Lights, Camera, Fair! {Our Thrilling Family Fair Experience}

fairsoco{Disclaimer: I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to provide this experiential review, courtesy of the Sonoma County Fair}

It’s Fair time, again! The ever steady reminder that summer is nearing an end, the 2016 Sonoma County Fair is here, running until August 7th. From pig races to rides, food and concerts, there is something to be enjoyed by everyone, of any age. An area for tots, a parent rest station, kiddy carnival, the Helm and Sons Classic American Carnival rides, Mexican Village, the Flower Show, the petting zoo, the midway carnival games, several entertainment stages, and so. much. more!!!

The first moment walking up to meet our friends at the side gate (labelled Main Entrance) across from lot B made me feel like a kid. Giddy with excitement. Skipping hand-in-hand with my oldest son, I was enveloped by the smells and sounds…

Screams of thrill, terror, excitement, pure joy…

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People of all ages smiling and coasting through, section to section, taking it all in. Some with giant corn dogs ($8 gets you a corn dog fit for a king), others with parmesan coated corn-on-the-cob, kids with dripping ice cream cones and melting sno-cones in rainbow color. Others with giant inflatable hammers or characters, light sabers, huge stuffed animals. My favorite was seeing all the children carefully toting along their winnings- goldfish in little tanks, concerned, delicately placing them with waiting parents as they hopped on the bumper cars, Big Splash, Frog Hopper or Happy Swing. That brought back some memories.

The kids (all aged five to six) insisted on going into the Zombie Haunted House. Naturally, I made my husband chaperone; two of the kids came out smiling and the other (my son) burst through the exit with bright red cheeks, wide eyes and crazy hair, jaw dropped wide open. When his eyes met mine, his face turned quickly to a huge grin of relief. “Do you want to go again?” I asked. “Nah…. Lets go to the house of mirrors!!!” And off they went, us chasing after, through the crowd.

So. Much. Food.bananadessert

Ohhhh, the food. Reason #2 I love the fair (#1 is because my kids have fun). Chicken strips, bricks of garlic curly fries, pizza slices the size of a beach ball, frozen chocolate dipped bananas and cheesecake, cotton candy…. That made up our dinner. Of course, we let the kids splurge. Portion sizes are as big as the fair itself, humongous!

After the quickest dinner break we could finagle out of the kids, we went to the “bubbles” (the kid’s term). There are these giant bubble balls you climb inside of as they inflate it, and then push you off to float and tumble around a pool with other children, teens and adults, hopping and crawling around a hamster wheel-looking floating ball. The kids love this part, every year. It is hard to end it after three $8 each child sessions.asher fair 2

We managed to bribe them with a last stop at the Kiddy Carnival. Playing at the stage next to the kid areas was Ozomatli, a band my husband happens to know and love. They are amazing,and listening to them as our soundtrack for the last round through the kid’s rides gave us grown-ups a helpful burst of energy. Head bobbing and feet shuffling, the crowd packed the stage area and parents meandering through the rides with kids had a new beat in their step.

The Flower Show

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Water pouring and cascading here and there, and the scent of fresh flowers and foliage was intoxicating. The Hall of Flowers has been transformed into vignettes of famous movies, filmed in Sonoma County, from Walk in the Clouds to American Graffiti. The Goonies were our family favorite. You can vote for yours on your way out.

The Butterflies

butterflies

Last but not least, we made it to the Butterfly Adventures exhibit. After a quick tutorial from a super sweet and knowledgeable staff member, we traveled through the curtains, q-tips in hand. So many beautiful butterflies, landing on plants and the ground (watch your step!) and you! We had them in our hair, our arms, our clothes, the q-tips. One huge Monarch landed on my dress the moment we walked in, and only left as we decided it was time to exit.

The Fair: Nostalgic Fun for the Whole Family

Reluctant but exhausted, we made our way past the flashing and spinning lights, through the lines of food vendors and goodies… Taking one last big, nostalgic smell, and off we went. Back to our car, headed home, where we all got the best nights sleep we have had in probably a full year. Already making plans for how we will approach and enjoy the fair, next year. If you haven’t yet found the time to go, get there. It is worth every ounce of sweat (when we went Tuesday, it was 100 degrees)  and worth every penny. From babies to grandparents, there is truly something to be enjoyed, and devoured, by everyone. A big thank you to the Sonoma County Fair, and the Sonoma County Moms Blog team for the opportunity to share this experience with my family and with all of you.

{DISCLOSURE: While I was compensated for this post, all opinions are my own.}

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