This Saturday my daughter achieved one of her most important developmental milestones as a Wisconsinite: She had her first Cream Puff at the Wisconsin State Fair.
My husband had an unexpected day off this past Saturday, so we assembled a well packed diaper backpack, loaded the “all-terrain” Radio Flyer wagon into the back of the car and headed off to Milwaukee to the State Fair.
My daughter was fascinated, and as we pulled her wagon up the hill beyond the carnival area, she kept up a litany of “oohs” and “ahhs” punctuated by an excited “Look Mommy!” or “Look Daddy!”
We were a little early so we wandered around the fair ground to the kid’s area in the middle. Pick-n-Save was the day’s sponsor, and they had a bracelet making activity for children, which she thoroughly enjoyed. After she made her bracelet, she hopped back in the wagon and met her first celebrity: The Oreo Cookie.
This nice cookie gave her a package of three Double-Stuff Oreo cookies that she refused to share with Mom or Dad, but did manage to smear all over her face and hands in a matter of seconds. Soon all I could see of her face was crumbly chocolate topped by sunglasses and a purple hat.
Our next stop was the Wisconsin Products Pavilion, where she got a Marquette University tattoo on her arm (the backs of her hands were too covered in cookie crumbs to accommodate a tatoo). We toured some exhibit halls, drank some water, and watched the pigs race (our pig won twice). We had lunch at Saz’s, or my husband and I did—offered some of the best BBQ in Wisconsin, my daughter opted for peanut butter cheese crackers instead.
Then we explored the barnyard exhibit, where she was fascinated by the sow and her nine piglets. She said “Ni hao” to the cow, which was also “very big,” and she stood captivated by the little ducklings, trying to determine which one was Ming Ming. To give her a real experience of scale, we went straight from the ducklings to the Clydesdales across the way.
She asked for and got a maraca, which she was shaking and tapping for the rest of the day. It was off to the DNR park after that, and she had a blast talking to all of the park rangers, getting to see turtle shells and turkey feathers up close and personal. She saw a special vehicle for fighting fires in swamps—and was quick to point out the crawler tracks to me. She counted the two Great Lakes that border Wisconsin, discovered that our state bird is the Robin and that our state dance is the Polka.
And then we entered the Hall of Cream Puffs. We snaked our wagon through the line, and she stood to look in the windows as Team Cream Puff prepared the magnificent concoctions.
I’ve been to the Wisconsin State Fair three times since I married my husband. He is responsible for introducing me to Cream Puffs. (Forget renewing wedding vows, a cream puff fight is far more effective at making a marriage last.) I’ve enjoyed the fair every time, but I must admit that seeing it through the un-jaded eyes of a two-year-old made it even more fun.
It wasn’t a trip to Disney Land or an expensive shopping trip. Just a day at the fair. A day as a family in the sun and the crowd, in a place for wonderful people watching. It was an exhausting day, but a good one. It was one with pictures and memories, one that her dad and I will be able to tell her about as she grows up—the day she had her first Cream Puff.
© 2009 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.