Full Circle at the Ferris Wheel


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Aging, Animals, Boys, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Family, Fun, Life Lessons, Memories, Parenting, Traditions | Posted on 13-08-2012

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I go to the county fair every summer. It’s been a tradition since I was a kid. The fair is EXACTLY the same today as it was those many years ago. Just the way I like it.

Except I’m different now. I’m not the kid begging for cotton candy. I’m not the teenager flirting with boys. I don’t tuck money into my shoe anymore. I’m the Mom, with the ginormous backpack carrying all of the kids’ crap, sunscreen, and water bottles. I am the one in the dorky, floppy sun hat, protecting her face from the sun.

But I’m still a kid inside. I still get that giddiness and excitement in my tummy as we drive into the fairgrounds and park in the straw and walk through the turnstiles and get unlimited ride wristbands attached to our left wrists.

The sights are still the same. Leathered-skin carnies operating the rides. A little gruff. A little leery. A little toothless.

The rides are the same. Ferris wheel with the glowing lights. Bumper cars with their stop-and-go jerkiness and electricity popping. Creaky roller coaster that tic-tic-tics up the ramp and then whooshes you downward propelling screams. I can’t ride the spinning rides anymore (old age) but I watch my kids ride and I encourage them with a big grin on my face.

There are still the teenagers preening and flaunting. Girls wearing their tightest shorts, flipping hair, chomping on gum, checking out the boys in line who are also looking and smelling their finest, checking out the girls. I am no longer the teen, flipping my hair and checking out the boys. My shorts are tight (for other reasons).

Unwinnable games. Darts and balloons. Climb the ladder to ring a bell. Shoot the basketball. Knock over old-fashioned milk bottles. Giant pandas, red dogs, monkeys…a girl’s dream to win one and walk around with a stuffed animal under her arm, boasting. I never won one. Now, I’m like “we don’t need a giant stuffed banana with Jamaican hair.” Or DO we?

The world’s smallest horse. “Step right up and pay a dollar.” The horse is merely a small Shetland pony, appearing miniscule, in a pen built well below the stairs you climb. Every year, I am fooled again. But I have hope.

The piglets, the velvety cows, the endearing goats, the sheep with attitude. The smells of the barns are comforting, with their fresh straw and fresh poop. 4-H kids with their impressive pride, grooming their animals and answering your dumb questions. “What is the difference between a llama and an alpaca?” I ask.

The smells and tastes of the fair food. The same. Pink and blue fluffy cotton candy, deep-fried corn dogs, greasy funnel cakes sprinkled with powdered sugar, salty popcorn.

This year, I returned to the fair again with my three kids. Just as we do every year, where we pack in fun, exiting exhausted and a little bit green-faced at midnight. I take my youngest two kids by the hands and we practically skip to say hello to the goats, let the cotton candy dissolve on our tongues, and board the Ferris wheel to watch the “ants” down below.

I wave goodbye to my oldest teen son, who runs off with a friend–as they quickly ditch our goofball trio–and they do what teen boys do, with their hair gelled, just so.

And so, the cycle continues, round and round, like the Ferris wheel. Some things never change.


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Comments (25)

Love the pics! I remember our fair every year too! I felt the exact same way whenever we can make it. Love the whoopee pies too. Erin

Thanks! What the heck is a whoopee pie?


Very cool pics! I used to love the fair too. And who doesn’t love funnel cake?!

What, you don’t know what a whoopee pie is? Love the different perspectives! It’s so true that things seem to change when it’s really just us!

Ah, I googled and now I know what a whoopie pie is. Man, was I missing out!

Yeah, funny that I go and watch the kids ride the rides and I’m the one carrying their crap. Different experience but it’s still awesome!

Thanks! Yeah, funnel cake hits the spot (once a year and I’m good!)


We just went to Cedar Point (a large amusement part in Ohio) a couple weeks ago. I posted about it on my blog a few weeks ago. I grew up going there but hadn’t been back there in close to 8 years. We took two our our three kids and WOW was it different through my adult, motherly eyes. Nothing had changed – except my perspective. Crazy!

I was just at the fair and my daughter and I had meltdown together. It was a great day once we shook ourselves off.

Good post. It is bizarre to be the one in the floppy hat now. Life is surreal.

Reminds me of the fair scene with Templeton in the movie Charlotte’s Web!

Love the fair!

Thanks to Parks & Rec, I’m all about the tiny horses. 🙂

Oh I love the fair. And I love going and making new memories there with my kids. Great pictures too!

Ah, right. Nothing had changed except your perspective… Well said!

Thanks for sharing!

I love that scene in Charlotte’s Web! Indeed, a smorgasbord!

Thanks for writing!

I love me some tiny horses!

Thanks! You sound like me!


I can’t wait for the fair! Ours is at the end of September! AHHH! The funnel cake and that giant leg of some creature that people walk around chomping on. Your photos reflect that your family looks LOTS more awesome than the average fair goer in these parts. And, yes, everyone needs a banana with dreadlocks. 🙂

Loved those pictures! It’s been years since I went to a fair! Gosh. The closest thing was NYE last year down in the centre of town, where there were some rides, dodgy looking carnies and some stalls selling chai – which seemed all wrong.

Some stalls selling chai? Yeah, that seems kinda wrong. Where are the deep-fried Twinkies?


I ATE (or gnawed, actually) on a giant leg of a turkey. And it was so Fred Flinstone.

Ha, about our family pics. We “clean up real good.” 🙂 Actually, I know what you mean. The fair brings in some real lookers…the kinda folks you wanna stare at for awhile to stare at their missing teeth and whatnot.

Have fun in September!

I’m pretty sure you DO need a giant banana and now I am desperate to go to a county fair!

Oh, Mon (said in Jamaican accent), why deedn’t I get me a rasta banana?!


I think I enjoyed the fair more through this post than I ever have in real life. Great post!

This was a great post!
This was my first year taking our two older boys (6.5 and 2.5) to the fair, and it was my first time there as a Mom. I felt exactly how you described it. You nailed it! 🙂

Aw, thanks! I bet you guys had a blast. Funny (and kinda weird) to be in a different role, huh?


Ha, excellent! I’ll be your “armchair traveling companion.”



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