Karina Bland is on vacation. This column first ran October 25, 2009:
When I was a teenager, my dad and I went to the Arizona State Fair together, starting an annual tradition that would last into my early 30s when he died of cancer.
Dad’s motto at the fair: “If it moves, ride it; if it’s on a stick, eat it.”
We ate corn dogs, egg rolls, fried zucchini and ice cream dipped in chocolate off sticks.
When I wanted a big dill pickle, but it wasn’t on a stick, Dad sweet-talked the lady into skewering one.
Those trips to the State Fair with my dad are among my favorite memories of him. Yet I recently realized that I’d never taken my son, 10-year-old Sawyer, to the fair.
Oh, don’t call Child Protective Services. Sawyer hasn’t been to the fair because we usually go to Disneyland when he’s on fall break from school.
“This is really amazing, Mom, really amazing,” Sawyer kept saying as we walked the midway. I tell him that his grandpa used to say, “It’s more fun than you can shake a pickle-on-a-stick at.”
There are rides every place you look. The smell is incredible, a mix of frying oil, barbecue, waffle cones and, when you get close to the barns, manure. Carnival workers call us to throw a dart, toss a ring, throw a ball!
In the barns, we petted sheep and ran from a llama that was preparing to spit at us. In the exhibit hall, we tried on cheap sunglasses, sampled fudge and got my ring cleaned.
Before we left, we rode the Skyride from one end of the fairgrounds to the other, watching the people below, just like I used to end the night with my dad.
“This is really great!” Sawyer says, swinging his feet. He grins at me and adds, “More fun than you can shake a pickle-on-a-stick at.”
Reach Karina at email@example.com or 602-444-8614. Read more at karinabland.azcentral.com.