Sunday, June 30, 2013

Balloon Fest 2013: Jamesville Beach Park

The Balloon Festival, in my teen and early twenties, was an annual summer meet up place. It was usually held sometime within the first few weeks of June, always had good concerts and we would always some how get DRUNK! I hadn't been in a few years, so when Tami suggested it yesterday afternoon, I was like SURE! It had rained on and off all day, so I wasn't to confident in the weather, but willing to take it all on. It did not rain once, although I could have done without the mud everywhere.
We walked in and Dunken Doughnuts was offering FREE samples, served by two young men. Boys really, easily my eldest sons age. We had fun teasing them, and I insisted the drinks would taste much better, especially that day splashed with a little alcohol.
 I had to get a shot of Tami posing with these young attractive "boys" just for fun. We both flirted and totally embarrassed her son Adler and his friend. They informed us that they would meet up with us after their shift! I told them they would be able to find us singing "we build this city on Rock and Roll" really loud by the front of the stage. We all knew it was in good fun. Nice kids making us old women feel young and sexy again.
We did a little more meandering paying attention to the FREE items, we spun a wheel here and there, entered some contests, I pretended to be interested in this or that. (I won a recycle bag, but I think it went home with Tami last evening). We really feel in love with these hammock chairs and I am positive if Tami had a place to hang it, this little beauty would have come home with her.
It is a balloon Festival, although for most of my younger years, my least bit of attention was on the balloons, it was usually the boys. This year, I was determined if we go that I have to catch the balloons. There usually are several that launch daily during the festival at 6am, and 6pm and we had arrived at 6:30 pm. I was sure we had missed the launch! The sign read high probability for take off! So I was convinced they had already launched. As it so happened, they hadn't even unloaded, and there was not going to be any launching at all due to the weather.
We did get to catch a balloon inflating for tether rides, so I got all excited about that.  And took a series of pictures.
I will spare this blog, any followers (which I have none) and myself the 20 plus pictures I took of this thing inflating.  It sure is cool to watch just the same. I also learned a few fun facts about hot air Balloons. The life expectancy of a Hot Air Balloon is approximately 200-300 hours. I had to think about it a little, and realized that the hours only count in flight duh! Not like the life of something living!
Tami and I continued along stopping at the vendors and being our silly selves.
We got some pictures of this little Balloon statue before we headed to the stage.
(really Tami, you could have gotten a little closer)
As we approached the stage, we heard a band playing and I was convinced it had to be Under the Gun. UTG is a local cover band in the area and my hubby and I have seen them several times before. Once actually at a previous Balloon Fest. They do a great job at featuring 80's rock and some more recent rockers, and I have always enjoyed listening to them. We quickly made out way to the beer/wine tent, I grabbed a wine slushy she a Labatts Blue, and we headed down towards the music.
Some of the bands they featured were; Van Halen and Guns and Roses, They were all songs I knew the lyrics too, and singing along to the bands is my favorite part of going to a concert!(Quite honestly I have no desire to sit and watch some band play music I have never heard before) I guess that's why I love these cover bands so much. We enjoyed the UTG and Tami was itchin for some "fair" food as she called it. We made our way towards the beach area, visiting vendors we had missed on the first trip, and LOOK a second Balloon was up in the air! I had to get some more shots.
The balloons looked so neat against the darkening sky.
After a few more balloon inspired moments, we made our way towards the "mid-way" area in pursuit of carnival rides. Tami's son Adler had convinced Tami to take a ride with him. I caught a few new and interesting booths along the way. There was a booth for these little tiny bat-like mice looking animals that you carry in your pocket. (I would have taken a picture, but the demonstrator had just actually placed this little guy in his pocket as I was approaching). I think they were called sugar babies, and I had seen them at the mall before. These things don't even look real. So wish I had a picture. They were sure cute. Another cool item, which I did get a picture of, but with my flash defeated the effect. These were shirts that lite up to the music, actually in musical bars. The women said any noise would cause a rhythmic glow to your shirt. I suggested she get someone to wear one down by the show! She would get some big SALES. They were totally cool.
Once at the mid-way, and after several discussions about who was going on what ride, and my own little overly anxious note about the swings being the MOST dangerous rides at any theme park. Finally Adler gave up on getting mom on board with an upside down ride he went on two rides by himself and Tami picked up a pretzel with cheese, and even I wouldn't eat and I will eat just about any junk food.  Waiting patiently I took some random but cool pictures of "a carnies life".
 This is the ride that Adler wanted his mom to ride with him. You can see him riding solo. The ride went upside down and twisted as it went.
Below is mom, deciding at "fair food" was a better idea then an upside down toss.
Adler's second ride choice. (I just realized I never got any pictures of Adler and his friend Matt, wow). anyways, here is Adler on the Hurricane. As he was getting on, the ticket taker, ride controller, Oh I don't know what they are called, informed us that the ride was acting sluggish and usually moves much faster. I reported that it seemed to be going fast enough, thats went he told me that the stupid thing was built in 1974. OMG nearly as OLD as I am. Glad I didn't get on. I joked with Adler that I had sat in that very same seat when I was four! It was pretty funny, but I was and still am pretty shocked that this baby has not been put to Amusement Ride burial by now, and I said the swings are the most dangerous.  Gheeze! 
This three day event, usually host's some semi-popular bands as it's feature act, and this weekend was Lou Grahm from Foreigner, Eddie Money, and last evening was Starship. Tami was all about seeing Starship. I was convinced before we left that the only two songs I remembered by the band was Sara and We built this city. I knew that at one time the band had been called Jefferson Airplane which in the 60's-70's was very popular and actually played at Woodstock (the original one). I knew the song White Rabbit and Don't you Want somebody to Love, but these were all Grace Slick songs, and was doubtful Starship would play them. Anyways, Jefferson Airplane became Jefferson Starship at some point over the years (I do not know why, and don't really care) and finally the Jefferson part was dropped all together and Starship was born. With that little tid-bit of information I was prepared to hear two maybe three songs I knew. I would sing, do some ceremonial concert swaying and call it a day. Deciding it would be fun none the less.
 I was SHOCKED at what an AMAZING SHOW these guys did. From start to finish I was totally engaged with the performance. They did oldies and new ones. Making their final encore song We Built this City. I think I knew every song but two that they sang, and their Grace Slick replacement was out of this world. I took tons of pics and we had great viewing with NO crowds around to get me crazy.

Here are just a few pictures that I took. We had so much fun. Tamra found a friend too. (She always seems to attract people, the women next to Tami kept insisting that she dance with her. Tami was such a good sport, she played along, but the women was clearly intoxicated, and the crew just off to the far right were OUT of control, at one point I was about to hit this bald guy who would NOT shut up. (If your not going to engage in the show, DONT stand at the front of the stage.) 
 By the end of the night, I was feeling both my age and my unhealthy out of shape body affecting me. We had danced, sung, walked, walked a little more, danced again, and stood in wet soaking muddy feet for some five hours by now. I so enjoyed the evening, but the idea of a nice warm bed sounded so appealing. On the way home I encouraged some back roads and we took the long way around although we did avoid the line of traffic I am sure that was congested in the Village of Jamesville. We really just got lucky on finding our way towards home. If my back road idea wasn't an issue, the fact that Tami had driven past our exit on the highway and took us 8 miles out of our way was. So much for skimming off a little time on our trip home. Anyways, this is what our feet looked like. Muddy YUCK and soaking wet. Guess I am glad I wore sneakers and not flip flops those people's feet were covered in mud!
 Despite the potential for rain and unsure if I would have known any of Starships songs I am so glad we went, I had such a great time. So glad I am liven it up this summer!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fair Haven Beach State Park

Yesterday despite the call for RAIN, once again, My friend Mindy and her two children and Me and my one little guy went to the BEACH! We decided on one of my favorite State Parks Fair Haven Beach State park and we were on our way.

Fair Haven is about 40 minutes north/west of Liverpool and I'm guessing about 15 miles from Oswego NY. The park is located on Lake Ontario, which is almost like going to an ocean with out the salt water. The waves are generally pretty good for a lake.  We got a little lost as I read my own directions wrong, and when we finally did arrive the overcast in the sky was a little daunting and we decided on a back up plan (Fort Ontario) just in case the rain hit us as hard as was predicted.
 It rained a little and the sun really never did come out, but we never needed our back-up plans the kids could have cared less about any rain showers or lack of sun as they enjoyed their time spent here.
Fair Haven has two beaches, a bay; featuring diving boards, paddle boats, and kayaks, several walking tails along beautiful bluffs, ponds and wildlife. Just as we entered the park a deer walked in front of the van, we drove along with a rabbit and THOUSANDS of seagulls. There is also two playgrounds, camping, long rocky piers, a boat launch, concession stand, beach house, and store.
Basically the park has just about anything you can imagine for a park of this type, and it has always been one of my favorites for that reason. I told Mindy on our way there that I had caught salamanders here when I was younger and had those little guys as pets for quite some time. On another previous trip my oldest son, spent the entire day digging a hole on the beach that was son deep, he could stand in it!

We pretty much had the beach to ourselves and it was windy, cold and wet, but the boys were off and swimming before we could even get settled in a spot to sit.
The water was reportedly 67 degrees, warm compared to what the air felt like around us "old" people (Mindy and I) wrapped in towels and gritting our teeth most of the day. Maddy enjoyed building sand castles, and cashing the waves.
 The waves were absolutely amazing too, had I been a ten year old kid all over again, I would have been just like these two who only left the water to eat lunch.
Lunch was pre-made sandwiches, chips, grapes and go-gerts (which Gavin informed me nobody eats anymore) and cheeto's that were fed to the sea-gulls!
The sea gulls were so crafty, they would actually catch the cheeto's in their mouths as the kids would throw them into the air. It was clear that Mindy was not at all entertained or thrilled that these guys were surrounding us more and more with every cheeto thrown, so I insisted that they stop. But they sure were funny.
For most of the time we were there, it only sprinkled a bit, the boys who were swimming seemed unaware, and us mommy's tolerated it so they could have fun, but when the big drops began to pelt our heads, we were beginning to think the party was over. We carried several of the beach supplies to the van, and attempted to get those boys out of the water, but they were not having it, so we walked up to the playground under the protection of tree's while her daughter played. I don't think the boys were even aware we had left or that the rain was coming down as hard as it was.
The rain ceased and the sky opened. I walked out on the shorter rocky pier, although I thought it would be fun for us to walk out along the larger one that jets well out into the lake. The waves were crashing up against the walls of the pier spraying water everywhere. I personally thought trying to dodge those would have been fun. No one else was up for the adventure, so we skipped it.
 A view from the rocky pier, far off in the center you can see the waves crashing on the longer pier!
Below is a picture of the lake from the bath house. You can see for miles, you can also get a good idea about how dark and crazy the sky was for us that day.
Finally able to get the boys out of the water, we packed up and left the beach area vowing to return on a warmer day, with sun, more sand toys and a good book. I stopped at the store and the clerk told us about the bluffs, (although we never did do the trails or see the bluff on this trip) we did drive up to them. Surrounded by camp grounds along the bluff area was this amazing playground. We just had to stop and play, plus the sun was finally peeking out of the clouds.
The kids play on this merry go round.   
Climbing on what could be called monkey bars.
Gavin swirls around on this contraption.
A new twist on the titter-totter.
All played out! We decided to call it a day. The park is absolutely beautiful, there seemed to be several areas for picnics as well, and each space offered something a little more charming. Although we did not search for salamanders or dig an incredibly deep hole, we made new memories of a day that might have been spent sitting at home wishing away the "yuck" of the rain once again. Defiantly a big win for the troops in the van that day, and all agreed a return trip is needed for more exploration and "swimming" (per the boys) if nothing else. I teased Gavin on the way home and pulled into the Stearling Historical Red school house and Museum. (It was closed so he lucked out). He hates it when we spend all day somewhere and I have to make one last stop somewhere on the way back. We explained that there surly was one room school houses once, and Mindy announced that her mother attended one as a child. The boys were not convinced, although I know Gavin has seen replica's of them elsewhere. Guess next time we will have to stop and educate them about such things. I know he will protest. Next time then. I would have like to have checked out our back-up plan, but grateful just the same we didn't have to resort to it just the same. Summer has just begun we have LOTS of opportunities to go on trips!