We visited the Ohio State Fair on opening night this year, and we had such a blast. Normally I'm not all about being around so many people, but the weather was just incredible and Dan and I were a little too wrapped up in each other to really notice anyone else (except for the people who naturally walk like zombies whenever they're outside). We were so busy last year that we didn't make it to the fair until the last day that it was open, and we enjoyed the total solitude and emptiness of the fairgrounds. While that was an entirely different experience, I don't think either of us really had a preference between our visits.
This year the attractions were infinitely better than any other year that I've been, as there were camel rides, and extremely entertaining sea lion shows that left me beaming like an idiot. We got to take our picture with two 8 year old sea lions that plopped their awesome heads and fins on our shoulders to pose, and as soon as they touched me, my face contorted into this weird smile thing that was so impossibly creepy. I kind of look drunk on happy in the image. It's one that is getting buried in my scrapbook, and never shown to another human being ever =D
At any rate, we both agreed that the sea lions were our favorite part of the fair. There were four total, and their routines were hilarious, sweet, and impressive. I wish we had gotten slightly better seats, but it was still an overall awesome experience. Before the show, I hung out by their swim tank and giggled manically as they bobbed in and out of the water, talking to me. I've never been so close to a sea lion before, and I've never really watched what they can do. It was awesome.
Immediately after we were done having the sea lions win us over, we headed over for a camel ride. I'm a huge, huge, huge animal lover, and I pretty much want to touch every animal on the planet, so the camels were a large pull for me. In fact, I talked about the camels so much during the week leading up to the fair that all of my friends were finally just like, "You got your camel ride! Talk about something else now!" Naturally that just meant that I'd spend every opportunity talking about the sea lions instead ;]
Anyway! I've ridden an elephant before, and that was one of the coolest things I think I've ever done in my entire life. Elephants are my favorite animals, and even though I was a kid when I rode her, I still remember it fondly. Camels are an equine that I've wanted to ride for years, and I just never had the chance to. It was a rather strange experience, as their bodies move in a way that I can't explain and definitely did not anticipate. I managed to make a passable face while I was riding her/him, thankfully, so I have photographic proof of at least one animal adventure.
After dinner, and the animals, and the photobooths (it's a tradition now to use every photobooth that we encounter anywhere), it was time for Dan to ride rides. I've always been a humongous chicken, and I haven't ridden any amusement park rides since I was a kid. I get that no one really understands it, but I have so much fun watching others ride coasters and crazy swing things. The faces people make are priceless, I feel all of the anticipation of the ride, I get to hold on to belongings, and I get to not be scared to death. It's a win, win for everyone! Dan hammed it up on the Pharaoh, and I loved every second of it.
After the rides we visited the petting zoo, where I promptly made a scene with my high pitched squealing and animal baby talk. I petted miniature cows (which might be the cutest thing ever), goats, lambs, oxen, bunnies, and sheep, and fought the urge to pet the animals that I wasn't supposed to pet. It was so excessively hard for me to keep my hands away from cages and enclosures, you have no idea.
Eventually we made our way to the horse competitions, and Dan amazed me by getting into the show. Granted, we were acting like a pair of Mean Girls, but there was a good amount of horse admiration going on. I know that Dan respects the fact that I have May, but he's not really animal crazy. The fact that he sat for an extended period of time and listened to my limited knowledge of horses, and commented on their stature, and training, and anything else horse related really made me happy.
At the end of the show we headed back out to the food lane for dinner, and watched the fireworks above us. It was weirdly romantic. We've spent so much time around fireworks over the last month, and each time has been great, but this time it was just surreal. We were surrounded by carnival lights and music, where we had space away from people, and the fireworks captivated everything. Everyone around us stopped to admire the show, and I think the comparison of that to when they were bustling around like madmen was just beautiful to me.
Anyway, this was the best year at the fair yet. It was so good that we've talked about going back for seconds (if not to get a better, less derp-faced image with the sea lions :). All of our time together, by the way, just keeps getting better and better. I'm always amazed at how everything we do seems to be the greatest thing in existence, even if we've done it a hundred times before. I'm very happy that life led me here, to this place, with these people and these adventures, as I am having the best time of my life.