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How to survive a trip to the Washington County fair with a three-year-old

Updated on August 29, 2014

How to survive a trip to the county fair with a three-year-old

Fair season is officially upon us. It is high summer and the call of bawling sheep and carnival barkers can be heard all around the great state of New York.

Not wanting to miss out on all the fun, my son John and I decided to take my three year old granddaughter Lilium to the Washington County Fair the other day. The Washington County Fair is one of the better fairs in the area. It is one of the agriculture fairs and has a rural, down home feel to it. It is also one of the cleaner fairs I’ve been too, with trash cans abounding everywhere.

The day we went was gorgeous, with low humidity and temperatures staying in the high 70s. So we just hop in the car and go, right? Not quite. First there is the fight with my granddaughter what she should wear and what she should do with her long hair. We couldn’t agree on the shirt, so we had to compromise on wearing the shirt that went with the skirt she was going and bringing along the one she wanted to wear as a spare. In no uncertain terms was she wearing the pretty headband with the flowers on it, so we left it up.

Then there was the bag to be packed with drinks, snacks, sunglasses, sunblock and water, as well as the previously mentioned spare shirt. We also had to find space in there for anything she might win that day. So off we went.

Lilium was so excited when we finally got there. She kept saying she was so happy to be there at the fair and she was a big girl now and would not be afraid of the rides. She also talked about all the animals she was going to see that day. For some reason she really loves chickens, so first thing we did was to set off for the livestock tents.

We saw cows, sheep, pigs, horses, miniature horses, bunnies, chickens, even reindeer. Her favorites though were the baby chickens and ducks. There is a show on TV she loves called Wonder Pets and one of the characters is a baby duck named Ming Ming, so she kept calling all the ducklings Ming Ming.

The highlight of the day was my son John getting sprayed with cow poop when he walked too close to a cow. They don’t call it an agriculture fair for nothing!

So after a break to clean off my son, who really only got his shirt soiled, and some lunch, we headed off to the rides.

The rides turned out to be every child’s fantasy of abundance. Everywhere we looked there was a ride. The kiddie rides pretty much all went and a circle, with only slight variations. One ride would have fire trucks, another would be boats and still another would be jeep off-road vehicles. That day also featured unlimited rides for only $20.

You can imagine what my granddaughter’s sheer joy. She didn’t know where to start. She finally settled on the dinosaur ride and off she went. We spent the next hour and a half riding everything she was allowed to. In between she played a couple of fishing games because she loves to fish in real life. She won a stuffed puppy that as a Dalmatian that she promptly had to take on every ride with her.

The one drawback was the kiddie roller coaster. No adults were allowed on the ride, so my son and I had to watch from the sideline. After the first trip around, we could hear high-pitched screams coming from Lilium that didn’t stop, even when the ride was over. When we finally got her off the ride, she was still sobbing with a hitched breath. “That was a bad ride,” she kept saying over and over again. Needless to say, we won’t be trying that ride again anytime soon.

Eventually, all good things come to an end, and that came sooner than expected when my son was going to take her on one of those spinning rides. This one had a twist, in that riders got into one of several giant bears, which all spun around on their own. Lily decided she wanted the blue bear, but that one was already taken, so she threw a fit and John took her off the ride.

But it didn’t end there. Deciding she was hot and thirsty, I innocently ordered a large lemonade to share with my granddaughter. Little did I know that she considered that to be HER lemonade and she had NO intention of sharing it, whatsoever. When I took a sip, she had the mother of all meltdowns. She threw herself down on the picnic table we were sitting at and started sobbing hysterically.

When my son got back from his hunt for a milkshake, he sat at the other side of the picnic table and she took her lemonade with her to his side of the table and said “You’re a bad girl nanny!”

So we slowly worked our way back to the car, seeing what we could on the way out. She was definitely done for the day, but she managed to perk up when we stopped at an ice cream stand on the way home.

So after a long day of fun, we wound our way home and I found myself remembering with fondness my fair excursions with my sons when they were little, and appreciating taking my granddaughter to this fair. I can hardly wait to take her again!


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