Three years ago Dustin, Henry and I trekked to the San Diego County Fair on Father’s Day. It was a pretty ambitious trip for us as parents of a baby, less than a year old. It was absolutely the most magical, perfect day trip we could have ever hoped for and actually avoided the Fair for the last few years simply because we knew a day like that would not come often.
This year was the year we would come back to the Fair. To be honest, it really was not that crowded and the day was really fun.
Last time we went, Dustin and Henry participated in the Father/Child look-a-like contest. We thought they would be shoe-ins considering Dustin had purchased Henry some baby Stephen Janoskis to match his own. Unfortunately Dustin had long curly hair and baby Henry only had straight hair at the time.
This year, we fully committed to going. The night before, we spent some time at Parkway Plaza to find the perfect matching outfits. We started off in H&M & I found Harvey some khakis that matched a pair that Henry had, and Dustin had. Great! Next I found some light blue slip-on shoes for the boys that matched a pair of blue Vans that Dustin’s brother Tyler gifted him last year. Awesome! Now shirts was hard to choose. We could have done plain shirts but we needed something special. Dustin found a great tropical print one, but for some reason H&M did not have anything in the little boys section that remotely matched. Next Dustin found two Rolling Stones tees for the boys that were great. I had a feeling that we would have a hard time finding him a matching band tee in H&M and my gut was right. We traversed back and forth between 4 different shops until Dustin settled on a black Rolling Stones shirt from Hot Topic. Then when we were walking by Forever 21 I was drawn in like a moth to a flame. If any store was going to have a Rolling Stones shirt, this place would. After walking right up to an associate who helpfully directed us to a band-tee/screen printed tee section we hit the mother load! There was at least five different prints of Rolling Stones lip and tongue tees available for the choosing, including the white one we needed for Dustin to match the boys. There was even a cute multicultural crop top version for me to enjoy and match.
When we got home I went straight away to cutting Henry & and Harvey’s hair to match Dustin. I was low-key devastated to cut all his beautiful curls after finally having them come back from his last cut, but I knew it meant a lot for Dustin to win the competition. Harvey’s hair was surprisingly not hard to cut, considering he was such a wiggly baby. I only really cleaned up around his ears.
We got in fairly quickly through the O’Brien Gates and got our Passport to Savings. Next to that kiosk I noticed another kiosk that offered wristbands for parents to write their phone numbers on. These bands were cool because the number goes on the inside of the band and around your children’s wrists. In the event that your child gets separated from you, A Fair worker can call you to help you find your child. So useful and I highly recommend it!
The contest was held at the Paddock Stage and the boys were number 6. Unfortunately they were not winners. The contest was not just look a-like, but also strike a pose. Dustin literally heard the guy in front of them saying, “What are we going to do? I don’t know what to do?!” and clearly heard Dustin telling Henry to do an exploding handshake. Them going before Dustin & Henry, in combination of Henry not quite used to being in the spotlight & earned that other dad 3rd place. The man with the ribbons ran out of participation ribbons, and gave us first place ribbons anyway after all the other contestants got their ribbons but we still wanted to win fair and square darn it! So we walked over to the other contest area and awaited the Father/child look a like contest. During that time they were having other contests and one that caught my eye was the hula hoop contest.
When Nanong took me to the fair when I was a small child, I entered into a hula hoop contest and promptly lost. She vowed to buy me a hula hoop so I could practice and win first place. I practiced all the time but never entered a competition until today. During the last call for participants 16+ I decided last minute to enter. I don’t think I have hula hooped in years to be honest. Also, the challenges they had were so much more different that what I remembered. They had us hop, hop three times, hop on one foot etc. I don’t know how many participants there where, but surprisingly it came down to me and another lady. When it came time for us to battle it out and knock our hoops together I got scared and panicked. Heart racing, afraid to be attacked, I threw my hat at her and in the process my hoop fell. I’m not proud I cheated, but at the same time, I was amazing that she still hula hooped at least 5 or 6 rounds with my hat stuck to her hoop! Laughter, shock and awe erupted from the crowd because of my stunt and the hosts almost gave me a participation ribbon for throwing my hat at the other girl, but I did get a second place ribbon for my crazy antics. I don’t think Nanong would have been proud of me throwing my hat, she probably would have said, “I did not teach you to do that!” but it means a lot to me that I at least had the courage to participate again.
After that competition was the boys competition. Honestly, Henry was literally all over the place, running back and forth across the stage and the family only got participation ribbons again. I guess next time we go we’ll have to do the outfits, haircuts and plan some choreography to be real contenders.
One other event that was special to my childhood was winning a goldfish. When it came time to play, our game attendant did not look hopeful or enthused that we wanted to play. She even gave us half price ($5) for a basket of balls to throw in the colored cups. Dustin got a basket of balls and we got to throwing. I didn’t ask how to play the game so I wasted about a third of the basket just trying to make it at any cup. Turns out you have to make it into the elevated colored water cup. Dustin started throwing with me and quickly got a ball in the center cup! Our game attendant jaw hung open and I think she was more surprised than we were. We had the choice of either a real fish or stuffed animal one and after looking at the fish in the containers, I chose a stuffed one so Henry and Harvey could enjoy it for years to come. Honestly, I don’t think I am actually ready to have another mouth to feed at the moment.
Dustin got to use some of his ride tickets on a mirror house and carousel with Henry and G Force by himself. Henry and I were going to go on the sky gondola but Henry was too little so I took him on the Bouncing Buggies. He had a look of fear on his face when it actually started going, that ride is really crazy for a small child, but he did not cry so I am happy. There was also a free train ride that Henry and I took when Dustin watched Harvey take a nap in the stroller.
Overall I really enjoyed the experience and am super happy we made the day happen for our family.