A Fair for All

August 8, 2008

I find that the Fair is often thought of as a “young” persons attraction – whether it’s for parents to bring their youngsters to pet some four-legged critters or teens to come and have fun with friends, trying those gravity-defying rides or college students out to hear some great music. But the Fair – our Fair – really is for everyone – toddlers, ‘tweens, couples, singles. I know an extended family of 40 who visit every year to celebrate their matriarch’s birthday. And for the older set, we have tons of things for you to do. So, you seniors out there, tie those walking shoes and follow me to the Fair. This would be the perfect day if I brought my 80-year-old Mom:

First, we’d visit the Fair on a Wednesday – Senior Day! Admission is just $6 for ages 60 and older. We’d come early so the weather would be nice. My mom loves flowers, so we’d stop at the Flower & Garden Pavilion to see the Escape to Hawaii exhibit. Of course we’d stay to see the erupting volcano! Aloooohaaaa!
Then, we would make our way to the Village on Broadway, where Tapestry and Culinary Styles are located. Mom loves to sew, knit, cook and bake so this is the hot spot for us. Tapestry has knitting and crocheting classes, even some scrapbooking and quilting ones, so we might stay for a class. Then we’d walk over to Culinary Styles and check out all the winning cookies, breads and jams. We might take a seat at the Culinary Styles Gourmet Kitchen, presented by Sparkletts, and learn how to make a new salad dressing from leading chef George Geary.
For lunch we’d stop in at Hussong’s Cantina for some great Mexican food or maybe a quick bite like a BBQ sandwich for her and a Hot Dog on a Stick for me (of course!). Lemonade would hit the spot, and then pie ala mode for dessert. Oh yeah. Peach with vanilla ice cream.
In the afternoon, if it’s Sept. 10, we’d head to Pepper Street Stage for the Senior Ballroom dance competition. This is so much fun to see whatever age you are! The contestants are some of the best senior ballroom dancers around, many of them well into their 80s. They are judged in swing, tango and waltz, to name a few. Every year this is a crowd pleaser.
Then, we’d hit the shopping scene. Mom can do a lot of her early holiday shopping here. Then a quick visit to FairView Farms to see the cute, fuzzy bunnies, back to Going Green to learn about some organic gardening she can do and then a look around the Millard Sheets Center for the Arts with its exhibit on horses. Her mother’s family owned a horse ranch, so this art display has piqued her interest.
Then, I might introduce Mom to Ila Carson.  Ila has worked for the Fair for 20 years, after retiring from the steel industry and a few other careers she held throughout her 76 years. For the past four years, Ila has been the Fair seamstress, using her amazing sewing talents to make everything from the comfy seat cushions we sat on in Culinary Styles to the cute country curtains we saw in FairView Farms to the lovely Martha Stewart-like designs we saw on some large umbrellas. This year she is also creating the décor for The Dream House, a little girl’s fantasy located in the Family Marketplace and visited daily by the legend herself, Barbie™. Ila is just one of those wonderfully creative, inspiring “artists” who help make the Fair what it is – a fun place for all.
So, I’ll see you on Senior Wednesdays, College Thursdays, Kids Free Fridays…

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