The Beckett family hit the New Mexico State Fair on Saturday. Unlike my beautiful sister-in-law who was a national officer for the FFA (Future Farmers of America), I did NOT grow up going to fairs. I did grow up in a small town, but it was not so rural that 4-H and farms were immediately in abundance. I think my very first was when a group of college friends decided to meet up one summer for the Ohio State Fair. We all lived relatively near even though we knew one another while in upstate New York. Our little gang of Asians was probably mistaken for a Japanese tour group. I also went to a county fair for the first time a few years ago. While visiting my parents in West Virginia, I stopped at the Wayne County Fair because my high school friend was playing a gig there. I felt considerably self-concious walking in the gates as the only Asian in a 10-mile radius. But it was worth it to hear him sing.
That was my very limited exposure to fairs until I found myself living in New Mexico. We have been here for just over a year, and I have already been to the state fair twice. My boys are still in their single digits age-wise and can say the same. They absolutely LOVE it. We get there early enough to find close, free parking. We are first in line at the ticket booth, and the rides have yet to involve a wait. There is something magical about carousels, and despite some wear and tear this one did not disappoint.
Last year they did a continuous loop on the long slide. This year it was still fun but a couple times was enough. Let’s not think about those potato sacks and how they most likely do not get cleaned. We will just smile and say “WHEEEE!”
I consider carnival rides to be high-risk behavior. They get put up and taken down repeatedly. They look and sound like they have been in use since the Triassic period. I simply ignored the fact that one kiddie coaster had duct tape on almost every car as Connor grinned happily around in clueless circles. There was one medium coaster that I had to ride with him because he was too short to ride alone. As far as roller coasters go, it was wimpy and small. I doubt the incline was more than a couple feet. However, I felt intense fear as though I were on the best and biggest that any major park could offer. I fully expected the precarious structure to crash me down to my doom. That 3-minute ride might have been scarier than watching The Ring and that movie traumatized me so much that I still pee my pants whenever I see a dark-haired girl in severe need of a haircut. However, the boys not only survived their dance with danger, but they enjoyed every exhilarating moment.
Putting our sons’ lives on the line is apparently not cheap. We paid a nominal fee to get in the fair, then bought them each wristbands for unlimited rides, then bought a pack of tickets separately for those rides that we have to accompany them on to make us incontinent, then we HAD to get something deep-fried to eat and lunch and another snack later. In the end, we cashed out their college savings accounts so we could clog our arteries and make us feel like our life insurance polices were a worthy investment. Mike said that it would have been cheaper to go to Cliff’s Amusement Park instead especially with their fall promo this time of year. He even said that next year instead of the fair we should just go to Cliff’s.
I agree. Although I did enjoy eating lunch in the African American pavilion and watching the dancers perform just as much as Mike enjoyed consuming his size-of-Texas turkey leg. If we did not have an alarm system for our house, we could just buy some of those turkey legs and whack the crap out of any would-be invaders. There was also what we fell fast and hard for at our first sampling last year: DEEP-FRIED OREOS. Just anticipating those lovely caloric dears, I heard Conway Twitty singing, “Hello, darlin’, nice to see you. It’s been a long time.” So the boys won’t have any money for college. These just might be worth it.
Of course, after the cool morning turned into a sunny, hot afternoon, we HAD to get something cold and sugar-filled. Connor opted for a snow cone while the rest of us had Icee’s. The sugar shock was perfect to numb our senses from the fact that we could have DIED multiple deaths on one of those rickety rides.
Although the fair’s costly fare may deter our family CEO, the fair’s delicious fare may turn us into faithful fair-goers. (Say that five times fast.) Plus my thighs could always use a serious workout like they get when nature calls and even the cleanest bathroom stalls require quadricep burning to keep oneself high above the seat. That seat may actually be cleaner than the potato sacks my boys rode down twice, but at least they get to keep their pants on them when in contact. Regardless, it was a fun family day well spent. This particular one was definitely well spent.