Is there anything anything more horrifying than shuffling out of bed on a Sunday morning to see a carload of clean, alert people pulling into your driveway?
Yesterday was our big family outing to the DuQuoin State Fair, which is the Downstate version of the Illinois State Fair. Rob and I used to take the kids every year when they were little, but none of us had been in at least a decade, so we were psyched. But not during that first moment... in my plaid jammies, with my first cup of coffee clutched in my hands...pitiful.
But there they were, Rob, his friends Lisa and Jon, and their son Jonathan, in the driveway, laden with coolers, sunscreen, bright eyes and good hair. We had none of those things yet, so we zipped around trying to turn ourselves into humans, gathered up Carrie, Tyler and Katie, and took off.
The State Fair is enormous. It's acres and acres of food vendors, rides, booths, expo halls, farm implements, livestock, boats, demonstrations, and people. Lots and lots of people. When we arrived, we did a lap around the perimeter streets and scoped out the important stuff...the bathrooms, the beer tent, the air conditioned expo hall with the giant vegetables, and the rides. Then...we dove in.
Since, as adults, we've learned that life is already a thrill ride and it's always a good day if it doesn't make you puke, we parents opted to stay on the ground. Carrie, Katie and Jonathan bought their "endless rides" wristbands and headed for the Tilt-a-Whirl. They'd already decided that the Tilt-a-Whirl would be their warm-up ride...the one that got their stomachs and inner ears used to the idea that they were about to be in hell. We wise old folks alternately watched our lifeblood being slung around in the air like ragdolls, and threw things are other things in absurdly rigged games in order with win worthless stuff.
We were successful; the kids survived, and the loot was won and we got off the Midway and scored some food. I convinced Tyler to eat a fried Twinkie. I wanted to know what it looked like, and he's young and strong, so we agreed to throw him on that cholesterol-laden grenade and save ourselves. He survived, we patted him on the back and admired his bravery, and then scarfed up our own corn dogs, polish sausages, lemon shake-ups, nachos, and refried beans and rice. Beans and rice?? Fair food options are somewhat limited for vegans, so Carrie was motivated more by survival than by flavor.
We explored the exhibits for a couple of hours, ate some more crap, and limped home, poorer but wiser. We know how to make spray paint art, how big our blue ribbon tomato needs to be next year, how much for a party barge and a new combine, and how cute alpacas and animal babies are.
Our Fair needs have been sated for another year. Except for maybe VultureFest. And maybe the White Squirrel Festival. Oh, and the Apple Festival...Okay. We're nowhere near done. Funnel cake anyone?
Below are the pictures, in no particular order, since I'm still getting acquainted with Flickr.
Flickr, meet Nowhere. Nowhere...Flickr. You kids play nice.