I’ve been going to this fair all my life. When I was little, my mom’s cousin lived down the street from the fair grounds. He used to come and pick me up in the evening and take his son and me to watch the fireworks from the parking lot. Everyone in town schedules their day at the fair to enjoy the exhibits, animals, food and midway rides.
This year is the 175th anniversary of the Erie County Fair. One of the highlights was a demonstration by Nik Wallenda, a local celebrity for his historic tightrope walk across Niagara Falls in 2012, check out this link of his walk across the falls, it’s great.
We always park outside of gate 2 and the Nya:Weh Indian Village. They are part of the Seneca Nation which is part of six in the Iroquois Nation. We read about this powerful, organized nation last year in our history book. Much of the geography in Western New York has Iroquois names. The town my mom lives in is West Seneca and our high school teams are the Indians.
Today was a special day at the fair. Celebrating the 175th anniversary, the midway had free rides for an hour and a half. I was more excited than the kids because they usually buy a wrist band giving them unlimited rides all day. The only ride I like is the Ferris Wheel.
When I was a kid the fair had a sky ride and a double Ferris Wheel which was two separate wheels rotating as well as unit that attached them to each other. The regular Ferris Wheel is still fun. The view from the top made the fairgrounds look small, even though my tired feed didn’t believe it.
In Roman and Medieval times the fair was a holiday. Traditionally in America the fair is a place to show produce and animals, new products and offer entertainment.
The 911 Standing Tall exhibit by Steel Crazy Iron Art was on display as a fund raiser. This sculpture has been on display all over Western New York since Sept 11, 2011 at the Niagara Falls Air Force Base, soliciting funds to create a 3 acre sculpture park in Buffalo.
Every year we look forward to the Peking Acrobats show. At the top of their Facebook page they thank both the Erie County Fair and the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, CA. That’s cool, we live in Orange County, CA but never see them perform there because we’re always here in Buffalo during the OC fair.
Today only, to celebrate the 175th anniversary, many of the food vendors offered items for $1.75. We had funnel cakes, cotton candy, french fries, pizza, French Waffles, and by then we were so sugared up and full of grease we couldn’t remember eating anything else.
Ahh, the favorite ride of the day is always the foot vibrator.
After a great morning with Amy and Maria Evancho (Amy and I were neighbors as kids and we reconnected when the girls played during the summers), we met up the Kelly Parker and her family (Kelly and I met when we were 13 and now get together daily when we’re in town for the summer. My maid of honor too!).
As you can see by the way we’re covered up, the weather turned chilly. Normally, we’re all sweaty and sunburned looking for places to fill the water bottles.
The girls got wrist bands, $20 with a coupon from the grocery store, for unlimited rides all day.
A few days later we returned for the Demolition Derby.
As with all sporting events the Demolition Derby started with the National Anthem sung by Douglas Allen, the Anthem Guy. His biography is great, he graduated from a local high school the same year I did, went to college to be a music teacher, goofed off, had fun and now sings for sporting events, gatherings for public holidays, weddings, funerals, church camps and most important he sings for Jesus at the Fellowship Wesleyan Church in West Seneca. Like our favorite California Church, Sea Coast Grace, the Fellowship Wesleyan Church offers sermons online, no need to leave home to listen to how Jesus wants to be in your life.
There were 8 heats with different categories. They started out with drivers who never participated in a Demolition Derby and went up through professionals on tour.
The cars started by lining up back to back for a style judging. Some of the cars were painted and decorated with themes ranging from cancer awareness, to princesses and snowmen.
The cars tried to smash the rear ends avoiding the radiators and other important parts under the hood. Occasionally flames would shoot out from the front end and the firemen would rush out there to put out the fire.
At the end of the show we got lost leaving the Grandstand and exited through a room we hadn’t seen. We were really bummed that everything was closing down and we didn’t have time to explore this room.
They had quilts, table settings, flower arrangements, paintings and photography, antiques and crafts.
This paint dripping exhibit with 175 for the fair anniversary gave us some ideas for leftover paint.
Then when we exited the building a crowd was gathering for a laser light show. Marie scooted to the front and found a seat despite Roy’s insistence that we should go home. It was a great show!
All kinds of characters that we recognized were set to motion with music. Beautiful colors and kaleidoscope patterns combined with music from the generations got everyone dancing, singing or just rocking in their seat. Thanks to Genny and her new collection of pop music I was able to recognize the new music as well. You know “What does the fox say!” and how about “Roar”.
The finale was a tribute to America with scenes from 911, the moon landing, and famous art and sculptures celebrating America.
Buffalo was once a great steel town with industries along the lake and transportation for all of these manufactured goods that made money contributing to the national economy. Now most of it is gone and sent to places where the labor is cheaper. But people of my generation remember how our parents and grandparents worked in that industry and there is still a very strong sense of pride for the American worker.
What else did we do, how about trying to join the “I thought I killed the Van” club. About 15 years ago, my brother borrowed the van to take a California Road trip, the screws came out of the cabinets in the back, the air conditioner stopped cooling the stories could keep a crowd entertained for an evening. Recently our pals borrowed the van for a road trip and the transmission blew up on them. So it really wasn’t a surprise when after driving the van all morning on errands it decided not to start for one last errand. I had Eric on the speaker phone tracing wires and using the volt meter (which is about as foreign to me as a scalpel in an operating room). By morning I decided to try hot wiring it by touching a cable from the battery to the starter solenoid. Wowsie, it started. The kids and I danced around the driveway, the van could go to the mechanic under its own power.
He found a corroded connection to the transmission/ignition area, cleaned it up and we were off to the movies with all the kids in the neighborhood. Yesterday I took the van into a tire shop to have it’s tires rotated and the guy there said he loves working on out of state vehicles and ours is in great condition. Huh? This is about a vehicle that has an “I thought I killed the van” club. Thanks guys, you made the van happy.
The van also transported a gaggle of girls to Savers thrift store for dressup clothes. Everyone got beautiful formal wear at half the price you would pay for a Disney costume made for a toddler. We’re planning a formal wear party for the fall.
We also had a great evening at Jim and Ania’s house celebrating my brother’s birthday. Normally we’re in Canada on our fishing trip for his birthday, but this year we all cancelled so one of our fishing mates could recover from a health issue. It was a fun evening with family and a few of his neighbors that dropped by. Ania always makes some delicious Polish treat while we show up with a supply of smore ingredients and little sausages.
Other land activities we’ve been enjoying are things like laying around on the floor with dogs piled all around us.
Or how about using the curling iron. Eric would have great anxiety if he saw a heating element like a curling iron come aboard to suck up Makai’s batteries.
Marie has new neighborhood friends. Last year several houses on the street turned over and new families moved in. Miranda, Christina, and Jesse are on one side of the street and little Olivia is on the other side. Marie loves playing with Olivia, she’s so cute!
Miranda and Marie spent the day at Olivia’s birthday party, the weather was chilly, but the pizza was hot.
The weather has its ups and downs, some days it’s chilly and others we’re out at the pool swimming with the pups.
Really, the dogs own this pool. They enjoy it more than anyone else, the two of them are nose to nose at the opening of the gate. When the gate opens there is some sort of a competition for who can get to the water first. They push and shove each other racing the 8 feet from the gate to the water and then leap in. The People take turns standing at the stairs and throwing toys to keep the pups out of trouble in the pool.
The pool sounds great, but mom is tired of taking care of it. Pools are very common in WNY but they can only be used in July and August when the night time temps are warm keeping the pool water temp from dipping too low for people to enjoy their swim. Also, the pool requires chemicals, testing, cleaning and structural maintenance. This pool is over 20 years old and while it works great today, at anytime it could fall apart.
So Mom decided to have it removed. We called a guy that said he has someone who would love a free pool, drain it and he’ll be there Saturday morning to haul everything away.
But when he arrived he decided it was too old to take down and reassemble. OH BOY, it’s drained, we can’t use it, and he’s not going to take it! I mentioned that if he had come a day earlier to tell us he didn’t want it, we wouldn’t have drained it and we could still use it until the end of the summer. He said this and that, I said a that and this and then I suggested that he get in his truck and leave as quickly as he could because we didn’t want this 2 minute conversation to go on any longer.
What to do now? Roy and I got out screw drivers and started to take it apart. We called Jim to come and help rescue us and by the time he arrived the pool was rolled up and stacked in the driveway.
Jim came with power tools and safety gear, a bagster (dumpster in a bag) and we got to work.
By the end of the day all pool related items were out front and there was nothing left to do but deal with the gravel, sand and mud. The girls decided to make it a spa day.
Jim and I decided to drink beer and think about what to do next. A few days later we borrowed a pick up truck and took the metal to be recycled. The recycling place said that ours was the third pool that day. Later we delivered the filter, heater and stairs to Kelly. Now we’re left with cleaning up the gravel and sand, then spreading topsoil and planting seed. I alternate working on this project with other projects like replacing the wooden thresholds on the porch, yard work, van maintenance, and homeschooling of course.
The day after demolition we joined Jim and Ania and cousin Patryk at the Elmwood Festival of the Arts. The street was lined with vendors selling artsy crafts, beautiful jewelry, pottery, clothes, paintings and photos.
There were also two music stages and a kids area with crafts and games.
At 4pm the parade came by which was about 20 feet long and consisted of band instruments, clowns and people on stilts.
They headed to the stage at the end of the street for dancing and speeches closing the festival.
At 5pm the mounted police rode up and down Elmwood Ave. announcing first that the festival was over and then that everyone had to get on the sidewalk.