Friday, August 17, 2007

To stay positive during this involuntary estrangement from my fiancé, I've been enjoying all the things about home that I missed while I was away. I got to go to the Ann Arbor Art Fairs in July, and in another month, there's the Black Swamp Art Festival. And this month, there's the fair.

This is the week of the Pemberville Free Fair--one of the last free fairs in Ohio. The fair is starts with the Kiddie Parade on Wednesday night at 6:30. Kids from all over NW Ohio ride through the parade, and the winners will kick off the Grand Parade on Saturday at 1:00. Nothing about this has changed since I was a kid, and very little has probably changed since my dad was a kid. Even the prize money for the Kiddie Parade winners hasn't changed. (It probably should soon--$10 or even $20 split between four or five kids doesn't go very far.) Oh, wait, it's not true that nothing has changed. When I was a kid, we didn't throw candy at the Kiddie Parade; in fact, I think it was in the rules that you weren't supposed to. Now kids get almost twice the candy--the Grand Parade on Saturday has been a sugar giveaway since I can remember.

The best part of the Kiddie Parade, when you're a kid, is getting to dress up and have people admire you (and your mom's skill, since she's the one who made the costumes to begin with). This is a picture of my cousins, my sister Sarah and me from when we were participants; I think we were on the front page of the newspaper the next day (even though we only got 3rd place). We remember being absolutely miserable in these costumes--I was itchy, Kim was hot, Brandi was hot and could barely move, and Sarah's shoes were too small. But we've all agreed since that this picture was worth the discomfort. One year saw us on a bed/float as Peter Pan (me), Wendy (Brandi), John (Kim), Michael (Sarah) and Tinkerbell (Katie) and several years later as Jem & the Holograms.

But it's fun to watch, too. This year's participants were especially creative and elaborate. Some of our favorites included a police chase, chocolate chip cookies, an old-fashioned ice cream cart, and Portage River pirates: