When I received the email as an official Fair Fan a few weeks ago, I got such a lump in my throat. This year's Missouri State Fair slogan is 'Growing Great Memories' oh so appropriate! I just love it and I have been thinking about blogging this since I saw it and for some reason today I just couldn't get my mind off of it.
For me Missouri State Fair holds so many memories. As a child I remember going to the fair for a day. All the sights and sounds overwhelm my senses if I just close my eyes and remember back. As a child you just suffered through all the walking through a million buildings that you could care less about for that finale of the day, the Midway! The tilt a whirl, the fun houses, the 'Himalaya' and I could go on and on.
Then there are State Fair concerts, some of the early ones I remember are Beach Boys (my mom and dads favorite) Alabama (Randy Owens was a first crush I think) and as the years went on Hank Jr. and of course my man George Strait.
There were the years that I went for several days with my BFF Michelle, we stayed with her Grandparents in their camper. Explored the fair for the first time by ourselves. Went to see T Graham Brown in the Bud Tent, we thought we were cool to be there, since we were about 14, LOL.
As I got older in HS went a few years with friends and a boyfriend or two, more concerts, the Midway............but little did I know what a special place the Missouri State Fair would hold in my heart and that place was getting ready to firmly plant itself in my soul as my journey to 'growing up' was about to conclude.
At the end of my Senior Year in HS I started dating David. His family has a great heritage of times spent at the State Fair, although their experience was much different than my own, I soon learned to love and look forward to that change in my life.
MSF of 1989, is where it all officially began. Just a week before the fair, I began college at NWMSU, in Maryville, MO. I have no idea what possessed me to think that a college four hours away from was a wise choice (okay yeah I do know, but not going there) But alas, I had just spent my first week at college and was missing my sweetie something awful. So Akemi (my roommate, now my relative) and I drove from Maryville down to the fair. Us two 'town/city' girls got broke into what being a state fair exhibitor was like. A world within the fair that neither of us had ever known. Fun times amongst our group that camped together from water fights at the wash racks, short sheeting beds, the famous drop a rubber spider in front of people walking through the barns and so much more. We had the greatest time at the fair that year. I was hanging out with my sweetie and conveniently his cousin Dale Toedebusch was there as well and Kem and Dale met (the rest wasn't history till the next weekend when I had car trouble driving back to school and they came to rescue me, but thats a whole 'nother story)
I really couldn't say if it was the last night there or not, but one night while walking around the fairgrounds with David, we decided to rest/sit for awhile. Now David grew up going to the fair and he knows his way around the fairground fairly well. Packed fairgrounds no place to sit.......nope not a problem. So as we sat on some FFA kids' trailer/fair exhibit we talked about life, love and other stuff. I was painfully homesick and really hating the choice that I had made to be away from home and him. And while sitting there on that flat bed trailer, David said the words that would forever change both of our lives. That night he told me how much he loved me and reassured me that that fact would never change and then said the words I will get down on one knee right here and propose right now if you need me to. I knew I loved him for about three months before that, was pretty sure I wasn't going anywhere away from him wither for about that long, but that moment in time will forever be etched in my mind. It wasn't the official proposal, that happened about 4 months later. But that memory to me is almost as precious.
Well by the time State Fair rolled around the next year, we were 'old married folk' celebrating our one month anniversary right there at the fair! :) For the next few years we went with David's sisters for at least part of the time that they were up there showing or met friends and attended more concerts (shout out here to Mark and Tammi Miller, wasn't Huey Lewis a great concert?)
State Fair time 1994 was a time of great anticipation for us, Cody was due at anytime. That is the only year since we've married that we didn't go at all. I was swollen up like a tick and sitting at home in the air conditioner with my feet up was about my favorite hobby. The next 8 years saw us attend the fair anywhere from a day to several days. There was a year in there that saw me as a very pregnant State Fairgoer when Sam was on the way. Many more memories of fun times spent in the cattle barns, sitting around camp, Sam's first tractor pull, where in utero he didn't care for the vibrations coming from the loud engines.
As the years went by there was sort of a changing of the guard, David's sisters got 'too old' to exhibit just as Cody got old enough to exhibit. Our first year at the State Fair as a cattle exhibiting family was spent with a 8 yr old, his 2 hiefers, lil brother who enjoyed playing with his tractors in the sand of the floor of the barn and our lil bucket baby.
Jenna was 9 mos. old and not walking and was SO LITTLE it was really kinda hard to find a good place for her to enjoy the fair. As a joke one day David stood her in a 5 gallon bucket and she loved it. She was little enough that she could sit down in the bucket and play with a toy or stand up and be cute for all the passersby. Within probably half a day word spread and Bucket Baby of the Angus Barn stole the show from all of the high dollar black hided exhibits. She was a star!
There have been so many more memories at the Missouri State Fair. I think of the ones with my kids as the most precious. Taking the stroller to the shower house when I had two very little ones to get bathed. Cooking supper at the camp which was right by the cattle tie-outs and smiling proudly as practically every exhibitor who was exercising their cattle would stop by and ask when supper would be ready. We have our State Fair friends, ones that it seems like we never get around to seeing but during that week of our pilgrimmage to the fair. There are so many traditions that are engrained in the souls of myself, my husband and our kids that absolutely personify 'Growing Great Memories' that makes that lump in my throat all the bigger. Four months from today we will be packing up and heading to fair. The fair is full of endings like the show season and summer and beginnings with the school year right after and definitely full of memories.
Wiping a tear which seems to be a regular occurance while blogging,