Yesterday we had an abbreviated FFFFD, since I needed to be in the metro area to pick up Kyle (our oldest son) for the weekend and be back in town for dinner with my family at one of our parishioner's homes. I decided we would hit two of the area county fairs in the morning, arriving back home before 1:30 (I needed to make the salad we would take with us in the evening, and then I needed to leave before 2:00 to pick up oldest son).
We began our trek in St. Peter, MN, at the Nicollet County Fair. 10:00 AM at the county fair is not exactly the prime moment for attendance. Only two of the food stands were open, there were few people visiting exhibits or the barns, and there was one dairy judging exhibition in progress. We checked out the 4-H exhibits, wandered through the children's petting barn and several other animal barns before departing by 11:00 AM for the Brown County Fair which is held in New Ulm, MN. Not much bigger than the Nicollet County Fair, the Brown County Free Fair had a little more activity and reflects the cultural history of this part of the state in a more pronounced way. New Ulm (as you can tell from its name) was originally a German settlement more than 150 years ago, and it is a heritage the town continues to capitalize on. At one of the food stands there were numerous ways to order sauerkraut, including a sauerkraut burger, hot dogs with sauerkraut, 2 hots with sauerkraut and bread (a traditional way to eat the stuff) and the like. I smile when I see the ways a community's ethnic heritage is celebrated, so I enjoyed that part.
The best part of our Brown County Free Fair visit, though, was a presentation by the Minnesota Raptor Center. Dominyk especially enjoyed the one-long presentation, and he was especially proud of himself for remaining so settled after the presenter with the birds reminded the audience that wild birds become anxious when there's a lot of distraction. We were able to see and hear about the American kestrel, the great horned owl, the red hawk, and the bald eagle. It was an interesting program and made me feel like I was doing something productive and educational with my kids on this FFFFD (which is always one of the primary goals of the experience).
The interactions of the four kids with me was continually irritating, and I am reminded once more of how good it will be for all of us when school resumes in less than a month. We are all crabby and needing more structure and more time away from home and each other.