Monday, August 11, 2008

Fair Time, Fun Time

My father served on the local fair board for thirteen decades, and, naturally, I grew up as a fair kid. As a director's son, I received all the perks. My VIP wristband let me into a world seen by few children. I knew the carnies by name (and prison number), I could select the finest corndog stand by smell alone, I'd pick the Grand Champion pen of rabbits then go backstage with Waylon Jennings and tell fair stories. All this before I turned twelve. I walked on air (or cotton candy clouds) during fair-time.

But, once those five days in August were through, I was back to being just another ranch kid and the VIP bracelet I still clung to was worn and faded and had usually given me a rash.

This year, Dylan got to experience the joy of being a director's daughter. We strapped on her VIP bracelet and ran to the first ride we could find. We laughed and waved from our circling carousel horses and were living the dream. Until the unimaginable happened -- the ride stopped. She held up her little arm and showed the carnie her red VIP band, but it was no use. We had to dismount our plastic steeds and go. That didn't go over well.

Once her tears dried, we gave the FFA barns a shot. "Cows?" Dylan asked, looking at me like I was stupid. "Please, I see cows every day. Ooh, Mooo. Give me a break."

The petting zoo was fun, but mostly because there was sawdust on the floor (and little round goat poops) and we could roll around like hamsters. The animals (goats and deer) were old hat. Same goes for the Budweiser Clydesdales. Regina and I were in awe of the massive horses; Dylan was just mad that her wristband didn't give her access to the inside of their stalls.

The only two things that held Dylan's attention were the sandbox in Kids' Town and the slightly freaky juggling, unicycling guy. She was really into his corny jokes and beanbag tossing skills, but I felt weird and awkward watching him, so we ran back to Kids' Town.

After two days of fair time, Dylan told us that while baby goats are very cute and corndogs are delicious, it was time to move on. She handed in her VIP bracelet and threw her dusty and snowcone stained clothes into the hamper. On the other hand, I can't let go. My bracelet is still on, but my wrist is really starting to itch.

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