Are There Animals at the Fair?

On Wednesday the sun was shining and the day was warm. With tickets in our hands and lunches packed, we set off for the fair.

Two days of school was enough for us.

red shirts for everyone!

Rachel, Daniel, Sarah, Emma, Eli, and David, our wild and crazy crew.

Homeschooling in Washington is pretty straightforward. Each year, you have to register a ‘Declaration of Intent’ with the school district wherever you live, and you have to test your children with one of the national standardized tests, like the Iowa or the CAT-5 once they turn eight. Since some people (we won’t mention names) forget to register, our district gives free passes to the Puyallup Fair for each child, and one ‘educator’ pass, when you file your ‘Declaration of Intent’. No doubt, they figure, homeschoolers will benefit from the many and varied educational exhibits, showcasing the area’s finest animal and horticultural offerings.

The truth is, homeschooling is very demanding. There’s only so much you can accomplish in one week. With testing on Thursday, the fair on Wednesday, and co-op on Friday, we had a somewhat abbreviated first week of school.

It’s been raining since Wednesday, so I can’t be too sorry that we spent the afternoon outside, enjoying the day. Fall in Washington features many clear and crisp days, but the weather can also be cool and rainy. When we first moved to the beautiful northwest, my parents came for a visit.

In November.

It rained the entire time they were here. Literally. It never let up. They didn’t believe we had one mountain much less a whole range of them.

But I digress. It’s obviously been a while since I blogged; I’ve forgotten how to compose my thoughts into a cohesive paragraph. Perhaps I should spend a little more time homeschooling and a little less time at the fair.

Being the evil budget-minded parent that I am, I ruthlessly charged the children for their ride passes. For $25 they could purchase a “Dizzy Pass” that allowed free reign of the fair (except for one of two of the pricier activities) and $3 of game tokens to squander. We arrived at the fair around 11:45 am and visited as many rides as we could before rushing home at 5:30 pm for church.

sarah rides her bike

Sarah had an absolute blast in Sillyville.

Joshua had plans to go to the fair the following day, so he did not grace us with his company.

“Josh,” I wheedled, “you could come to the fair with us and still go on Thursday.”

“Why?” he asked suspiciously.

“Um, to help me watch the little kids.”

At the fair last year we discovered that Joshua doesn’t really have a taste for any ride involving actual motion, especially the Ferris Wheel. He spent most of the day exploring and waving from the ground while the rest of us rode roller coasters and horrible spinning attractions.

“So basically you want me to come and be a Fair Baby Sitter?”

“Is that a trick question?” I couldn’t believe the prospect of standing in lines (for attractions he wouldn’t ride) with his brothers and sisters didn’t appeal.

norway punk

These teenagers are so cynical.

“Joshua,” Rachel jumped on the idea, “you definitely need to come with us. That way Mom can hang out with the little kids and you can go with me to all the exciting rides.”

“So, let me get this straight. I won’t go on any of the rides, I’ll just be there to watch you?”

Rachel was undaunted by his logic and acerbic tone. “You can go on the rides if you want to.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Then you could just come and be with me.”

“But I don’t want to.” Joshua’s waves of resistance crashed uselessly on the Gibraltar-like rock of Rachel’s hopeful self-interest.

“But you could.”

This conversation went on for some time until Joshua finally wandered off to do some school. He’s the only one of the bunch who’s actually concerned about this whole homeschooling thing, possibly because he’s the only one who has actually read the schedule for the year. Rachel and I admitted defeat and started packing lunches.

When we came home late that night, David rushed to tell Joshua all about his time at the fair.

born to ride

This was one of the gentler rides of the day.

“And I rode the Wild Cat and the Big Slide and the Swings of Death and I wasn’t scared at all!”

“Cool,” Joshua remarked admiringly, “did you see any animals?”

“There are animals at the fair?” David looked puzzled.

Joshua pushed his brother down on the couch in disgust (an appropriate response in such a situation I guess) and looked at me sadly.

“Mom, you didn’t go and visit any animals the entire day?”

“Animals? There were some spinning bears in the kiddie section.”

“No, I mean the live animals. The rodeo, draft horses, stuff like that.”

At my blank look, he continued. “Weren’t they featuring Animals of the World and a Piglet Palace this year? I bet the little kids would have loved to have seen the Wild Monkey Show.”

“Joshua,” I mumbled, “let’s keep this whole ‘fair animal thing’ to ourselves. Okay? We don’t want to spoil things for David and Sarah.”

I just hope the school district doesn’t call and demand we refund the price of the ‘educator’ ticket.


Share or follow

Related posts:

10 thoughts on “Are There Animals at the Fair?”

  1. You’ve had rain? Inconceivable! We’ve had no such thing further over to the coast here. It will come soon enough, maybe tomorrow. :)

  2. Joshua’s “acerbic” tone – good one, Kathy. See, you have been learning in school. But I must say I agree with Joshua’s chagrin that you didn’t go see all the animals. A fair without animals is merely a crass, shallow, money-sucking carnival. Maybe next year you can make the children EARN rides by seeing all the animals and later doing a report on their favorite!

  3. I had to laugh at poor David’s response to the animals question by Joshua! The animals is the best section of the fair!!!!!! and the biggest pumpkin, squash, etc.. Did you really miss the animals?????

    I remember when I was in school out there, the school gave each student a free ticket to the fair…those were the days….

  4. Shame on you, Kathy….no animals!? I’m with Joshua on this one. I do not enjoy rides and we do not do the rides at the fair. If the kids want to do the whole ride thing, they have to wait until they are older and go with the church youth group to our local Six Flags park! :-p

    Maybe next year you can see the animals.

  5. I’m here to defend the honor of my friend…….there just wasn’t TIME to see the animals this year. Last year, we enjoyed the FULL extent of the fair – from opening to closing, rides to animals, craft exhibits to the petting zoo – we did it all.

    This year we were on a mission – get there, get the dizzy pass bracelets and get our money’s worth in the short 5 hours that we had to spend there! The kids weren’t sad that they got to go on any ride that they wanted to. Well, except the Indiana Jones one that Eli REALLY wanted to go on but because of his flip-flopped feet, was not allowed entrance. (What kind of a mother sends her children to the fair with flip flops on anyway?) Or the ones that Sarah wasn’t allowed to go on because of height restrictions, come to think of it. We had time constraints, as well. AWANA’s first meeting back was that evening and we needed to leave by 5pm. So, in order to accomplish our mission – get every penny out of those bracelets – something had to give. Seen one chicken – you’ve seen ‘em all, right?-!

    We were just thankful that you were able to come with us at all – what with having just come back from vacation and all. So, THANK YOU – sweet Edgrens – for joining us for a another memorable year at the fair!

    Note to self (& Kathy)…….next year, dads attendance will be required! :)

  6. LOL about the oldest going off to do his school work. Our oldest was that way as well. We would want to rush to town to do something “fun” and she would insist on staying to do school because she was “going to graduate no matter what.”

Comments are closed.