State fair bites and circus delights 2

On Thursday we went to the SC State Fair with Sabrina, her husband Russ, and their daughter Faith. It was “exceptional citizens day” which means people with disabilities (who are apparently “exceptional”) get in for free.

Brad, Hestia, and I arrived first, just before they opened at 11:00. They had run out of accessible parking, so we had to park on the grass. We parked straight but put out cones to block off the space next to us (which would turn out to bite us in the butt later on!). We headed inside and found the scooter rental place near the entrance. Sabrina normally uses a manual wheelchair but wanted to rent an electric scooter for the fair to get around easier.

The guy behind the desk at the rental place was a hoot and it was really fun talking with him. When Sabrina arrived, Hestia was very excited to see Indy! They rented their scooter and we walked a little ways into the fair. Faith wanted a corndog right away, so we got that and decided where to go first.

In the pictures, I am in my power wheelchair and wearing pink and red with a red hat. Hestia the Japanese Chin has a purple vest on. Brad is wearing a postage stamp blazer. Sabrina is in a scooter wearing a jean jacket. Indy the Golden Retriever has on a teal harness. Russ is wearing blue. Faith has on an animal print cardigan.

Next we headed into the sand sculpture building. Sabrina stopped to let some police officers love on Indy. Then we headed to the back to see a Goldilocks-themed sand sculpture that was really impressive! Brad also got some shots of us heading to our next stop along our fair journey.

Next we visited the livestock area. This ended up being a very challenging area for us. I’ve always gone to the fair with Hestia, whom I hold when we’re in the livestock areas.

Our first building was the cow barn. Most of the cows were fine with Indy walking through, but some of the cows were fairly worried about her. Indy was worried about the cows who were worried about her! So after doing a bit of cow barns, we realized that really wasn’t the safest thing for everyone. You see, the cows were just tied to the wall with their butts facing the aisles we were walking down. The cows could have easily kicked us, and there was no place for us to get away from the cows or give them more room.

The rabbit and bird barn was better! Indy was very interested in the rabbits, but was really good around the birds. Hestia really got excited about a turkey that kept gobbling and she really wanted to look closely at whatever was making that noise!

They had lots of beautiful pigeons and chickens! Faith was looking to add to her brood, so there was much discussion about which ones were the best. At the end of the barn they had baby ducks on a water slide! In the end, Faith decided to get some baby ducks instead of chickens.

We didn’t have time to finish the livestock area—there were still the petting zoo (which we didn’t plan to visit with Indy anyway), and the sheep and pig barns. We realized we needed to get over to the circus!

Yes, there was a real-life, one-ring circus at the fair! They did two one-hour shows per day, and we wanted to be sure to catch the first one. Last time we went, there was extremely limited wheelchair seating and they ended up turning some wheelchair users away. So we wanted to be among the first in line!

We were among the first in line, but this year they didn’t have anyone directing people as to where to sit, nor controlling where people left their wheelchairs. Brad and I headed straight for the wheelchair platform which is in the front row. Sabrina put her scooter right behind us so that Russ could sit next to her in the regular seats. It was a perfect location for us! However, no other wheelchair user was told about the wheelchair seating area, so they all stopped and mostly blocked the main aisles. It was really good we arrived early, because we watched as there were wheelchair traffic jams all around the walkway.

The first few acts weren’t my favorites. They had a clown who was actually dressed in a suit doing pretend magic tricks. He was fairly funny. Then they had an opening number and a really high up thing where a motorcycle went around on a small circle track and women hung off the other side doing acrobatics. Only everything was so high and right above our heads that it was hard to see it happening.

The next act was more exciting. Two roller skaters, a man and a woman, were dressed entirely in white and skating in circles on a very small maybe 6 or 8 ft across platform. They did all kinds of daring things where the woman was swinging from the man’s arms, swinging upside-down, from a rope, etc. It was really cool to watch and they were very skilled!

Next up was Brad’s favorite act. They lowered a rope to the ground, but the bottom half of the rope had a pole hanging straight down from it. A woman held onto the rope/pole as it was lifted up in the air and she did an absolutely stunning acrobatic act! She danced around a lot and also showed some incredible athleticism as she held interesting and complicated poses using her body strength. These are some of my favorite pictures of the fair! Brad was happy he brought his lens filters to add special effects to the lights.

Next there were a few acts that were fun, but I wasn’t as excited about. They had a “dangerous woman” dressed in black who used a whip and a crossbow with skill to hit various objects. The clown came on again and pretended to shoot arrows around a blindfolded man’s body. And then there was a trapeze artist who might have been a little unsure of herself at this point.

My favorite act was the last one. It was a magician who dressed and acted very disaffected. But he had a spectacular routine and I couldn’t figure out how he did his tricks! It was a lot of his assistants being locked in boxes and having poles go through them or disappearing. I really liked it a lot! Then there was a farewell act with all the performers, where several made hand-hearts and blew kisses to Hestia. It was a really great circus and we had a wonderful time. It was probably the best part of our day at the fair!

Finally it was food time! We got some roasted corn (courtesy of Sabrina and Russ—as with all of my fair food!), and then Sabrina and Russ got some fried mushrooms! We really enjoyed walking all around the fair looking for various things we might eat! The picnic tables they had there had one end completely open for lots of wheelchair accessibility. It was awesome!

Near where we stopped to eat, there was a quilt display. So we went there next. There were some gorgeous quilts there! Each one told a story and it was really cool to see. Sabrina was in her element LOL! After that, even though we didn’t get pictures of it, we saw the photography exhibits which Brad really enjoyed.

By then it was almost time for Brad and me to leave, but we wanted something a little bit more substantial to eat. So we split up and Russ got pork on a stick for Sabrina and Sabrina and I got Italian sausages for me and Russ. Brad ate his PB&J LOL! It was really fun hanging out and talking and eating until someone came to the stage in the eating area and started playing music. That was our cue to leave!

It was a really fun day at the fair and I can’t wait to do it again next year! We might have to do something different with our parking and cones, though. We put out four small cones and only two were there when we got to our van. One was unretrievable under a car on our non-ramp side (probably blown by the wind), one was missing, and an SUV was parked on our ramp side so Veronica had to pull out the van for Brad to roll in. In the years we’ve been going, they still haven’t figured out they should mark more accessible parking on the disability day!

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