Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Montana (A)Fair

One of the great things about starting your own family is the cementing of new traditions. Sometimes something is just so grand you decide, let's make this a yearly/monthly/daily tradition! Other times, traditions happen by accident, stumbling on a fun activity that sounds like a good idea each year it occurs. While we're not overly quick to admit it, one such accidental tradition of ours is going to the Montana Fair.

My mom and I first went in 2009 - my first summer in Montana - to go to the Kelly Clarkson concert (which my awesome then-boyfriend, now-husband awesomely got us tickets to).

We didn't go in 2010 because I was beyond pregnant and walking around in the heat with zero prospect of a beer was not something I was willing to do.

In 2011, my mom, Zoey and I made it a girls' trip.

In 2012, we made it a family affair.

This year our entourage expanded to include my mom, dad, Jacob, Zoey, and myself. We went after Jacob got off work which is how I've decided I like going to the Fair: weekday evening. It was still pretty busy, but not painstakingly so. And it wasn't blistering hot since there was so much end-of-the-day shade. We did rides then food because there was no way Zoey was going to sit through any sort of anything without declaring, "I want to go on the Ferris Wheel," every five seconds (we didn't. We walked up to it to see if she could even ride but when we got up close, she freaked out and said, "Too scary!" So we appropriately went over to the rides for people her size.)

 Naturally spotted first - the cars. By Zoey or Daddy first, I'm not sure...

 What else follows cars besides Monster Trucks? Nothing, that's what.

 She expertly worked the wheel and yelled at everyone, "Hold on, guys; hold on!"

And always has time for a photo-op, natch.

 She remembered the Merry-Go-Round from last year, saying, "This is the fun one!"

 They had to close down the ride for our impromptu modeling shoot.

 Of course she couldn't pass a train and not want to ride on it.

 This was the ride I inadvertently traumatized her on last year so I was surprised when she stood in line for the helicopter ride -  a slam dunk, I was sure - and said, "I don't want to ride the helicopter, I want the balloons." I asked her a dozen times if she was sure and she was adamant.

 It was a lot different than I remember last year, doing a lot more spinning, turning, and jerking. Zoey said, "No, don't hold on to me!" But I know it would have been a different story if I hadn't sat next to her. I'm glad she had fun and wasn't traumatized by any of the rides this year.

I may have found it a tad scarier than she did...

Once we ran out of ride tickets, we played a couple of everyone-wins games (because, let's face it; for the amount of money you pay at this place, the only games worth your money are the ones you always win). We did our usual, Pick-Up-the-Duck-From-the-Kiddy-Pool game, then some shark fishing. She won a mini Hannah Montana backpack and looked at it like, "What the heck am I supposed to do with this?" The wonder of Fair presents starts early (like those stuffed animals that are stuffed with cement and completely un-snuggle-able).

What do you get when you cross a toddler and the end of your Fair tickets?

But we ate shortly thereafter and all was right with the world. Jacob and I had corn dogs, my mom had a cheeseburger, Zoey chicken strips, and my dad decided to go for the full Fair experience and get pork on a stick and Walleye on a stick (which was actually rather tasty. He said in astonishment, "It's real Walleye.")

 All was right with the world especially after she got this.

 Chocolate-covered strawberry kabob. No, Grandpa, I'm saving all that on my face for later.

Thanks for another fun year, Fair!

(Kelly Clarkson, please come back. Or Flo Rida; that would work too.)