Sunday, August 21, 2016

changing the routine.....

Traditions are important to me.  Predictability even more so. 
Combine those two together and you've got a bona fide  "stick-in-the-mud" on your hands.

Since we now live in Iowa, we of course have to have a predictable tradition to go along with our adoptive home state.  

And "Nothing Compares" to the tradition of the Iowa State Fair.

For the past four years we have had our comfortable, traditional process of attending the fair.  As I am also an social introvert who usually avoids anything with crowds of more than three people, we typically head to the fair early on opening day instead of the weekends.  We go to the same buildings and exhibits, eat the same food and walk the same route through the grounds....we even use the same entrance/exit gate every year. 

This year things went a bit haywire.

I forgot to ask for a day off on Opening Day.
The family calendar was packed for the entire remaining days of the fair.  The only day left open on my schedule was Sunday, Aug. 20th.

Also known as the last day of the 2016 Iowa State Fair.

Which is also known as half-price day.  And Free Concert night. And it was the best weather we've had in the last three months.

Which mean everyone and their cousin was going to be swapping oxygen molecules with the equivalent population of a small European country.

But I couldn't not go.  It's the Sate Fair.  In a state known for being nice, it's the one time a year I can think of when Iowans get just a bit competitive with each other.  Quilting, canning, photography, baking, agriculture, animal breeding, horsemanship, 4-H and FFA everything, and the world famous Butter Cow are all not to be missed.

So we broke tradition and headed to the other side of the county to join thousands of our closest friends and neighbors for the afternoon. 
Considering the fact that  we were already breaking with tradition with our attendance day, this stick-in-the-mud went hog wild and suggested a few more changes for the day.

We went in a different entrance.  Gasp.  Then....we went to the top of the hill instead of starting at the bottom.....double gasp!

We toured the State Fair museum....and liked it.

We went to Pioneer Hall and saw all the antiques....and...found this new treasure...


Then we did a few more traditional stops on the hill since I am never one to pass up a free egg-on-a-stick and a quick glimpse at the Butter Cow.

From there we strolled down for our annual pilgrimage to the Varied Industries Building.
We did stick with tradition and freely sampled the popcorn and coffee.
After all...who would pass up free popcorn and coffee???

Keeping with the theme for the day, we tried something new in the Fabrics and Threads area....we all helped in the quilting for charity room.   These quilts are made with donated fabric and volunteer hours and are sent to different children's charities throughout Iowa. It had been on my "State Fair Bucket List" for the last four years and today was the day to get involved.

                                                                     ALL of us ;)

The group spends all ten days of the fair making comfort quilts for children. They also spend all ten days relentlessly recruiting anyone who walks in the door of their work room. Saying no to them is like saying no to your sainted grandmother. It just ought not to be done. Today we helped un-pin the quilts that had been layered and sewn to get them ready to be trimmed and bound. The total blanket goal was 425 this year. When we left  they were at 385 and still had a few hours to go. I hope they made it.  It was fun, our help was appreciated and there was no special skill or talent required.

And when your daughter asks, " many days can we come back and help next year?"  the "never-change, stuck-in-a-rut, stick-in-the-mud" quickly adds this new activity to the Traditions category of State Fair activities, with a mental note to relentlessly recruit some of her friends.

Because while the State Fair has plenty of ice cream, walking tacos and fried candy bars, it also has plenty of room for people to try something new and help a child in need.

And I didn't miss the class on that.  :)

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