The title refers to a ride in Kiddieland which is actually called "Quadzilla." I have no idea why. It's a poky sort of car on a track, but Jarrah and Joy really wanted to go on it. "Looks like Boringzilla to me," said Paul. Uncannily, Mary said the same thing about two minutes later, not having heard him (you think they've been married a long time?) But Jarrah said "It's not Boringzilla, it's FUNZILLA!" Thus was our annual pilgrimage to the San Diego Fair.
Yesterday was a double celebration--the return of the three-week fried-food and Ferris wheel extravaganza to Del Mar, and the anniversary of Mary's birth--Happy Birthday, Mary! She was an awfully good sport to celebrate with about eight million people and a whole lotta livestock.
We've made something of a tradition out of visiting the fair with Mary, Paul and Joy the past few years, and each year some things are joyously the same. The barbecue and hay-scented air, the roar of the monster trucks, the hot gooey-ness of cinnamon roll icing on my fingers, the visual-auditory feast of blinking colored lights over the crunching mechanical roar of rides rushing overhead, sights and sounds all the more poignant for seeming so solid and permanent when they will actually vanish in mere days. The dust between my flip-flopped toes and the thump of '80s tunes make me feel 15 again, knowing it's going to be summer forever and Jennifer's mom isn't picking us up until midnight. (No Jennifer in particular--there were a lot of them in those days.)
Now, of course, it's much different--we spend all our money on the 5-year-olds (really, I'm not bitter) and this year we added a new twist which I have a feeling is here to stay: adolescent-like whining in the vein of "I don't WANT to pet cows; I don't WANT to see quilts; I WANT to go on rides NOW!!!" Whither my excitable toddler who thought every sensory morsel of the fair was fab? She's grown weary and jaded, her ennui only sated by the adrenaline rush of flying through the air with a stomach full of fried food.
One fabulous new addition (it's always been there, but it was our first time on it) was an aerial tram ride from the agriculture buildings to the heart of the junior midway, a luxuriously foot-regenerating slow glide above the people and lights with a view of the many stuffed animals children (I assume?) have dropped onto the roofs below. "Someone needs to climb up and get those right away!" Jarrah panicked. "Or their owners are going to miss them forever and ever!"
I also adored commandeering David's fancy new camera for an intensive floribunda photo shoot--I spent a blissful half-hour devising new angles for the competitive roses and dahlias while the rest of the gang learned how easy it would be to have a new hot tub installed on their property, no money down.
I started feeling a bit unsettled in the tum long before I could contemplate some of the much-hyped new foods on offer. The focus-puller this year is Deep-Fried Butter, which I really wanted to see, and--I'll admit--taste a teeny bit. They were also deep-frying Twinkies, Pop Tarts, Klondike bars, S'mores, and a sandwich that is still sounding pretty good after the two years since its introduction: Deep-Fried Chicken with a Krispy Kreme bun. I haven't braved it yet, but don't give up on me. Weirdly, the most delicious thing I ate was the fire-grilled corn on the cob, perfectly crisp and sweet with a smattering of hot pepper and lemon. (The horror--I tossed my side of butter in the trash, unused!)
In the end, the girls got their wish to skip the collections and the bunnies, but we still got to commune with goats and study the gorgeous themed photos in the contest halls--really inspiring, and even the little ones could appreciate the scary cuteness of the puppies and kittens in the mix. I want to say it was a warm, whispery night like San Diego summers are known for, but it was actually chilly and damp and my hair rose higher and higher with each passing hour.
But it was certainly cozy in our happy little fair-going group, and as always, I am looking forward to next year.