” and you could even order a “Miss Kay” kitchen. There was “Uncle Si” in one of the homes, and both of my girls had their pictures made with him. It was so much fun to go through them and imagine living in each one. Princess even got into it, talking about which room would be hers. So much fun.
The dads and the littles all rode the paddle boats. Mess Cat, Aub, and I sat at the picnic table next to the pond and had a good visit. We sang along to the songs the band was playing–throwing our hands up and everything. The breeze blew a bit of the spray from the pond over to us. A perfect day.
The petting zoo was a huge hit. Shaker especially loved the giraffe, and I picked out my birthday present from him–a binturong. The sign on her pen said she was easily domesticated and very affectionate. And she looked like a big fluffy sloth. Precious. Shaker said he’d get me one, and I just can’t wait. Wonder what Miss Sophie will think of him?
Oh all the sights and sounds of the Fair. And they only get better from the sky. We rode the Ferris Wheel with Mess Cat and her crew. I haven’t ridden it in years. I think my Fella was most excited that they lit it up just as we were boarding. There was an awesome view, but it went a bit fast for my taste. And we had to go over to the Midway to ride it, so I was just a tad out of my comfort zone. But being with family and laughing and enjoying the sunset from way up high–so worth it.
We finished up our evening doing two things that have quickly become a part of our family traditions at the Fair. First we rode the Agri-Lift. It is my happy happy joy joy place. I love how slow it goes. It takes a good 20 minutes or longer to ride round trip. You can ride it from near the clock tower all the way down to the South Gate and back. It is calming and carries you above the sounds and chaos of what is below. I remember riding it two years ago on a Friday afternoon. Mess Cat was coming down from Atlanta to see Daddy, who was not doing well at that time. We were wrapping up our visit to the Fair with the ride, and then we were headed over to Mama’s to just be with our family. As I sat high above everything on that sunny clear day, the breeze rocked us ever so slightly and I remember such a feeling of peace. I held on to that and replayed it in my mind over and over so much that it became worn like the pages in a favorite book. Daddy left this world for a better one only five weeks later. I treasure the memory of that peaceful moment before the brokenness.
And tonight it was just as peaceful. The sun had set and we watched all the lights shining from way up high. It was an especially long ride tonight as they had to stop it twice for a few minutes. I just sat with my girls and soaked it all in. I turned and waved at my Fella and Cooter who were in the seat behind us. Have I mentioned I love the Fair?
A few pictures from our ride:
Last but not least we watched the Wild West Show. Those guys are so talented. We found them last year, but they made such an impression, they were on several of our “Must Do” lists. We arrived a few minutes after it began, but I was excited to learn it was a different storyline from last year. If you enjoy plays on words and slapstick humor, this is the show for you. My favorite part though was watching my littles’ faces. They loved it. Every minute of it. The sound of their laughter warms my heart. Always.
So the things I love most about the Fair? The people I’m with. Family. Friends. Aub even ran into her best friend from Middle School. That hug. It brought tears to my eyes. Have you ever seen two people hug and you just know, from the length and the intensity that those two matter to each other? Yes. That.
I also love that everything is pretty much in the same spot every year. Consistency is so comforting. The Dole Whip and Chick-Fil-A and the Gyro place always the same. The Chick-Fil-A Scavenger Hunt is always a fun thing to do. The tractors and the RV’s and the petting zoo–always there to enjoy. You can depend on them.
But here’s why the Fair is my favorite thing to do all year. Unlike birthdays, there’s no pressure. Unlike Halloween or Thanksgiving, there’s no preparation. And Christmas–I love it, but the Fair still wins. Why? Because all you have to do is Show Up. Show up and enjoy. What you partake in is up to you. How much you do–all up to you. How much fun–again, pretty much up to you. It’s a great place to just be and relax and enjoy.
There’s two days left. Wonder if I can work in one more trip. Yeah, I love it just that much.