Yes, it is!

Monday, August 15, 2011

State Fair Day

The Illinois State Fair in Springfield is here.  Yesterday, veterans and families were able to enter the fair for free.  I'm not a big fan of fairs or carnivals because I don't trust the rides, it's a perfect redneck atmosphere, it's dirty and dusty, and the food is overpriced and greasy.  The day turned out to be a beautiful, clear day so off we went to the fair. Tim had mentioned the fair a few days ago to Jackie.  She was so excited about the idea and we didn't want to let her down.  All she talked about was getting on the rides. In fact, Jackie was so excited that not even 15 minutes into our travel, Jackie piped up from the back seat, "Are we there, yet?". Tim and I just chuckled and told her that it would be at least another hour and a half. 
Now I've been to the state fair in our home state of Florida more times than I care to know.  The fairground is huge there.  My favorite area to visit is always the animals.  I've even had the opportunity to watch a cow give birth there.  The rides?  Nah, I can forsake those. I just don't trust them.  Some of the entertainment is okay, albeit a bit redneck-ish.  I was expecting pretty much the same at the Illinois state fair.  I was in for a slight surprise, though.  Those fairgrounds?  Are huge.  Really huge.  Much bigger, it seemed, than the Florida state fair.  I had initially rebuffed Tim's idea to take the sit-n-stand stroller for the kids because I figured they could handle the walking.  I'm so thankful now that I still even owned that thing.  It was so handy yesterday.
When we first arrived at the fair, the entrance we came into was on the opposite end of where the midway was.  So, we decided to visit some of the exhibits first.  Poor Jackie was getting so anxious about riding those darn rides.  But she was a trooper as we went to see the horses, pigs, sheep, goats, and more.  Finally, we made it to the midway  where we bought wristbands for the kids to ride unlimited.  Unfortunately, that ended up being a waste on Ben.  Jackie, however, loved it.  She rode nearly every single rode multiple times.  The smile on her face melted my heart.  It made me so happy just watch her being so happy on those rodes. The cool thing about this fair is that there is a section dedicated just to kids.  I don't recall our home state fair doing that. One of the first rides that the kids rode on together was a little kid roller coaster.  Ben got on the ride willingly but as soon as the ride took off, this look of fear came over him.  He hung on to Jackie for dear life.  It was priceless.  Surprisingly, though, he didn't cry.  After that, Tim watched as Ben rode the ever so slow train ride while I took Jackie to another ride that she wanted to go on.  Everything seemed to go smoothly until we got to some sort of bus ride where the bus lifts up and around and back again.  The bus itself stays straight so it looked harmless.  Ben and Jackie took a front row seat and they waited while the other kids got loaded.  Then suddenly, we saw Ben freak out and squirm out of the seat even after the bar supposedly secured him in.  Whew, so glad that he did that before the ride took off and not during.  Of course, after seeing Ben freak out, Jackie freaked out too and wanted off the ride.  Ben then spotted a motorcycle ride so we took him over there.  He excitedly climbed up on the seat while Jackie got on the seat behind him.  Ben seemed okay while waiting for the ride to start until his daddy told Ben to push the button. Ben did as instructed and then he suddenly freaked.  Again.  All over an annoying noise that is supposed to sound like a motorcycle horn.  Jackie enjoyed the ride, though.  We tried to encourage Ben to ride some of the other rides to no avail.  Even Jackie tried to beg Ben to join her on some of the rides.  No dice. However, Ben did go inside the climber thing.  There were actually 2 different ones and Ben loved them.  No movement involved but himself climbing up, on, and over stuff, and sliding. Two of his favorite activities.  I was finally able to convince Ben to ride the tiny ferris-wheel and he liked it so much that he rode it again immediately.  And he rode the little merry-go-round once but he refused to sit on one of the animals.  So I had to sit in the little seat with him.  Tim laughed.  But after that, it was back to the climbing things.  We let Ben climb to his heart's content although I'm not sure we got $25 worth out it for him.  Jackie, on the other hand, was having such an enjoyable time on the rides. 
While I was sitting and watching Jackie having so much fun on the rides, it suddenly occurred to me what might possibly be causing Ben such distress.  Now, he had no problem going on the rides when I took him to Holiday World last summer.  But the atmosphere was a little more subdued then.  But this time, at the fair there were a lot of different noises going on.  Ben seems to be sensitive to certain tones and sounds and will cover his ears and almost cry.  In addition to his speech difficulties, Ben also has some sensory issues.  It appears that Ben was becoming distressed by this low, sort of vibrating noise emanating from all the rides so close together.  We finally took a break from the rides and went to another section where the kids learned about all areas of farming.  Jackie, however, was anxious to get back to the rides. So while Tim kept Ben busy in another section, I took Jackie back to the kid section for a few more rides.  She was so cute as she enjoyed the rides.  Tim caught up with us and we were finally able to convince Jackie that there were many other things to do at the fair than the rides. We walked around to a few more sections but unfortunately, it was getting close to closing time for many of the exhibits.  As we headed toward the gate where we came into, we were excited to be able to see more horses, this time with the carriages.  They were all so beautiful.
The day was so beautiful and even though going to the state fair was not my top preference, I am so glad we went.  I absolutely loved watching my beautiful little girl enjoying herself at the fair. 

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