A FAIR-ly Amazing Day

I’m going to warn you right up front, this post is bursting with images. I was able to narrow down the 527 pictures I took to about 50. Give or take. Given the fact Fair Park is 277 acres, I think I did pretty well.

We have been planning our trip to the Texas State Fair for a couple weeks. We knew it wouldn’t be a cheap day, hence all of our recent freebie day trips. Fair Park is on the east side of Dallas and has been home to the Texas State Fair since 1886. You can read about all the history here.

We arrived just after the gates opened and scored a parking spot near the gate (all the empty spaces you see are reserved for the handicapped)…

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We bought our tickets online, part of a package which included admission and 100 ride/food coupons. We first ran into using coupons at Grapefest. I’m not really a fan of the system, I’d rather pay for my food using cold hard cash.  I think it is easier to plan using money than coupons, but I digress. Anyhow, our first stop was the cattle barn and judging arena…

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Most of the cows were lazing around waiting their turn…

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Others were being led to grooming stations…

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Where shampooing and combing awaited them…

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I’ve never seen a setup quite like this. Now, I’ve been to my share of fairs and always visit the livestock exhibits, but this really takes it to the next level! I was a bit disappointed there weren’t any longhorn cattle in the cow barn, afterall, this is Texas and longhorn are cattle. I wasn’t disappointed for very long! We stepped out of the building, on our way to the swine barn, and found this monster in a pen all his own…

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Yes, you read the sign correctly, someone was brave enough to get a measurement of this behemoths horn width. He was even more magnificent when he stood up…

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I absolutely loved his coloring.  On to the swine. I love piggies, always have. Of course I love piglets even more…

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Mama almost looks like she’s smiling. Cattle weren’t the only critters getting groomed for their showings…

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And people were getting in some last minute runway practice…

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Every time I look at this picture quickly, I think those pink spots on his snout are tusks. But if I wanted to see real tusks, I need not look any further than Borris…

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Our next stop was the horse barn. All of the horses were in bar lined stalls and you couldn’t really get close enough to take any pictures, but I was able to sneak a picture of probably the largest horse I’ve ever seen. This is saying something because I’ve been up close and personal with the Budweiser Clydesdales!  Meet Rossina, she is a Friesian. She is over 17 hands tall…

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I thought we were through with livestock viewing until we came to the Children’s Health Barnyard. The squeals of delight could be heard long before we entered the building. Kids of all ages were having a grand time. It was more like a petting zoo than a barnyard, with animals from around the world…

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This zebu was far more interested in getting her neck scratched than eating some handouts…

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Just outside the exhibit was the little red barn I’ve been hoping to find. Barns here are the same as barns in the northeast. Most of the are pole barns, but this is the type of barn I love…

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It was getting on towards lunch and the choices were so numerous I couldn’t decide. One thing I learned is Texans will deep-fry ANYTHING…

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Or wrap it in bacon…

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As we were walking past one of the many coupon booths, the reflection in the puddle caught my eye…

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We still hadn’t decided on lunch, so we walked into the food court. Overwhelmed is an understatement!

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Unfortunately, we stuck with something simple (but still expensive). We should have…

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And how do you top off lunch? With an adult beverage of course…

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So, I’ve covered livestock, cute animals and food. What else could there be? How about the art…

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And the history…

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Then…there are the shows! As we were walking along the esplanade, we happened to catch the Zu Zu African Acrobats. Their skill, flexibility and agility were astounding…

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I kind of covered statues when I mentioned art, but there is one statue that literally can’t be missed…Big Tex himself…

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If the size of the Wednesday crowds leave you feeling a bit on edge, not to worry! The Dallas PD has you covered…

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Our final adventure of the day was a ride on the sky wheel…

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There are 44 car on the wheel. I don’t know how tall it is but the views were stunning!

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I haven’t come close to showing you all the things to do at the fair. We skipped the aquarium and the botanical gardens because, well, let’s face it, I’m not a kid anymore! It isn’t that I wouldn’t have enjoyed them, I’d have loved them, but I was pooped!!!!

We still had about an hour and a half drive back to Waldo and it was time to call it quits. The day had one more surprise in store for us…

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A beautiful sunset to round out our trip.

What is your favorite thing to do at the fair?

Critter Control

When we lived in New Hampshire, we had lots of wildlife on our property. It was always neat to look out the window and see the deer, turkeys and the occasional bear. I never had the urge to trap and relocate them. (Well, there was that time I trapped a chipmunk inside the bird feeder)

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Here in Texas, I take a different view. And, believe it or not, but it all started with kittens. Yep, kittens. Steve came home one evening and found 3 kittens eating out of Diesel’s food dish. While they were cute, they were wild. It seemed simple enough to discourage them – stop leaving dog food out at night. But there was one kitten who just wouldn’t give up. I started catching glimpses of it during the day and would hear muted meows from under Waldo. Driven by hunger and the thought of a free meal, the kitten started becoming bolder…

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And bolder…

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As you can see, Diesel didn’t seem to have any problem sharing his meal. But then, the kitten thought it would just move in… Um….NO!

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I don’t mind cats, but I have no interest in having any more pets. Nor do I have the ambition to tame a feral kitten. It had to go! There was an animal trap in the maintenance garage. Since dog food was obviously kitty’s favorite free lunch, I baited the trap. I stepped into Waldo, for all of about 3 minutes, and heard the trap spring. Resulting in one very unhappy kitty…

Since Steve had said he saw 3 kittens, I decided to reset the trap overnight. With my morning coffee in hand, I checked the trap. What I wasn’t expecting was this…

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An equally unhappy possum! With both kitty and Mr. Possum relocated (still within the park, just away from us) I thought we were critter free, and returned the trap. But alas…

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“Where’s lunch, meow” Really?!?!?! Back the the maintenance garage! This time kitty went for a long ride! Now it resides on a farm about 5 miles down the road.

With all of the critters re-homed, I think we are in the clear. But, you never know! There are lots of interesting things living in the park. I walked out of the office one day and found this…

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Another day, I found a wolf spider, carrying all her babies…

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I almost missed the katydid…

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Sometimes I just ride around the park looking for critters…

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I definitely think the snapping turtle was “barking up the wrong tree”. You truly never know what you are going to come across. Yesterday, I was out kayaking with a friend and spotted this…

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This billy goat watched us until we rounded the point, as if daring us to try and dock on HIS ground. And he was waiting for us when we came back…

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No critters were harmed in the writing of this post, with one exception. My final critter encounter ended in the untimely demise of a black widow spider…

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I just can’t have her living in the wood pile. Since she seemed very protective of her egg sac, I felt it was unlike she would move on of her own accord.

What kinds of critters have you encountered?

Getting to Work

Friday and Saturday nights, you will find Steve “patrolling” Wind Point Park in his golf cart. He escorts new arrivals to their site, sprays around their rig for ants (more about them later), picks up trash, cleans the public restrooms and enforces the rules. Overall, it is a pretty easy gig. One night, he came across a couple guys with an axe. They were trying to chop down a tree for firewood. Um, NO! Other than that, it’s pretty quiet here. Peaceful.

Spraying for ants could be a full time job by itself. Argentine ants are a huge problem here. Just look at Diesel’s food container…

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It was in the storage compartment under Waldo (with the lid on!) The ants are everywhere. I took this short video clip along the water’s edge…

The only up side about these ants is they have displaced the fire ants. Other than that, they are a real pest!

I’ve been getting my training in the office, learning campground management software and all the specifics of this park. The park is in the middle of a management shift. The current manager has been here 2 years and will be leaving in November. I love the fact several of the workampers have been here long term. I think it really speaks to the overall happiness of the work environment. Here I am, hard at work manning the desk…

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The second week we were here, the owner (Ryan), threw a hello/goodbye barbecue for all the park employees. Most of us had already met, but it was a fun way of formally being introduced.  One of the lawn maintenance guys brought his smoker and all I can say is mmmmmmmmm…

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There was enough food to feed a small army…

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Nobody went hungry, that’s for sure…

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After the meal, we all went out and played corn hole…

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We are enjoying our new lifestyle! Meeting great people, learning new skills and getting to explore our new “home for now”.

Thanks for coming by. My next post will be about our recent return visit to Sulphur Springs.