Sunday, October 14, 2018

AZ State Fair 2018

I won a couple of free tickets for entrance into The Arizona State Fair... and tho' budget didn't permit bringing the entire Family, since that can get outrageously expensive when you have Kids that don't want to just walk around for the atmosphere and exercise, I went alone this year.  Since atmosphere and exercise with free entrance was about all I could really afford at the time.  *Smiles*  You cannot do a State Fair on a tight Budget with Kids, Trust me!

I actually walked all the way to the Fairgrounds from Beautiful Encanto Park behind this Guy with the most luxurious Dreads.  I clarified this so you wouldn't think this was me from behind and my Locs had already gotten this long!  *Bwahahaha!*   I Love the walk thru the Historic Neighborhoods from the Beautiful Park to the Fairgrounds, plus is saves me ten bucks that it would cost for parking closer and provides more exercise and scenery... and I don't mean just the Handsome Young Guy with Dreads that was easy on the Eyes!  *Winks*

When you're parking for free near scenery this Magnificent, rather than paying ten bucks or more to park in an overcrowded Fairgrounds parking lot, it's just a no-brainer for me so we've done it for years and just walked a few blocks in.  Wild Geese are migrating this time of year so the Park Canals were filled with flocks of them.

Younger Children can fish in the Canals, they keep them stocked with several varieties of Game Fish and you can rent Canoes and Paddle Boats too.   I remember years ago at a Church Picnic some Friends rented a Canoe and none of us had ever used one so we almost capsized the damned thing!  Needless to say it was my first and last Canoe experience since the City Canal water isn't something I want to get dunked in ever!  *LOL*

But I have done the Paddle Boat thing, which is one helluva Workout, especially if you're doing it with Kids and they fade out leaving you to paddle your ass off alone to get everyone back to Shore!  *Smiles*   This ALWAYS happens with Kids, I've done it with two Generations of mine, our Kids and the G-Kid Force as well and I notice the distinct Pattern.  Kids are notorious wimps once the Fun gets hard and tiring so that nobody is having Fun anymore!  *LOL*

But two Generations of Kids always Loved the Walk thru the Historic Neighborhoods to get to the Fairgrounds from the Free Parking at the Park.  We used to fantasize about which Historic Homes we would want to own, picking our Favorites.   This particular one was always a front runner and still is to this day!  If this Home ever came up for Sale I'd be hard pressed not to want to buy it even after all these years of admiring it!

The particular Historic designated Neighborhoods around Encanto Park are my Idyllic Location in the City to want to live one day in a best case scenario.  When we were seeking a New Home I tried to convince The Man to buy in this area but he wasn't Down at the time for anymore Inner City Urban Living dammit!  Now after a few Years in Rural Subdivision Hell he's seriously considering it as a Future option and is more On Board!  It may never actually happen in this Lifetime, but I like to Imagine it will and still Dream the Dream I've had for Decades about living in this Location! 

So as I Daydreamed for another Year about Historic Home Living in the City once again, as I passed thru the Idyllic Historic Neighborhoods I Love and Admire, I made the annual Pilgrimage to the Fairgrounds.   But going to the Fair isn't about the Rides for me anymore at this Season of Life... tho' for The Force it would be EVERYTHING and thus would cost me a Kidney to afford nowadays!  *LOL*

Nor is it about the Midway and Winning some enormous stuffed animal we don't Need and I'd have to schlep for the Kiddos around the Fairgrounds all damned day!  Or Winning a Goldfish that would live so long we'd have to give it an actual burial years later rather than a flush down the commode into it's Aquatic Afterlife!  *Winks*   Yes, I've done all that for two Generations too, but as Kids and Grandkids grow up into Young Adults, the Midway loses it's Appeal unless they have a Date in tow that they're showing off for!  *Whew!*

Sure, I do still like to see what is On Trend for the desperate Parents and Star Struck Lovers to try to Win this year for their Loved Ones, or the savvy Kids who figure out how to win on the Games when they get Obsessed with a Toy they gotta have!  Every year it's a selection of unique characters that are popular and apparently coveted.    This year seemed mostly to be Pokemon Characters and Minions.   In previous years, when The Son was very young, he Won this enormous Red Bulldog that was some Popular Beer Mascot I think.  *LOL, yeah they were less Politically Correct about Kid's Toys in the 80's and 90's*   And for the Grandson's Era it was an enormous Rasta Banana resplendent with Jamaican Tam and Dreads.  *LMAO, well Okay, mebbe they stayed somewhat Politically Incorrect into the early 2000's*

Now, and particularly at this Season of Life, it is ALL about the Fair Food for moi!  *Winks*  Especially my penchant for Indian Fry Bread, which I have every single year and thus is my Tradition and Ritual at the Fair!  I head straight for my Favorite Fry Bread Stand run by the Navajo Nation, and hands down makes the best Fry Bread at the Fair.   Which has offered it since the 1970's at the same location in the Fairgrounds... or mebbe before I ever got to Arizona!?   This year I went with a Navajo Taco Style sans the Meat... it was Divine!

For those of you who will be going to this year's Arizona State Fair, this is the Stand and it is indeed the Original for Fry Bread with those from the Navajo Nation preparing them.   Sure, you can go to any one of numerous other Stands and Food Trucks offering Fry Bread made by Carnies, often a little cheaper, but personally I rate that they aren't as well made, so I stand by my abiding critique that the First People's make the best and most Divine tasting Fry Bread.  They didn't name them Navajo Tacos for nothing my Friends! 

And since I walked around for a full two hours, I Needed a lil somethin-somethin else that we used to Enjoy getting from the Mexican Food Cart Vendors that used to walk the Old Neighborhood, Fire Roasted Corn on a Stick!   I really wasn't interested in getting mine plain, still husked and just buttered tho', so I trawled several Food Booths before deciding upon which to buy.

I decided upon this one that was offering up some uniquely pimped out Roasted Corn on a Stick this year, including being smothered in The Force's new Fav Snack of Hot Takis!  *LOL*   I wimped out and just went with The Traditional, which is spread with Mayo then rolled in Cotija Cheese and sprinkled with Spicy Seasoning and Lime Juice.   But the Old Man kinda screwed up my Order and rather than being sprinkled with the Traditional Spices I'm used to I got served this:

Which I swear looked and tasted more like Hot Cheetos but still had my Cotija Cheese and actually was quite good so whatever... I ate it!  *LOL*   Now, Word Up, you will pay way more at the Fair for one of these than you will from the Mexican Food Cart Vendors that roam Da Hood, so it will be a spendy Ear of Corn!  But when you're ravenously hungry after traipsing around the Fairgrounds for over two hours, you'll compromise your usual reservations about overpaying for any sustenance and just Pony Up!   This is also why you don't bring the whole Family unless you Won the Lottery or something!  *LOL*

Because even if you fed and watered them Kids to maximum capacity just prior to arriving at the Fairgrounds, they WILL instantly have hollow legs or something to find room within them for a huge assortment of Fair Foods and Beverages they will HAVE to have, or they will allegedly just Die of starvation and thirst!  *Smiles*   And a Child that overly stuffs themselves and then wants to go on every hairy Ride will then feel Sick and often get Sick... just sayin'!

But can you blame them with the selection of Fair Foods being offered and the highly addictive Aromas wafting thru the air heavily?!   Even tho' I'm not eating Meat anymore, the Aromas of every variety of Meat being Bar-B-Qued everywhere was intoxicating!  No, I didn't cave in and eat any, but damn... my Memory Banks did recall which ones were my previous Favorites, I ain't gonna lie!

The Carnivorous Feasting Options were endless... and not a lot of Fair Food is Vegan or Vegetarian Friendly yet, so that meant a lot of shit was off the table for my Nutritarian eating Plan that I'm adhering to.  *Le Sigh*   I very well could have gone down in Flames but honestly, I haven't had Meat Cravings even tho' I still thoroughly Enjoy the Aromas of Bar-B-Qued Meats.   So it was quite easy for me to resist all of this and just Photograph it to make you Crave it instead my Friends!  You can Thank me later!  *Bwahahahaha!*

There was Giant Smoked and Roasted EVERYTHING!  Now, I used to like Turkey just as much as the next person, especially during Thanksgiving, but for some odd reason I've never had a Craving for a Giant Smoked Turkey Leg, not even at the Renaissance Festival!  *Gasp!*   Nope, not even when I was a Carnivorous Creature happily eating Meats before the dreaded Diabetes made me have to alter Lifestyle choices considerably... just never been a Giant Turkey Leg kinda Gal I guess... but if you are, well, they had you covered!   And I have been asked by Family and Friends just what I'm going to eat this Thanksgiving for my first No Turkey No Ham Holidays?!  Humnnn, hafta see what fake Meat options they have for that?!?

Of coarse I'll be preparing the usual Feast for The Family, since I always cook two completely different Meals now, the usual for them and my new options for me... so I'm now getting used to that and haven't been unduly tempted to cheat at all yet.   So I don't know if The Holidays will Trigger anything that might prompt me to fall off the Meatless Wagon, I'm Hoping not!?!   Still too early to tell if the Diabetic Numbers will go down if I continue along this dietary change? But I do seem to be losing some inches and that can't hurt to help control the Diabetic situation and stabilize things... so I Soldier on...

And even tho', had I not been following a Meatless dietary regimen, I would have been interested and intrigued enough to try a few New Fair Food options I saw, like the Thai Chicken Fry Bread, I resisted and just Wondered what it might have tasted like?!?!??   I arrived just when the Fair opened, since I wanted to leave by the time it got madly crowded and while the Weather was still holding. Since Monsoon Storms lately and inclement Weather have been brutal and that Morning had begun quite overcast and ominous looking, so I almost didn't go at all.  So there were no long lines yet while I perused the Food Truck and Booth options.

My free pass was only good for Fair Fridays tho' and I Needed to use it that day while Princess T was still in School, since this whole Week she's on Fall Break and I wouldn't have been able to ditch her to save my Life for School Break Fridays!  *LOL*   The Young Prince is easier to ditch nowadays since he's got a busy Social Life and usually doesn't even know I'm gone and isn't likely to stalk nor shadow me everywhere anymore anyway like she still does.   Well, unless he's totally bored out of his Mind and then perhaps he'll ask where I might be going or blow up my phone when he notices the Truck is gone!  *LOL*

I know you all might be thinking or saying, but you'll Miss them NOT wanting to tag along with you everywhere and be conjoined to you at the hip once they're grown enough they won't want to anymore!?   No... NO I WON'T... and ya wanna know Why?   Because I've been consecutively Parenting Children now for two full Generations already without a Break!  Which by the time I get Princess T raised will have amounted to well over 45 years of Parenting Younger Children and that will have been more than Enough nonstop Child Time for me I'm Sure!  *LOL*

The average Empty Nester is WAYYYYYY Younger than The Man and I, so perhaps they get all teary Eyed and Nostalgic about always having Kids in tow, I dunno?  Because the typical Senior Experience with Children and average Grandparenting Gig might mean you have the Grands perhaps an Hour or so every once in a while... or for a brief Sleepover... and then complain you're completely exhausted... because I hear THAT exaggerated lamenting all the time lemme tell ya!   To which I say SHUT THE HELL UP, you don't know what completely exhausted by Grandkids really is 'til you're Raising them 24-7 and 365... I can do almost any damn thing for a mere Hour or occasional Over-Nighter without a complete Fade now!  *LMAO*

We never had the Luxury of getting all our own Kids raised to Adulthood before we became Custodial Grandparents, so we even had one of our Offspring AND Grandkids being raised simultaneously and that was quite The Experience lemme tell ya!  *LMAO*   If you think your Older Kids resented and complained about your Younger Kids being a pain in their Asses, try having your Older Kid having to Share a room and any Living Space with Nieces and Nephews who live there full time!  It's full on Generational Conflict, posturing for Position in the household and Jealousies of Sharing you of Epic proportions!  *Smiles*

I remember by his late Teens that The Son, very exasperated, once loudly complained out loud that there were too many Kids in our house, to which The Young Prince responded to his Uncle, Well you're almost Grown now SO LEAVE!  *Bwahahahahahahaha!!!*  Yeah, they behaved more like Brothers, with being raised together, than Uncle and Nephew.  And since The Son has been an Uncle since age 7, he just really didn't initially take to Uncling very well, nor us being called Gramma and Grandpa while he was still quite so Young!  *LOL*  I recall when he was 7 and already an Uncle, that he said we shouldn't even BE Grandparents until we had White Hair!  *LMAO*

And Yes, I DO have many fond Memories and Nostalgia about Fairs of the Past where I took our Kids, then our Kids and Grandkids simultaneously, then just the Grandkids... and an assortment of all their Friends over the Years too... and we did always have a big time.  I also recall when the Fair was relatively affordable... which now it's totally NOT and if you're bringing The Family it's going to cost you several hundred dollars no matter how frugally you try to budget!  You're not getting in there nor out of there Cheap anymore lemme tell ya... unless you're Old and have a free Pass to enter that is and go Alone!  *Winks*

I also recall Fairs of the Past before I was ever a Parent and going with my Young Adult Friends here in the Valley.  Cramming into those Black N White Photo Booth Kiosks they have at the Fairs and getting that pix taken that we all did at Fairs with either our Friends, Dates or even as a Family.   Some of my all time Fav Pixs are in fact those Cheesy, Cheap Black N White Fair Pixs like this one with my High School Friend Debbie G.!  For some reason they always turned out so Good, so Candid... and a Good Black N White pix just cannot be beat actually IMO!

Every Generation took 'em... this is The G-Kid Force's Mama, our Daughter, and The Young Prince's Dad when they were Teens at the State Fair.   Her 37th Birthday was Today, my how Time flies... I think they were about 18 in this pix, same Age as their Son is now... like I said my how Time Flies!  She continued the Tradition of having the Fair Black N White pix taken during every visit with various Friends or Boyfriend... or even a Family Group shot... which was rarer, since more than two people is a tight squeeze in a Kiosk!  *LOL*

And Yeah you go to the Fair for other Attractions too, like the Contests of biggest, best, Blue Ribbon Winning things that People just do!  Like growing mutant sized Food, like this almost 700 lb. Pumpkin that Won this Year!  I was going to try to load a Video that accidentally got taken, by the Old Guy guarding the Giant Pumpkins, of me posing with it that was supposed to be a pix taken with my Camera but he didn't know how to work my device and the accidental Video was freakin' hilarious of it!  

I Lose It every time I watch it, especially when the Image goes Sideways... two Old People cluelessly trying to find out how to get a device to work properly again once it's clearly not in Photo Mode anymore!  Too bad the Video won't load to Blogger... dammit!  Or mebbe I'm just too Tech Challenged to get it to... which was the whole Point of Why I even had a hilarious Video in the first place!  *LMAO*  Oh wait... mebbe it DID load after all, I'm giving it a try anyway, lemme know if it cracks you up like it did me if you can get it to Play, which I couldn't?!?   It was while watching this that I found out I apparently Shake like freakin' Howdy Doody and EVERYONE knew this but ME!  OMG, The Man and Young Prince said, Yeah, you always have Shaked, you have for YEARS... didn'tcha know?!?  Hell NO I didn't know, WTF?!?  {Look at my Left Hand tremoring for no apparent reason!}

And the Demonstrations and Free Shows abound too... I didn't catch any Free Shows this day since I only stayed a couple hours before any took to the Stage... but I did thoroughly Enjoy the Fruit Carver Demonstration!  His Creations were quite Magnificent and I Photographed the Hell out of them so I will likely do a whole Post on all of it but a Sampling is here on this Post!   This Guy would be great at a Party and Buffet Presentation for your next Party, huh?  From the Smaller Centerpieces that were Adorable... to...

The enormous Sublime Centerpieces that absolutely took your breath away!   These were absolutely Magnificent edible Art of a wide variety of Fruits and Veggies!   I know my Dad could do this Art Form and often did as a Master Chef, but in recent Years it's been quite elevated as an Art Form.  So I can only Imagine what Dear Old Dad would have liked to try his Artistic Culinary Hand at nowadays, given the advancement of the Techniques and Tools of the Trade being elevated to this extreme level now!?!?!

I mean these aren't your carved Radishes into Roses garden variety types of garnishes anymore!   I think I spent half the time at the Fair admiring these various Displays that were Award Winning.

Every year we say we're going to try our Hand at Pumpkin Art to this elevated level at Home for our Displays.  I feel that with The Young Prince's adept Sculpting Skills and Natural Talent, he'd be a born Fruit and Veggie extreme Garnish Carver extraordinaire!   He once sat with the enormously Talented Ray Villafane to learn some of the Skill sets required, when Ray was giving a Local Presentation last Halloween.

In case you haven't seen some of Ray's Magnificent Work, or the equally Talented Nikolay Torkhov, this is some of what has been Created this Halloween Season for the Carefree Enchanted Pumpkin Garden!  This is one of Nikolay's Sculptures... Sublime, and in person you are just completely blown away by these edible Art Sculptures Created by various Artists for the Seasonal Show!  It runs October 19th thru the 28th in Carefree and is free, so well worth the Pilgrimage to the far East Side of the Valley.

But that's all later this Week so for now we'll just concentrate on what I saw at the Fair in the way of Magnificent Carving of edibles!   And then, like I said, I will probably devote an entire Post or two about just this Art Form since it is worthy of a Post of it's own!

Speaking of Art, I always J'Adore the Art Forms of the Fairs, Carnivals and Circus Art... nothing quite like it and it always adds to the Attraction and Atmosphere of these forms of Entertainment.   

Now one thing that has taken a real dive in recent years is the number of entrants in the Culinary Arts Contests like Cake Decorating and Gingerbread Architecture.  In previous years they would have so many entrants in the exhibits, sadly those numbers keep dwindling down to just a smattering nowadays.  I don't know if people just aren't that Into entering the Contests and trying to Win a Blue Ribbon anymore or what?   I miss the bigger turnouts of Talented Bakers Creating these Art Forms.   My Favorite this year was the Marilyn Monroe Cake blowing a Sugar Bubble of faux Gum... she wasn't holding up too well even under refrigeration, but it was a really Creative Cake.

And natch I always Enjoy the Jewelry Creations and Blue Ribbon Winners of that Art Form.   Tho' I must say this year there were some that didn't necessarily take Home the Blue Ribbons for their Home Arts Projects, but I would have bought their Creations any day!    These Belt Buckle Bling Creations for example were Fabulous...

Loved both that had been Created by the same Artisan...

And there was this Necklace... Stunning!

And let us not forget the Oil Paintings on Display and many Winning Ribbons... many of which were also For Sale!   Many were so Beautifully Painted in the Photo Realism Style that they actually looked like Photographs rather than Oils!   This was one of my Favs...

And this one...  the Eyes were just so Beautiful and captured the Essence of this Attractive Model...

This one...

And these two Ren Faire Inspired Oils by the same Artist, whose attention to Detail just blew me away!

And I do Hope you've Enjoyed coming along Virtually to this Year's Arizona State Fair with me my Friends?   I sure Enjoyed myself tremendously... there's nothing quite like a day at the Fair or a good Carnival is there?   So... until next Year...


Blessings, Love and Light from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

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