…the fair. No, I’m not writing an early blog about Christmas. I’m writing a reflection about a time and a place that had me more excited as a child than even the night before Christmas – the Washington Parish “free” Fair.
The night before the fair, I would do any chore asked of me, get my bath early, and get in my pajamas and off to bed as soon as possible. I wanted to go to sleep so I could get to the next day faster, but many times I couldn’t sleep because I was too excited!
As a child
When I was a little girl, I loved the fair for many reasons. First, there was no school in the whole parish the week of the fair. Next, I always had a great time singing and/or dancing on stage at the fair with my school. Also, I was so proud of my art or writings on display in the educational building, and I made every adult I knew promise to go see it. Then, of course, there was the yummy food, like the delicious burgers and fries from the Franklinton High booth (my alma mater) and the awesome entertainment from big name country music stars. Although all of these aspects of the fair were fun for me as a child, the absolute BEST part was riding the rides, and that special day when I was eight or nine-years-old, and I mustered up all of my courage to ride the zipper.
As a parent
Now, I am an adult, and the fair had lost its luster the last several years, especially since it is the weekend of my wedding anniversary. Most times in the last five years, we’d skip the fair and do something else to celebrate our marriage. However, this year was different. This year, the fair was brand new and exciting again. This year, the fair offered the opportunity to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel what I have never felt before. This year, baby Nathaniel was going to the fair for the very first time.
The first place we went when we walked under the big fair sign was straight to the Franklinton High booth to get a burger and fries (the first red meat and fried food I had eaten in a while, I might add). Obviously, baby Nathaniel couldn’t partake in this moment, but Greg and I really enjoyed our lunch. While we were eating, though, his grandpa took him for a little walk, and they found a maple tree. Baby Nathaniel pulled a leaf off the tree, and this kept him entertained and happy for a little while.
Then it was off to Old McDonald’s Farm. Being that this is baby Nathaniel’s FAVORITE song in the whole wide world right now (yes, he knows the difference. This is the only song that will stop him from crying!), I figured this would be his favorite part of the fair. I figured correctly. He was taking everything in, and he tried to grab every animal, from the horses, to the chickens, to the sheep and the cows. Baby Nathaniel and his cousins (from “the city”, aka Metairie) had a great time seeing all the animals, watching the baby pigs feed, watching the big cow get milked, and even coming very up close and personal with a very friendly cow.
The rest of the day consisted of Greg and I playing games while baby Nathaniel napped and the big cousins with grandma and grandpa riding rides on the midway. But, before we left, we visited the Mile Branch Settlement and saw cane syrup being made the old fashioned way, and even tasted a bit.
Then off we went, back home, the end of the fair…for this year. I have a feeling, though, that this year was the start of a new, old tradition.