Tuesday, 11 October 2011

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The Arizona State Fair

Are we qualified to tell you about the Arizona State Fair?  After all, we don't live in any state (other than denial, chaos, and confusion), never mind Arizona.  I understand that to a lot of Americans, the State Fair is something they go to every year, a tradition that they've grown up with, but have you ever noticed that the longer a tradition is held, the stranger it looks to people who aren't familiar with it?

For instance, when I told my daughters that we were going to watch "pig racing" it set off a whole barrage of questions.  "Are pigs fast?", "How do they know where to go?" and my favorite "Who rides them?"  To be honest I really didn't have the answers to any of those questions (I had a suspicion about the third) so off we went to find out.  Turns out that "Yes, they are fast", "There's only one way for them to go", and "Nobody rides them" (Whew! Nailed that one.)  My girls found it entertaining, but left thinking it was one of the weirdest things they'd ever seen.  Of course, before we could get out of the area they brought out the weiner dogs with hot dog buns strapped to their sides, and my girls just shook their heads.

There is a tradition that I could really get hooked on though, and that's the food.  Everywhere in the park there were people cooking up great looking things.  We usually have a tough time feeding our kids at events like this, as they can almost never find anything they like, but the only problem they had at the State Fair was choosing.  My oldest daughter did have one moment of disappointment though.  Her favorite food in the world is Smores, and at one point she saw a sign for "Smores on a Stick".  This would have been the highlight of her day, if there hadn't been the words "Deep Fried" in smaller print on the side.  Why do the southern states have to deep fry everything?  Some things are great deep fried, but smores? Twinkies? Kool Aid?  I guess that's one of those things you have to grow up with to understand, but we got through the disappointment with a giant (non-deep fried) ice cream sundae.

To my kids, a fair means rides, and there were plenty of them.  There were also plenty of people in line for each one.  Apparently another State Fair tradition is standing in line, because wait times for each of the rides was coming close to an hour.  This greatly limited the number of rides we got on, but our kids still insisted so we hit a few.  The boy's
favorite was the souped up swing ride where they took a boring old carousel of swings and put it 100ft up in the air.  The height adds a whole new dimension of excitement, and if you really want to put a thrill into the ride, point out to the riders just how thin those chains are that keep your seat attached to the ride.  The girls preferred something  much closer to the ground, so they decided to play "hamster" in giant inflatable balls.   The balls float in about a foot of water, and you can run as fast as you can to make them move.  It's incredibly tiring and hot, but everybody is laughing hysterically and falling all over the place.  The best part may be that parent participation is not only allowed, but encouraged. Whenever my daughters got tired of running and decided to take a little break in the bottom of the ball, I could reach in and spin their ball as hard as I could.  No, I wasn't nominated for Father of the Year last year, thanks for asking.

There's lots of nice, normal things to do at the fair, like free concerts (we took in a show by my girl's favorite singer, Selena Gomez), circus acts, gaming zones and dance performances.  Still, despite racing piggies, deep fried everything, and thinly chained hamster balls (Wait...I think I just made up a new ride there) we all had a really good time at the fair.  Sometimes it's fun to experience the stranger things that are tradition elsewhere, but for now I'll stick to the nice, normal traditions of Canadian fairs like dog sled racing and skating snowmen.


  1. I dont know man...Pretty sure I wouldn't be caught dead at a Fair:) That said, looks like you guys had a blast...
    I'm guessing there wasn't a Park Hyatt next to the fairgrounds lol

  2. C'mon Deej, it's just like the Epcot food and wine festival, only a little less highbrow.
    Yeah, it was a Hyatt Place kind of night, which is fine with the kids anyways. They don't really appreciate the Park Hyatt touches.