Monday, September 3, 2012

State Fair Fun!


This weekend some of us sisters serving in Nebraska gathered for fun at the State Fair! A weekend of prayer and play to rejuvenate our hearts and souls.  Saturday was spent cooking and catching up on all we've been doing since we returned to our missions (our parish and school work).  That evening we attended Mass at Sister's parish where she helps out with caring for others.  A big surprise for me was a familiar face!  One of my students who just graduated was at Mass with us!  He peeked over at me as I was peeking over at him...both of us unsure if we were recognizing the right person since neither knew the other should be there.  After Mass he came over to greet me with a big smile and hug.  It was fun to catch up with him at the start of his new college the by...he was getting ready to show his hogs at the fair the next day. 
I loved seeing all the folk wandering up and down the streets of the fairgrounds.  Here we were watching the folk's check out a hay bale designed to look like snoopy flying one of his doghouses!  There were families with baby strollers, teens sporting their school-4H-FFA affiliations, young couples, and those who had seen many more fairs.  It was fun to watch them go by...

Important to all state fairs is the fried food on a stick! We tried fried Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies, HoHos, MilkyWays, Chocolate covered Bacon, Corndogs, and the winner...Fried Peaches!  They tasted like fresh peach cobbler with a little cinnamon and sugar sprinkled over the top.  The peaches were sweet and juicy and all warm with a crunchy batter covering.  Hmmm...luckily we were all willing to share.  Between the giggles, we swapped bites of the sweet and the savory. 

 The fair had a marvelous exhibit with huge sand sculptures about the state.  This one shows a variety of the states fish, bird, flower and rock formations.  It was amazing to see these grand sized sand castles tower over the families and lookie-loos.  It was also amazing because they seemed to hold up against the wind and heat of the wide-open fair grounds.

While strolling through the quilt exhibit, we were amazing at this Triptych of panels telling the story of Christ's love for us in blocks and thread.  Each of the panels had a Bible verse stitched in to tell the message of the fabric.  The first began with "Come to me..." then the next was "I am with you always"...and finally "It is finished."  We paused quite awhile to ponder the images and what they could mean. 

 Sea lions and Tigers were the exotic animals of choice for the fair!  We tried to get to the sea lion show, but it was all the way across the fair and one of our sisters got overheated and needed a cool break.  So we trekked back through the 100 degree heat to a fan cooled exhibit hall and listed to some fiddle and folk music while sipping our cool sodas and lemonades.  Later, we did get to the Tiger experience with many other families.  The tigers were a bit slow and grumpy, but the tamers shared that they like to sleep through the heat of the day or cool out in pools of water.  Still, they thrilled the little kids and intrigued the grown ups.  We sisters decided we agreed with the tigers, hot days like our fair day were designed for laying low in the shade or cooling off in a relaxing pool with friends.

As we left the fair for our little convent home, the lights and squeals of delight from the midway carried all throughout the fairgrounds.  We had been all over the grounds by this time and were too weary to check out the goings-on but it was a beautiful reminder of fun and life and joy of the young and old we had been seeing all day long.  I had to take a quick picture as we made our way to the shuttle-bus, a picture of how I remember fairs when I was little, a picture of how the rural fairs still celebrate today. 


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