Wednesday, October 21, 2009

State Fair of Texas: Old Fashioned Family Fun

It was a cold, wet day at the Fair--even the hundreds of deep-fat fryers scattered liberally across the fairgrounds couldn't ward off the chill. It didn't actually rain on us, though, and the weather kept a lot of people home. We had a fun day and tried to experience all the fair had to offer:

Fried food (see separate post)
African acrobats--the lowest limbo I have ever seen
Car show
Petting zoo (again, separate post)
Dog show--Natalie LOVES doggies
Puppet show--Ella thought the marionettes were pretty cool
Butter sculpture
All kinds of exhibits--crafts, food, animals, etc.

Here we are with Big Tex, the symbol of the fair. His jaw is hinged, and he periodically gives announcements.

Ella and I rode the 212-foot tall Texas Star, the tallest amusement ride in the western hemisphere.

We spent the entire ride freezing our patooties off.

Ell had a grand time piloting her own plane.
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State Fair of Texas: What a Zoo!

So, if you know me, you know that I really like a good petting zoo. For some reason I like being slobbered on by whatever animals you've got, and the possibility of having my clothes chewed up and my toes stepped on just adds to the thrill. The petting zoo at the state fair was fantastic, full of all kinds of animals from the expected (pigs, sheep, donkeys, and a million goats) to the exotic (zebras, camels, a longhorn, a small giraffe, ostriches, emus, llamas that for some reason had been shaved to resemble poodles, and a kangaroo with a joey in her pouch). Ella bravely fed some of the animals, and Natalie, who has yet to develop any sense of fear, was highly amused by everything that approached her for a sniff or a lick.

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State Fair of Texas: Fried Food Fiesta

I didn't eat the fried butter. Did you really expect me to? They were like little fried dough balls, and people said they tasted like fried dinner rolls. I watched a man eat one and as he bit into it, the butter squirted out and dribbled down his chin. It didn't look like a pleasing experience.

I did, however, try the Deep-Fried Peaches & Cream, which won the award this year for best taste. It wasn't half bad, and it didn't cause anything to dribble down my chin, so bonus! Four peach slices were rolled in a crunchy graham cracker/cinnamon/ginger coating and then fried and served with whipped cream and strawberry sauce.

Here were some of the other fried foods at the fair:
fried s'mores
fried Moon Pies
fried chocolate truffles
jalapeno "corn dog" shrimp
fried cookie dough
chicken fried bacon
fried bananas
fried pecan pie
fried grilled cheese
fried PB&J

There were at least 5 different kinds of fried potatoes available, which is what Ella ate--plain, old French fries. (She also had pink cotton candy hot out of the machine.) Greg had three, yes, three corn dogs, or "Corny Dogs", as they are called at the Fair. Evidently they were invented there decades ago. Yes, here in Texas we have a rich (saturated, even) history of frying up pretty much anything and everything.

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Silly Sisters

As a 1-year-old, Natalie is, of course, VERY helpful around the house. One day she was keeping me company as I moved a load from the washer to the drier in our pantry-cum-laundry room. She stayed busy for quite some time placing packages of peanut butter crackers in to a hamper one by one. There were about 50 of them in there by the time she was done. She took her job (ie rearranging the pantry) very seriously. (And do you like my subtle nod to the Container Store?)

Ella Willden, First Grader, is a reading machine lately. Natalie doesn't enjoy reading books as much as rapidly flipping the pages and then throwing them, so this picture captures a unique moment.

Ella has lost a few very important teeth. She worked VERY HARD to lose the first one at school so that she could go to the nurse and get a little plastic tooth necklace to carry it around in for the rest of the day.

Natalie, on the other hand, is not short on teeth. Just short in a general sense, although the hair does give her about 2 extra inches.
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