Such a tradition, this OC Fair. Twenty years ago, it was THE only thing you did with friends on the weekends, arriving late afternoon and staying well into the night, trolling the aisles in our girl gang on the hunt for all the boys we had crushes on just to see them in a new element outside of school. Hopefully pairing up to go on The Zipper or some equivalent of a cool fair ride - aka the ride that probably isn’t super safe and will most definitely make you want to throw up, and if all goes well, holding hands and eventually making out at some point.
One of my first dates (maybe #3) with Nate was at the fair, walking from his dad’s apartment to the fairgrounds with Diana as our third wheel. We ate, played games, flirted for hours; took a “love meter test”. Took our first fair photo strip, not knowing at the time it would be the start of an annual collection: in the beginning us two, then a baby, a toddler, and now, this year, with a seven year old.
The fair is that familiar pastime, a note in the middle of summer. We do the same rounds: check on the livestock, watch the pig races. See a Demolition Derby. Watch Speedway. Nate celebrates each visit with eating as much as he can. Captain, who used to be so fearful of the fireworks and sound of balloons being popped by various dart games, now lives in this area, trying to win EVERY SINGLE THING OFFERED. I personally like roaming around Crafter’s Village with a glass of wine from the wine tent in my hand; walk over to see the baby chicks and baby pigs, and take in all the amazing that is Centennial Farm.
It is a constant wonderful thing and it’s remarkable to look back at how I am the one changing. From what it meant in high school to the first few years with Captain. It’s almost as if I can quadrant out the grounds to each certain decade and time in my life, walking down aisles that I haven’t walked since I was a teenager; I can see myself in my crossbody bag, tight fitting tank, and baggy jeans with a seatbelt belt walking right past me, oblivious to anyone else but my small group of friends and the best friends brother I was hopelessly in love with.
And now, we live close enough to walk and my memories are of being with Nate and Captain, neighbors and friends that are forever family, and making sure we don’t let a year go by without a photo strip.