Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fair Addiction

There is this place, turn right past the McDonald's and drive under I-5, where you can first see the tall oblong mast of the Zipper and the swinging cars on the Ferris Wheel. You catch your first whiff of corndog and steer manure and keg beer and know, undoubtedly, that it's fair time. I'd forgotten about it, or forgotten about the feeling that I used to get at that place, even though I've driven past this spot a thousand times, until last Thursday when I took Dylan to the fair.

It was love at first sight. I heard her squeal, and when I checked the mirror I saw her absolutely ecstatic expression. I'm sure she had no idea what she was seeing, exactly, that was so thrilling. After all, she'd never ridden the Zipper or the Ferris Wheel, but carnival rides are like mall Santas, they ooze hope, excitement, promise, and pleasure.

We spent the next three days trying to decide if we wanted to ride the carousel horses just one more time, or take a bold step and try out the Dizzy Dragons. The final count was carousel horses - 11, Dizzy Dragons - 1. We tried other rides, too. Pink Pig Airplane was a second place favorite, just ahead of Pink Car and Pink Truck. When I'd ask what she wanted to ride next, "Pink," was always the first reply until I could narrow it down.
When we reached a fever pitch with the carnival, and I feared that Dylan would force me to unbolt a carousel horse and kidnap a carnie so she'd have them with her forever and ever and ever, we'd stop for a healthy snack of cotton candy, corndogs, and mini-donuts. Fortunately, Dylan was enamored by more than just the bells and lights of the carnival. She also got to see all of her friends. She'd run off with them and I'd suddenly have a couple of minutes to dash over to the beer garden.

I took Dylan to the "Extremely Amped Motocross Show," which was guys on dirt bikes doing crazy X-Games style jumps and a band playing Journey covers with a lead singer who dressed like, as Dylan put it, Barbie. Honestly, I expected her to get bored and anticipated leaving five minutes into it. Not so. Dylan loved the whine of the bikes and after every jump (even if they were mili-seconds apart) she'd tap her cousin Roxy on the shoulder and yell, "That was soooo cool!"
Every evening, the only way we could get Dylan to leave without dragging her and leaving little claw ma rks down the midway, was to promise that we'd be back. But then Sunday rolled around. We rode rides to the point of exhaustion, missed her nap, and, sadly, had to break the news that we had to go. It was hot, we'd just spent our last twenty dollar bill on corndogs and Dippin' Dots, and needed to go home and get some rest. Dylan cried, real tears, all the way to the car. "I want Fair," she sobbed. "Next year," we promised as we pulled out of the parking lot and crossed over that place, just past the I-5 overpass where we couldn't see it anymore, not even the Ferris Wheel.

1 comment:

Big Daddy Paul said...

Three straight days? You are a better man than I. As far as Malcolm knows, the fair is around for a grand total of one day a year.

I wanna go to the Xtreme moto show though. The only thing we got to see were some silly clowns juggliing.