T'was a balmy afternoon in the beautiful, coastal town of Ventura and a perfect day to take in the sights at the Fair. Although I left the office before 3, it was still bumper to bumper traffic most of the way, but with a beautiful, clear, blue sky above me, tunes on the radio and an afternoon and evening with friends and live music to look forward to, a little traffic wasn't about to dampen my sparkle!
I got to do something today that I don't think I've ever gotten to do. I wandered around the Fair looking at the exhibits I wanted to see, on nobody's timetable but my own and you know what? It was delightful! I first sought out all of Heather's entries, especially her first and second place jewelry!
This set is amazing and it is no wonder that it took first place in its class!! I was surprised, however, that her case took second place, especially after I saw the first place case. It just wasn't up to par with either Heather's pieces or her display, if you ask me! I thought her use of the bone china cups and saucers (which I believe my grandmother brought from Europe) and an assortment of teapots was interesting, clever and set off her pieces well!
She also did well with her baking, cake decorating and costume! I am very, very proud!!!
After wandering the various buildings, visiting the bunnies, sheep and goats and running into my friends, Dezi and Brian in one of the commercial buildings, I headed for the main event and joined my friends, Linda and Paul for an amazing concert by the sea! Thanks to Linda patiently waiting in line, we got really good seats, much closer up than I'm usually able to find! But we were all in such a great, fair going mood anyway, that we would probably have been thrilled, no matter where we ended up! (but closer is definitely better!) Although we saved seats for several people, by the time the concert started, we were able to give up 3 of them because only Cyndee and her friend Lorraine joined us (but of course the best people were there to sing along, dance, and enjoy the party atmosphere together!)
And of course, we all had our phones out, taking pictures of each other, Billy Currington (who brought his dog on stage for one of the songs) and anyone else we might want to save for posterity!
I just love how the artists encourage everyone to sing along and just have a good time! Billy kept us dancing, singing, jumping, clapping and all manner of good time fun for a good hour and a half or better!
I have gone to a lot of concerts over the last few years, but I have to say that some of the most enjoyable have been at the fairgrounds. They don't have all of the wild, amazing stage productions, but the atmosphere is more friendly and relaxed. You know you're going to run into a lot of people you know because it's not only local but affordable. The artists seem to connect with the crowd more and, especially lately, you're not made to feel like a criminal by the Security staff when you walk in the gate!
I'm sure the sounds of the midway, the smell of popcorn, cotton candy and fried Twinkies and livestock mingling in with it all goes a long way towards making the experience so much fun as well. Face it. The kid in me will always love the smaller, local County Fairs with buildings full of home made arts, crafts, flowers, jewelry and an amazing range of collections which say "the local folks are a much a part of the fair as the fair food, the livestock auctions, and, of course, the concerts!"
Added to the chemistry is knowing that after the concerts have all been performed, the same dirt we walked across to find seats for the concert will be smoothed over so people can fill the grandstands to watch the rodeo.
Yes, I ate some food I shouldn't have and missed my gym workout tonight, but I walked around the fair for a good 3 hours, danced my way through the concert and best of all, had a great evening with my friends! Sometimes, you have to realize that the tradeoffs are good for you in different ways, and their health benefits should not be overlooked. The dancing, the camaraderie, the hugs, the joyfulness...are just as important as those gym workouts! In the end, they all come together to improve the human experience!
I'm very glad I made the last minute decision to change my plans. Today was especially good for me after the crazy week I've had and went far in helping to restore my energy and my equilibrium.
I'm learning every day that sharing time with friends is something I've cheated myself out of for quite awhile, and I won't be doing that any more! These ladies and their men are so good for my soul, I feel like my heart has grown to 5 times its normal size! I need to make sure they know how much I appreciate them for what they give to me, freely, lovingly and from their hearts! I have underrated girlfriendship for way too long!
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my girlfriends and for friendships that continue to grow.
2. I am grateful for plans that change.
3. I am grateful for local county fairs with all the simplicity of a local event.
4. I am grateful that my shower will be fixed tomorrow and I will, once again, have hot, high pressure showers! (it really is the simple things!)
5. I am grateful that I made it through a very challenging week and managed to keep my cool....most of the time!
Love and light.