The Sterling Fair

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gregory admires a pig

We made our annual trip to the Sterling Fair today, after a one year hiatus due to torrential downpours last September. For anyone who has never been, the Sterling Fair is part agricultural fair, part cheesy carnival, held every September on the runways of the Sterling airport. Rebecca had a vague recollection (last time she had just turned 4) and of course Gregory had no idea what to expect.

We hit the agricultural part, which is actually my favorite, first. This consisted of large exhibits of stinky but cute farm animals including cows, horses, goats, pigs, bunnies and donkeys. The kids LOVE this, and want to stop and look at every one of the thousands of livestock. I have to say my favorite animal was a 14 month old pig. He was very cute, and did I mention that he was six feet long? At 14 months? Does anyone know what age a pig is considered full grown? I have no idea, but if this guy gets much bigger, they may need to build a bigger stall.

We took a brief stroll through the craft competition displays, which mostly consisted of Greg and I repeatedly yelling "Don't touch that!". They did have some
gorgeous quilts, and an elaborately decorated fairy house built entirely out of materials found in woods. The latter was built by a thirteen year old girl and was really cool.

The last part of the agricultural section is the horse and oxen pull. I never thought I'd say something like this, but I love the animal pull competitions (the tractor pull doesn't do it for me, but the men love it - must be a guy thing). Today they were doing the horse pull, and I could have watched it all day. If you've never seen it, they have this metal sled thing on a dirt track with 1600 pound blocks stacked on it. The sled has a ring on one end which they slip over a hook attached to a harness attached to a team of enormous horses. The participant must then pull the sled a certain distance (in the horse pull it's about twenty feet). After each team has a go, they take a huge front-end loader and add another 1600 pound cement block to the sled, and repeat the process. If a team cannot pull the sled, they are out, and the last team left wins the event. It's kind of like watching bull riding or the strong man competition on TV - you can't believe you're watching it, but you are, and actually find it somewhat interesting. (OK, the strong man competition isn't all that interesting, but you know what I mean). We only watched the beginning, so maybe it gets more painful when the sled gets really heavy?

Rebecca on an old school motorcycle ride

Rebecca would have watched the horses all day, but Gregory was more interested in climbing the metal bleachers so pretty soon we moved on. Onto the cheesy carnival part. You know - ridiculously overpriced deathtraps, I mean rides, and the worst food you can imagine. We took a ride on the ferris wheel ($10 worth of tickets for the four of us for one ride). The kids rode the merry-go-round, and each got to pick one more ride, and our $20 worth of tickets were gone. While I was waiting for Rebecca to finish the sparkly motorcycle ride, I was eavesdropping on the people standing next to me. Greg was on the other side of the fair putting Gregory on the truck ride, so I needed something to entertain me. I was stunned to hear the Dad say he had spent $80 on tickets so far that day. His wife had spent $60 and the grandmother had spent $40. Guys, that's almost $200 on shifty carnival rides. You should have spent that money on a couple of season's passes to Six Flags. The rides are much better and you can go for a full year. I don't get it.

Anyway, that was it. Lots of fun as usual and now I'm all set with shady carnival rides until next year.

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Amber said...

Hurray--that looks like so much fun! We went to our annual fair this weekend and got rained out. Serious bummer. :-(