Thursday, August 29, 2013

NY State Fair 2013 Part I

Yesterday, my son and his friend Ryan and I made our way to the NY State fair. We took the bus in as Mark was to meet us there after his work shift, so I gave him the parking pass.

 Before I begin to type about how wonderful the NY State fair was yesterday, let me get all of the things that were NOT great out first as to avoid any bitterness in the many more things that were great about the day I had yesterday.

First: it became unbearably HOT! Not the sun is shining down on you, how nice HOT, but the sweat is burning your eyes out just standing HOT! The humidity was unavoidable and made just about everything uncomfortable. Add a few thousand people and it was awful.

Second: And this was totally my fault. I spent WAY to MUCH money. A dollar here, a few there, just one more $2-soda and a $9- cold burger and fries, and I was out over $100+ bucks. (I actually do not want to know how much over the $100- I spent, but I was NOT planning on blowing the budget yesterday on CRAP and somehow I did. I know for a fact that you can have an enjoyable time at the fair and NOT spend so much money. I think the heat, and the fact that I had two very rambunctious boys board out of their minds as I tended to the Vera House booth took away all RATIONAL thinking and I was giving out $10-s and $20-s like nobody's business.

Third: I didn't get to do or see as much as I would have liked or taken as many pictures. (I did get several pictures, just the same) Not such a bad thing, we did get pretty busy in the 7+ hours we were there, I just would have liked to do and see more things. More pictures would have occurred if I had the opportunity to SLOW down and I wasn't so irritated by the heat and the money I was spending.

 I have decided next year, if I do volunteer, I will do it SOLO and enjoy the fair SOLO before and after so I can check out the things I might like to do. Then take a day just for the family with a budget in mind and do the things THEY want to do. I do not particularly enjoy the games or the rides. That is however my son's favorites (although he insisted on the milk bar at least four times).   OKAY...Now that that is done, let me tell you about the enjoyable day.

We took the bus in which I actually prefer over driving in and finding parking. The bus pick up is located at my church and the church offers bottled water. lost kid tags, maps, and a snack as you wait for the bus to take you to the fair. (FREEBEE's and NO parking issues). The bus takes you right to the main gate, so there is no walking from the parking lots! (There have been a few times when returning home has been a nightmare, because there are so many people trying to get back at the same time. We have had to wait for a second bus to arrive on a few occasions).  Otherwise, it is my recommendation and first choice.

Once at the gate, we got right in with plans to hit the buildings before the crowds start making their way in to these popular attractions. I had my FREE admission ticket for volunteering, and the boys were FREE. (12 and under is FREE). To the right is the Science and Industry Building. (which like many of the buildings has changed it's name over time.) It was for the longest the Niagara Mohawk Building and housed everything and anything about electricity! This year it housed some  Jacuzzi company and several of the local non for profit agencies; IE Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare (where I was stationed last year when I volunteered) and Breast Cancer Awareness, The NY State Nursing Association, and several other medically based business's. We said hello to the SIX...yes SIX SBH employee's who were manning the SBH booth that morning, and got our squeeze ball brains. Then strolled around looking for other FREEBEE's in the area. The boys signed a petition against bullying and they collected rubber bracelets.
Also included in the Science and Industry building is the Fire Awareness. There is a permanent puppet stage and mock house that you can walk through and identify all of the fire hazards. This display has been there since I was younger then the boys in the above picture. If I recall the fashion/décor and the scenes have not changed over the years. We skipped by this attraction to get an early jump on the Milk Bar line in the Dairy building.

The Dairy building has always been one of my personal favorites, and who can resist ice cold chocolate milk for only a quarter?

Gavin was double fisted!
On this Fair visit we only got the milk, but they have fudge, ice cream, cheese and other yummies too. They also host the annual butter sculpture. These things are great and another must see for my fair trips each year.

This whole thing is made 100% of butter! I wonder what they do with it when the showing is over?
Exiting the Dairy building we entered into the NY State SUNY college tent. We played a few games, got some college info and I even got an Oswego Alumni sticker and added a dot to the NY State map. The boys got balloons and immediately took turns inhaling the helium so they could talk with chipmunk voices. BOYS REALLY! 
Next we make our way over to the Center of Progress Building. This building is an interesting and odd mix of products you might likely see on some infomercial at 2am, booths including controversial issues like the pro-lifers, the anti abortionists, the gay/lesbian/transgender rights, political debates, and things like the NY State government offices. Smack dab in the center was the sand sculpture (which I swear has always been in the horticulture building).    
The Sand sculpture is another one of my favorites, and each year there is one made during the duration of the fair. A few years ago was a Beatles theme, some have been pastures, one year was dedicated in the memory of 9/11. This year seemed to be symbolic of the fair itself.

The boys enjoyed playing a game of FRAUD...where they had to answer questions about FRAUDING the department of Public Assistance and both won plastic water cups. Then we all looked up our family name in this big book of names to get a glimpse of the Beale family crest.
Next on the agenda is the must have no matter what.... fried dough. I can do without it, but the Pizza Fritte is a Gavin must have only second to the chocolate milk.
For $12- we had enough dough to last us the day and more for a late night snack that evening.
It was good and MESSY!!!
We were feeling the heat about then, and took a detour to the NY State Lottery building and all obtained FREE hand fans. I also signed up for some emails etc, and got a FREE tote bag.
After filling up on dough, we headed to the petting zoo for a little animal time.


We all enjoyed the animals, and noticed it was just about time for the circus to start. It was also about that time that the heat was starting to get to me. Of course the last place anyone who is HOT should go is under an enclosed tent with no ventilation, hot lights in your face, stuffed next to people on crowded uncomfortable benches, but we endured at least long enough to see some jugglers, the ceiling dancers (I don't know what else to call them), a few clown acts, and the dog tricks.

Grateful to be out of the tent with a little air, we wondered back towards the Court yard as it was getting close to my Vera House volunteer shift.
We took a quick trip through the DEC (Department of Environmental C (something). where we all said hi to Smokey the bear. I enjoy this building and the stroll through the garden that houses an actual lean-to, that you might find in the Adirondack forest. I have always wanted to do more hiking, and this area always has a long list of things to do in the woods. Next year I will have to take a little time and do some investigating. Mary has wanted me to join her on the mountain climbs as well as the Kayaking. Maybe by next year I can will be more body prepared for such things.
Only you can prevent forest fires.  
As we exited the cabin, we stopped momentarily at the hypnotist show. We didn't stay long enough to get an awareness of how this was being done, (I can only imagine. I participated in something like this in college..I'd rather forget). Gavin was convinced it was fake, I tried to explain only you can allow yourself to be hypnotized and offered the power of suggestion. He was not convinced. Continuing to work our way towards the court yard, we briefly checked in on the NY State Police building. They generally have several shows during the day and there was a demo on  Police Divers. I never had seen that show, but the boys were not to interested so we kept moving. A quick walk through the State Park area, another area I enjoy and would have liked to spend more time wandering through. Stopping only for a quick glance at the several booths representing several of NY state's parks, we ended at the Erie Canal area where the boys were offered an opportunity to learn about the canal system. The both announced their fourth grade field trip to The Erie canal and that they were both well versed in Canal lingo.
I grabbed a few papers on the canal system, perhaps we can all take a few walks along the canal someday.
Look at how much SNOW Syracuse gets in comparison to the surrounding areas.
We said hello to the Syracuse DARE team, and the boys were in awe about the wii game system in the rear of the DARE car. No boys I don't think the car comes with that.

It was getting really close to 1pm and Vera House shift. I  quickly signed up for info on the Chevy vehicle to get a FREE t-shirt. (I have a 3 year old car and have no intent on getting a new one, but FREE is FREE). And the boys spent all of my quarters, plus they broke $1- on those feet vibrating seats.
Best ride in town? Maybe?
Then I was off to my Vera House post for the next three hours. See tomorrow's post for the second half of the day. I will be skipping Flashback Friday to do this.