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Making memories, just in time.

Today is a sad day for most Texans (and I’m sure fans in other states as well). This morning, during the last week of his 60th birthday celebration at the State Fair of Texas Big Tex caught on fire.

When I first found out, I was shocked and saddened. I haven’t been to the fair many times, but when I think of the State Fair the first two things I think of are fried food, and Big Tex.

I am so thankful that we got to go and take our kids this year. In fact, we were just there yesterday.

It was a *cough* fun *cough* family day.

My husband doesn’t like crowds. My daughter didn’t get excited about anything except cotton candy, and the “big man with the hat”. The Boy just wanted to be free to run. I was just thrilled to be there.

The very first thing we did was take pictures with Big Tex.

Then we bought cotton candy.

We watched the Jump! Dog Show (well O and I watched the dog show, My Precious had to exit right before it started with The Boy – he just wanted to be free and run around).

We fed and petted animals in the barnyard.

We saw the marionette show (sorry no pictures there).

We ran into some dear friends and got to FINALLY meet the newest addition to their family.

We watched birds fly… well My Precious, and O watched birds fly, I chased The Boy around.

She would NOT take that hat off all day long! This is Texas sweetie, it gets warm here… 🙂

We tried to hang out in the Food and Fibre building, but the crowds were a bit much for all of us. My sweet O wanted to ride The Texas Star so bad, but I was worried about her getting in there and getting scared – maybe when she is a little older.

Gluten Free at “The Fried Food Capital of Texas” – it can be done.

If you’ve been reading my blog, or if you know us “for real” then you should also know that in June my husband decided to go Gluten Free. Hmmm…. Gluten free at “The Fried Food Capital of Texas”? Yes folks, it can be done. In fact, our friends informed us of a place where we could get “street tacos” for only 4 tickets ($2) each, AND coffee for just 1 ticket ($0.50) – WINNER WINNER for my GF-coffee-drinkin’-man! (For more info on going GF at the State Fair check out my friends blog, or this link.

Saving Moo-lah.

Money is crazy tight right now (gotta love getting paid once a month…), but the wonderful folks I babysit for paid me early so we could have the extra money to go – they are great! However since money was scarce, we packed a picnic bag full of bottles of water (with straws for the kids, so we didn’t have to keep up with their cups), *fake* peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and lots of snacks. Yes, you can bring stuff into the fair. Since my precious has gone GF, I didn’t want to eat that yummy goodness in front of him (he really was sad that he couldn’t partake in that fried deliciousness) so that helped save money. We avoided the Midway (kids are only 3 and 1), and only participated in free activities. We also went on a Thursday which means $6 admission with an empty 20 ounce Coke bottle. (Coca-Cola brand people, I know here in Texas they are all “cokes”.)

So how much?

We did the fair for a total of: $44 – the bulk of that was parking and admission.

Parking: $15 (We could have saved about $10 by parking farther away and walking, but I wasn’t comfortable trying to tote both kids across all that traffic. There were lots of families doing it though – thumbs up to you!)
Admission: $18 (see above for how we saved money on that)
Coupons: $10 = 20 coupons (one thing I LOVE about the fair is that everything cost “coupons”, this way you just purchase them and it keeps money in one location, and you’re not constantly pulling out your wallet. This covered the cost of O’s cotton candy {9 coupons!}, and my husbands street tacos and coffee. We also came home with 2 coupons, I’ll put them in the scrapbook.)
Feed at the Barnyard: $1 😀

So there you have it. That is how we took a family of four to the State Fair of Texas for less than $50 (gas not included.) I’m sure there are people who can do it for less, but this was our first time going as a family so we are learning. All in all I think we had a great day. The kids (and parents) were worn out when we left.

And to Big Tex…. We had no idea when we left the fair yesterday that you would be gone less than 24 hours later. They say you’ll be back “Bigger and Better” in 2013. We plan on seeing you then!

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