Why I hated every minute of the Alameda County Fair except ONE

So I had been debating  whether I wanted to go to the Alameda County fair because I knew how expensive and exhausting it could be. But I felt pressure from social media (aka Facebook and Instagram) and all the other moms taking their fabulous children and posting how great of a time they had. So when my friend invited me, I hesitantly said yes.

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We did get discounted tickets online via Patelco credit union for $8.25, and kids under 6 years old are FREE, so I thought, “Why not?”. We arrived at the Alameda county fair and I realized the friends we were supposed to meet were at a completely different gate. I asked the information guy and he basically told me we where at opposite ends of the fair. So we walked around in the HEAT, (85 ish degree weather) but in the direct sun it feels like 100. We finally found  each other after about 15 minutes of wandering. My kids automatically see the rides and want to ride, and I tell them they have to wait until we watch some shows and it begins to cool down, or else they are going to get burned on the rides.

img_2127.jpgSo we watch the Flying dog show where my son wanders up and down the scary steps and hides under the audio platform. I’m embarrassed, angry, frustrated and hot. But we still try again, and watch the tractor pull for a few minutes. The kids enjoyed that, as much as  kids can (meaning they didn’t complain). Then we watch the motor cross show which my daughter (age 4) loves !!! She says it’s amazing and wants to watch it ALL day, but after about 5 minutes I struggle to keep her attention on the motocross bikes. Meanwhile, my friends mom buys a HUGE lemonade (and I mean, in a bucket HUGE). She offers some to the kids and of course my son is now best friends with the Mom (or lemonade I’m not sure). I think about stopping him but all the other kids are drinking as well. And I don’t have the energy to start a fight. But all is good until he (age 2.75) starts wandering in the stands again…. so I’m back to being hot, tired and frustrated.

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We do a couple more activities… petting zoo, farm animals. And then we wandered around looking for the $2 sample Pizza (apparently Thursday’s is $2 sampler day) for a good 10 minutes in the blazing sun… We have some food, and finally go to the rides section. It’s  $1 per ticket and each ride is 3-4 tickets so that’s $3-4 each ride. I do the math, with 2 kids… But that’s ok, I knew my kids really wanted to ride the rides this entire time. So we get on a few rides and they seem happy, so all is good. By this time, I’m super exhausted and decide to head home and we begin our journey back across the whole entire park.

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My daughter has been eyeing this unicorn inflatable and I just know she’s going to be talking about it forever if I don’t get it. And it’s one of those items you really can’t get anywhere else, so I buy her the $10 inflatable which becomes $20 because it’s not fair if I don’t get my son one as well. And we FINALLY get in to the car and I’m beat. The sun, the walking, the frustration of having to wrangle a 2 and 4 year old, and ALL the money I spent has me thinking, “Why did I ever think this was a good idea?”. But then… as I’m about to pull out of the parking lot, my daughter says, “Mommy, this was a great day, let’s do it again.” So in the end it was all worth it to see my kids happy. We didn’t get to see all the shows, but the shows we did see were great. Kids’ behavior put aside, it was an overwhelming but apparently “great day.”

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