Wednesday, August 20, 2008

State Fair

Growing up, I didn't get to go to a lot of fairs. The state fair was several hours away, and the county fair was on the opposite side of the county and we couldn't get over there after school. So the Kentucky State Fair was surprising to me the first time I experienced it in August 2000. For one thing, it's huge (one of the largest in the country although I don't have stats). There are all kinds of animals, a huge horse show, competitions in all kinds of home and fine arts. I've always had so much fun going to the fair, but we had to miss it last year because we were out of town.

This year was the first time we got to go as a family, just the three of us. My husband took the day off work on Friday and we spent 9 hours walking around the fair (19,750 steps according to my pedometer, if you're interested that's 6.23 miles!). Fortunately, our girl is pretty good at taking naps in her stroller and will eat just about anything we give her.

My favorite parts of the fair pre-kid were the quilts (I've always wanted to quilt), the decorated cakes (my mom is a fabulous cake-decorator) and the pineapple whip. Pineapple whip is this ice cream-type concoction but it's non-dairy. It tastes like soft-serve pineapple juice. I love it. I understand that it's sold in Magic Kingdom at Disney World but other than that I don't know where to find it.

My favorite parts of the fair post-kid? I love how educational the fair is! I never noticed it before, even when I was there with my niece and nephew. Abigail got see so many things that we don't see on a daily basis. There was llamas, alpacas, donkeys, goats, rabbits, chickens, turkeys and a few other farm animals I've forgotten about. We live in the country and there are ponies, horses, goats and chickens viewable from our front and back doors, but she's little and can't see them as well as I can. And she's never had the opportunity to pet our neighbor's goat. We also got to see baby chicks because there is an incubator in one of the exhibits.

Abigail is too young yet to appreciate some of the exhibits available. Kids have the opportunity to explore emergency vehicles, and to speak with police officers in a celebratory atmosphere. There was an exhibit about the Kentucky Proud program, which helps local farmers market their goods within the community. Kids (and parents) could not only learn what kinds of goods are produced in Kentucky but how it serves our community to buy local. A lot of local farms allow visitors which I think is so fun. I've been looking into visiting a sheep farm in the area not only to see the sheep but to buy some wool. The collective is called Kentucky Farms Are Fun and I'm so excited about this venture!

I believe that it's very important that we as a society understand where our food comes from and how it's grown, and I don't believe that kids today grow up understanding it very well. While our family (and the families we were raised in) do garden and I know our children will have that exposure, I am still grateful that there are resources like the fair for our children to experience some part of agricultural life. I am so glad that we have the opportunity for attending the fair to be part of our family traditions and I hope we continue this tradition regardless of where we live.

So my suggestion is to look into your local fair, county or state. There is often so much more to the fair than the rides and the food.

1 comment:

MAM said...

Have you guys gone out to Huber Farms? I think this is the one of the things I miss the most. Halloween is a great time to go out there to the pumpkin patch! We never got the chance to go to the KY state fair while we lived in Louisville but you've just given me the push to take our son to the TX state fair this year :)