Life is always hectic and even when it’s not, the overabundance that people assume means fun can be wearying.
Case in point the fair. The big fair for whatever area you live in. It comes once a year. The kids get excited, the parents cringe at the ever increasing cost.
What if you didn’t do everything that was expected? What if you didn’t ride all the rides and eat all the food and just enjoyed the sights and sounds and smells? I did that this last Friday.
I got up and wound my way through back streets (the main path of familiarity was closed for the parade route). I found a parking spot on the street. Read that as “free.” yes it meant walking some distance, but I need exercise anyway. TIP: When you park way away from an event and worry, you might not find your car afterward, download Runkeeper. No running required. Just open the app, start it and when you get to the main gate or entrance, turn it off and save the activity. You now have a map back to your vehicle.
I lined up to watch the Rodeo Parade. You know what’s nice about smaller parades? They are simple. Less people crowding the streets, less fluff, less overly decorated floats, and yet, you don’t feel like you’re missing out. The joy of the people participating in the parade and the joys of kids lined up on the streets all make for a fulfilling event. For parents with younger kids, the shorter parade means less sore butts and bored kiddos. The kids are still excited to wave to the firemen and the bands and the pretty females on their decorated horses. Since they don’t have to wait hours for the parade to start (if you’re not there early, you don’t get a front viewing spot) and another hour plus during the parade, they don’t get as antsy. Which makes the experience more enjoyable for the whole family.
After the parade, I meandered over to the fair entrance and entered. Now normal admission is $12.50, but during this particular day entry was free with a donation of school supplies. So not totally free, but I gave pens, pencils, markers, and notebooks to a good cause rather than just blowing money on entry fees.
You know what I spent the next few hours doing? Wandering through all the livestock barns, checking out the Hobby Hall, the fair museum, the food vendors, the games, the booths enticing people with old time photos and sand bottles and wax hands, and the rides.
I bought a lunch and enjoyed it under the shade of a huge tree. I people watched. I eavesdropped. I heard about the rides people wanted to go on: The new roller coaster, the Extreme Scream, the bungee ride that they would do if they could afford it. I heard people decide which fair food was worth spending their money on: the onion burgers, the curly fries, the roasted corn. I heard teens with adult worries, “No, I’m not walking there, we have to be at the bus by 1:00 and I don’t want to be late.” To be fair, the gal had a good hour and forty-five minutes, but I appreciate her concern for promptness. I heard little kids squeal like they’d seen a celebrity when cowboys and cowgirls trotted by on horses.
I wandered by the rides and watched people come off laughing or swearing they’d never do that again. I watched teens having fun even though they weren’t on rides, they enjoyed hanging out and taking in the experience.
In the end, I went home feeling content and happier than any other time I went to the fair with the intentions of “doing the whole shebang.” The simplicity kept the day calm and not shelling out pockets of money made me appreciate how much I enjoyed just hanging out and enjoying the sights, sounds, and experience.
What experience that could easily be over-abundant (money-wise and sanity-wise) have you simplified and how?