Sunday, September 5, 2010

MN State Fair

We decided to begin the long Labor Day weekend a little early this year with a trip to the MN State Fair on Friday. Although we've gone to the MN State Fair every year since we have been married (the only exception being the year I was pregnant with Zach), we weren't quite sure we'd make it to the event this year.
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Since I heard that this August had been the 3rd hottest (and most humid) on record, I was more than ok with keeping my pregnant self in the air conditioned comfort of my own home and allow thousands of other Minnesotans to sweat it out at the fair. Sure, I'd miss my must-have corn dog and mini-donuts, but I hardly thought it worthwhile to indulge my fair cravings if it also meant feeling like I would pass out at any moment due to the heat. However, when the coolest weather since May was fore casted to arrive on Friday (I don't even think the high temp broke 65...and it was cloudy and VERY windy all day long...perfect fair weather for the preggo mommy!), Ben and I were thrilled to make last minute plans for our family to attend the Great Minnesota Get-Together.
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We always arrive at the fairgrounds early, anticipating that the kids are going to be crabby by early afternoon, to take full advantage of everything there is to do in the morning hours when the kids are at their best and the crowds aren't quite as large. Friday was no exception. We arrived by city bus (which was one of the highlights of the fair experience for Zach) by 8:30 and by 9:00, we had already hit the mini donut stand, took the kids on their first giant slide ride, and stopped by to get Ben his yearly tub of Sweet Martha's Cookies.
Both kids (and Ben) LOVED their very first giant slide ride. In fact, I was a little bummed that I wasn't able to participate this year. The only complaint was how cold and windy it was at the top of the giant slide.

And, just in case you are wondering, Ben did let all of us help him finish his cookies. He's pretty good at sharing.

Most of the rest of the morning was spent perusing the animal barns. The kids were the most excited this year to see all the animals.

Zach spent most of his time viewing the animals from the comfort of the wagon...
And, no trip to the fair would be complete without viewing the State's largest pig and acquiring our oink booth pig ears.
After the animals, we decided to waltz around the fairgrounds, but the mist/sprinkling rain and wind drove us to take shelter in the coliseum where we ate a delectable corn dog lunch and viewed the Western Horse Show. While Zach wasn't as thrilled about the horse show viewing, Allie was completely absorbed the entire time. We are kind of waiting for her to request her very own horse and elegant riding attire.
After the horse show, Ben and I were shocked to discover that it was well past 1:00 and the kids had not had one single melt down. In fact, there was no whining, complaining, or fighting. So, we hit up the kiddie midway for a few rides after which we stumbled upon the afternoon parade.
Then, we made our way to the large tractors and John Deere farm equipment after having stopped by the Golden Plump Chicken booth where the kids won free chicken hats. Zach was very attached to his chicken hat and refused to take it off for the remainder of the afternoon.
Although Zach was starting to display some pre-meltdown signs, we decided to test our luck and visit the kids' educational farm. Allie and Zach both had fun performing farming tasks such as feeding chickens, driving tractors, planting seeds, picking apples, and milking cows.
Can't you just see the the inevitability of a melt down at any moment in his face??
After the farm, we happened on some free samples of ice cream and when Zach started crying (and this would be the melt down we had been waiting for) because he didn't know how to eat the ice cream, we realized it was finally time to call it a day.
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We loaded the kids in the wagon and walked as quickly as possible through the large afternoon crowds (stopping only for a quick snack of some Australian Battered Potatoes....a new to us fair treat this year that was super yummy....but yet, anything that is battered and deep fried and covered with nacho cheese is destined to be super yummy) and made our way to the bus.
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We didn't leave until 4:00 which marks the LONGEST day we've ever been able to spend at the State Fair with the kids. And, both Ben and I agreed it was one of the best times we've had at the Fair. I'm not sure why the kids decided to exchange their whining and complaining for positive attitudes and impeccable listening, but whatever the reason, it was truly an awesome day and a great way to officially end the summer.

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