You may have noticed that last Friday’s blog post seemed to lack a little something…like being there. I apologize for that, but Thursday started our state fair here in Wisconsin. I have been attending this festival ever since I was born in 1975. Around 1996, I made a decision that was rather unique to me back then. If I really enjoyed every time I went to the State Fair, why not go as often as I could. In this case, that would be 11 days as that is how long our state fair lasts. Beginning that year I have done just that very thing. The Wisconsin State Fair became my annual vacation. I take those days off from my day job and make every effort to have other obligations either rescheduled or taken care of.
I have received my fair share of flack for this decision over the years. People ask me such questions as how do I not get bored going every day, how do I manage to afford it and certainly questions about the health aspects of such an adventure. These are all valid concerns and here are some quick answers. Doing something you love rarely tends to become boring. Doing it 11 days straight, for almost 20 years can bring that into possibility. For me, this has never been a problem. As a personal characteristic, I cannot remember the last time I was bored. It is a fact that if I had 3 lifetimes I could not do all that I wanted to do. Involving different people in my life makes each experience new and different. Margie likes to see bands and shop. My mother, she likes the baby animals and doing the garden and art walks. Everyone loves to explore new and exciting foods. Trying them makes each yea, and sometimes day, different and exciting. I learned I can apply this to anything I enjoy in my life. Going for coffee with my mom is one experience. Doing the very same thing with my friend Nick is something different entirely.
Another question was how do I afford going to the fair every year? Several ways. They all involve planning ahead of time. In about April, they begin to sell tickets at a discounted price. This saves me $5 a day. They also have coupon books available. I purchased one for $4 and if I use the ones I plan to, that will save me a total of $70 on food, drink and items throughout the 11 days. It is also using my time there to discover where and what presents the best deals. Nachos may be a dollar cheaper at one stand, but you may get twice as much at another. I turn it into a fun game. Thinking of the different foods and drink and where is the best place to go.
Speaking of food, another concern, often voiced by my doctor, is the health aspects of spending 11 days eating fair food. I’ll be the first to agree this is not the healthiest 11 days I spend in a year, but there are several factors to consider here as well. The first being that this is an exception and not the rule. As Margie, Amanda, my mother and myself were sampling several of the new foods for a review on Chow Down in Milwaukee (which I will link at the end of this post) We all discussed how we do not normally consume fried food (Like the fried fish fry above, which was rather delicious) Another tip is while finding the best value at the state fair, I also look for several healthier options. There is a gluten-free stand for those that need those foods. There is a stand that serves grilled chicken over a bed of rice. Snacks such as dried tart cherries and cranberries can be found among all of the chocolate and fudge. Same holds true with beverages. You can always find soda, beer and cocktails. You can however find water, juice and even a stand for a business named Urbal Tea that serves…you guessed it, herbal tea. Not only healthier option, but refreshing one as well. Couple these tricks with the incredible amount of walking I do and a trip to the Wisconsin State Fair is not as unhealthy as it could be.
When you find something that does not harm you or others that you enjoy in life, I recommend incorporating it as much as you can. There are ways to make it exciting, economical and healthy. Try doing it with different people and notice how that can expand your enjoyment. You may notice things that escaped your attention. Find ways in which it can be planned and maybe done more economically. This could involve purchasing tickets ahead of time like I do, or joining and organization, going in with others or a host of other ideas. Find ways to make it healthier too. Is there a particular run/walk you do every year? Maybe get a group of friends to start training with you. Whatever it is you enjoy in life, think of ways in which you cannot only do it more, but do it better. I would love to hear what activities you enjoy doing every year.