I love the fair. I’ve been going to the fair, whether London’s Western Fair or Ottawa’s SuperEx, for as long as I can remember. I love the fair so much that I even love those little mini-fairs they set up in the parking lot of the strip mall, with half a dozen rides and a stand to buy candy floss and caramel apples at outrageous prices. I don’t go on the rides anymore, but the boys are now at an age where they can ride by themselves, and I get as much enjoyment out of watching them as I ever did riding myself. It’s not about the rides, though. It’s about the whole thing — the games, the grime, the fat cables snaking across the ground, the carnies, the noise, the colours, the lights, the distinctive smell of fried foods and axel grease… what’s not to love?
We brought the boys to the Gloucester Fair yesterday with my mom. (The love of fairs is genetic. Almost every fair we attend, and we average two or three a year, we usually bring Granny and Papa Lou along for the ride.) It was one of those days where everything was perfect — warm and sunny but not hot, busy but the line-ups were short, and we had a darn near perfect late-afternoon-into-evening.
The boys had pay-one-price wristbands for the rides, but I think they like the games even more than the rides.
That’s not to say they didn’t enjoy the rides!
It’s rare that I get all three boys in the same picture, and I think this is their first ride together. (I’ve got a death-grip on Lukey’s thigh as I lean back and snap this with one hand — not an easy feat with an SLR!)
Of course, an integral part of the fair experience is the food, in this case a pulled pork sandwich. I had a pogo and fries that left my stomach roiling as if I’d taken three spins on the Scrambler — but they were delicious.
I like the Gloucester Fair because it’s small, and because aside from the midway, there’s a stretch of fun stuff for the kids like a petting zoo, a stretch of hay-bales set into a maze, a fire truck for the kids to climb on, and other things you might find at a community block party. Lucas was so fascinated by this hula hoop near the hay bales that I didn’t think we were going to get him to leave it behind.
It made my heart swell watching him toddle around in that distinctively stiff-legged new-walker way, where it’s like they’re running downhill even on a flat surface because they can’t quite control the momentum of their forward movement yet. Such a short phase, but one of my favourites!
And the caramel apples? Best I’ve had in years — perfectly tart apples with creamy caramel. Mmmmm. Every day should be so sweet.
(The Gloucester Fair runs the third weekend in May every year at the Rideau Carleton Raceway. Today is the last day.)