The NC State Fair …

-the smells of sweet candy apples and cotton candy, savory sausages with onions and peppers, deep-fried funnel cakes and elephant ears, freshly squeezed lemonade, the not-so-pleasant smells of cows, horses, goats, chickens, diesel fumes from the tractor pull

-the sights of children toting stuffed animals and inflatables bigger than they are, teenagers holding hands, parents being dragged from ride to ride to game to food vendors, all of the art/hobby/craft exhibits, the flashing lights on the ferris wheels and miniature roller coasters, animals on display

-the tastes of roasted corn, turkey legs, mini donuts, ice cream, pepperoni pizza, hot dogs, soft pretzels, fried Oreos — this list could go on forever!

-the sounds of laughter, screams of terror, shrieks of joy, calls of the midway vendors, roaring engines, oinking of pigs, music from dozens of rides, irritable cries of tired tots

-the feel of warm sunshine, crisp autumn breezes, plush toys cradled in arms, pushing of the crowds, the body of our loved one pressed against us

The fair creates such a sensory overload for me — and brings back so many memories.  I still cherish as a teenager being given free rein to go and do as I pleased with my friends. The hormones and adrenaline were a dangerous combination!! Now, I get to watch my children absorb the fair atmosphere. I can even use our visits to the fair as a “growing stick” — a way to measure their growth from year to year.  I was proud to see David and Hunter accept the challenge of the BIG rides this year and yet I felt a sadness knowing that in just a few short years they would no longer want to share this experience with me and their Dad, but rather be surrounded by their friends or dare I say, girlfriends!!!  Their mastery of Pharoah’s Fury and the Enterprise meant much more than just growing taller or braver!  And although Luke is the youngest, he is the most fearless and will never let his bigger brothers outdo him — with rides or life, so my time enjoying these moments with him is short as well!

As much as I treasured our fair visit with the boys, I was also secretly wishing that Wayne and I could sneak away one night to wander the midway hand in hand and hold each other tight on the fast and furious rides.  sigh …. I guess that will be the silver lining in the future!!   Cotton candy, anyone??