It has been my lament for several years now that m

y kids don’t have a good idea of what a “real” fair is like.  And by “real” I mean, of course, a fair like Stanislaus County’s.  With livestock shows, exhibit halls packed to the gills, aisles upon aisles of food vendors and miniature gardens constructed just for the celebration.

But what can you do?

I’ll tell you what we did.  When I spied the open class premium book while out and about this spring, I snatched one up and floated the idea of entering past the kids.  They were enthusiastic BEFORE I mentioned monetary prizes.  Hot dog, this was going to be fun!

For the last two weeks, we have worked diligently on their entries.  Max built and rebuilt Lego things.  Philip built and painted and photographed.  And Tess?  There wasn’t a thing she didn’t do.

In the end, we rolled up to the fairgrounds with 7 entries for each of them and long lists of things that they would buy with their winnings.  I was feeling rather confident in it all – until we walked into the Fine Arts building.  Photos and artwork and china laid seemingly stacked to the ceiling.  Some division superintendents were helpful (“We can fix that easy!” when I had removed one part too many from the entry tags) and others not so much (“THAT is not fine art” to Philip’s beloved sculpture).  When we dropped off the Legos, our boys were struck dumb by giant pirate ships and castles towering over their humble offerings.  We were all hot and bothered and a wee bit frazzled when we left.  Well, everyone but Tess who was prioritizing which rides to ride first.

I spent 24 hours as a nervous wreck.

What if they didn’t place?  All of our hard work!  I wanted all of the entries to be no cost, but we had developed photos and purchased hangers . . . money down the drain!

It was a rough couple of dark hours.

Saturday we fortified ourselves with Jac’s pancakes and hurried over to catch the parade to kick off the fair.  The kids collected more candy than they could carry and Ellie decided that parades were frightening.  While the marching band wowed us all, Ellie appeared to be dancing.  It was only upon further inspection that we discovered she was SHAKING head to toe in fear. When we picked her up, she continued to shake for a while and then stayed reserved throughout the rest of the ordeal.  Only a sucker in each hand seemed to make her all well again.

After the street sweepers did their job, we went to meet Grandma and Grandpa and the cousins at the fair to see how we fared.


Of all the entries we came away with one participant ribbon, one 3rd, all 2nds for Max and loads and loads of blues and reds for the other two.


All were happy and anxious to see the animals eat some fried food and get on some rides.  This is how fair should be!

So we did it up big and right and made memories in abundance. And that my friends?  THAT is a blue ribbon fair.