At the gate at 5:20 am. Why so early?
Actually our team at the U does computer setup for 4-H. This morning we are setting up 48 laptops in the Swine Barn. This year was so exciting with the thunder and lightning and unexpected restarts and the RUNAWAY PIG.
Here's the restored streetcar arch this morning! LOOKS AWESOME!!!!!
I have to be back in the office at 10am, so some of us head out of the barn around 9:30. We stop for a Buni's Bun and Sweet Martha's and a spin through West End Market on the way out. IT LOOKS SO GOOD!!
Here's Lulu's Public House, where I plan to watch the fireworks because they have basically built a two story bar around my favorite firework watching spot which is every dream I ever had come true. I am a little worried they will be closed. If they are, I will buy one of those Little Giant ladders in the Grandstand and use it to climb up to the second floor.
I didn't even notice until now that this picture has a hoodie with an airbrushed sad dog and a fire hydrant. Foodie in a hoodie. What a lucky shot!
Then I am back at work. With pig ears on my head. At noon my shift at work is over so several of us tear back down to the Fair "for lunch." I put for lunch in quotes because I actually never left until the Fair closed. And even then I debated sleeping in my office but decided I had spent the morning in the swine barn in open toe shoes so better go home and do a thorough washing up. (Since I am "not used to being around animals" as one 4-H'er pointed out when I declined to eat an offered croissant while standing in a barn because my hands were dirty. "That's nuthin." she says. "You should see how I eat at home. And I never get sick. NEVER." She may have been on to something--me not being used to animals--because when that runaway pig was snorting at speed through out makeshift computer lab and coming right at me, I had to mantra to myself HOLD YOUR GROUND BAKER do not panic HOLD YOUR GROUND)
Mr. T. would have eaten that croissant. And wrestled that pig too. He pities the fool not at the Fair today.
We decide to have some of Lift Bridge's Mini Donut beer--the holy grail of the Fair last year, when they made only 12 kegs and caused pandemonium with crazed beer lovers. This year they made 300 kegs.
I excitedly tweet about it and my phone autocorrects so that it is "Mimi donut beer." Close enough.
We also meet up with Alison and Jed! Now it's officially FAIR!!!!
What's that on my head, you ask? Only the greatest hat ever given away at the Fair. I had to stop someone and ask where they got it and then immediately go get it.
We watch the parade from Ball Park cafe. Love the parade.
Then someone has heard there is S'more's beer at Giggles. SAY NO MORE we are on our way.
Do you like the way I framed this shot? "Hold it in front of his crotch! Perfect!" Duh.
Someone in the group, I forget who, has never seen Cinnie Smiths in action. We are egging them on so much they put on quite a show. There are dramatic synchronized paddle wheels of death and some dough throwing. I have no excuse for not videoing it.
I say goodbye to my co-workers, who are heading either back to work or off with family. We meet up with another friend, who immediately gets the new chicken in a waffle cone. Or for some reason it is "in THE waffle cone." ??
I absolutely LOVE this IDEA. But in execution, the waffle cone was a little softish and the gravy was very spicy. I feel like other people would really like this.
I am so jazzed about the new Fair Wear shop tent right inside new Gate 16! I got Brent this shirt. He likes to wear Fair shirts. Or at least I think he does. I probably asked him and then didn't hear his answer over the sound of MYSELF TALKING ABOUT THE FAIR.
Someone is hungry for Turkey to Go, so we shuffle down that way. I stop at Blue Moon to try their new snow ribbons--they are serving Horchata-Churro flavor--and they are awesome. Just look.
All for me. I think I may have tried to share but it was a half-hearted offer and everyone could tell. SNARF.
Jed tries the Jell-O salad flavored ice cream, with a scoop of mini donut crunch on top. He likes it! I am startled by the cranberries in there. Cranberries in Jell-O salad? Huh. I think I am not familiar with this dish.
We mosey through the crop art again, get some honey lemonade (tip: ask for no ice you get like twice as much!!). We go to the bazaar and shop at Global Mamas. I buy a different shirt so I can take off my staff shirt and have a beer and then I go order a beer and drink it and FORGET TO PUT ON THE NEW SHIRT. (I mean I have a shirt on. But it is the staff shirt.)
I am drooping. I've been up for 16 hours. I've had a plane on my head 8 of those.
I MUST PRESS ON. HOLD YOUR GROUND BAKER. HOLD YOUR GROUND.
We get some pretzel beer battered cheese curds and they perk me right up. Deeee-licious.
We play giant Jenga at O'Gara's and have deep fried Twinkies.
Around 10:15 we start heading up to West End Market to stake out our spot atop Lulu's. It is NOT CROWDED and I DID NOT NEED A LADDER so I'm telling you people, THIS is the place to watch the fireworks!
We walk to get a foot long and then I head home. I have successfully pre-opened and closed the Fair. 18 hours. It was a total Fair bender and it was totally awesome.
SEE YOU AT THE FAIR