Nothing signals the start of fall like the blue skies, crisp air, and the the sights and sounds of a fair. One of my earliest memories is running askew in a three legged race with a cousin at a local fair, getting a silver dollar as a prize from my Opa. I went back to the fair a few times in high school but since then not really.
It’s another part of having a kid that I forgot about: being able to see these things I did and felt as a child through his eyes. So when my friend Dawn suggested we pop over and walk from her house to the Richmond fair, I thought it sounded great. It was the chilliest day we’d had yet, and luckily I found a great jacket hiding in the closet, handed down to me from a friend, that seemed made just for him.
We met up with some of her family as well, and Baby J had a great time. He’s a bit small to do everything, but he enjoyed looking at the animals, imitating the loud moooooos of the gleaming cows, watching the ducks, rabbits, and even a donkey mingle in the petting area. He interestedly watched as a class of shrieking youngsters ran around, one girl stooping nearby to snatch up a handful of grass and shove it quickly towards a goat’s open mouth. He scooped some up himself, learning quickly that the goats would come over and nibble.
We drifted over to a guy showing science-y stuff to an enthralled crowd, then back to the animals. Baby J was happy to run around and watch every little thing, craning his neck to spot the airplane way above, grinning, feeling the sun on his face, before spotting a giant tractor and dashing over to run his hands over the glossy yellow wheel.
For lunch we tried out a food truck serving tacos and it was fantastic. We had the chicken tacos and shared the tangy meat, crisp tomatoes and the corn tortilla that was just soft enough.
I picked up some local maple syrup and we watched one of the older girls we were with go on the little dragon roller coaster, again and again. I threw a dart and won a little stuffed whale and then we ventured to the merry go round. He liked it well enough the first time, clinging tight to the horse after it had stopped rising and falling, but the second time we had to wait quite awhile as kids loaded up, so he was kind of over it before the ride started.
The biggest hit of the day was on the way out: the hay bales, just leaking enough straw strands to be picked up and strewn about, sturdy enough to climb on, and the assortment of fall gourds, just right to be placed here and re-arranged there.
A few hours was plenty for him in the morning, and he fell asleep about a minute after I pulled onto the street. Our first time at the fair was a success and I’m looking forward to doing some more outdoor fall activities with him this year!