Posts Tagged ‘Mayfest’

Mayfesting our Saturday away.

May 8, 2017

Saturday was Mayfest, a carnival held down on the river in the cultural district. There are rides and games and several music stages. Bee’s After Care program (all of them in the city, in fact) were putting on a show on one of the stages. Since Bee is the captain of the step team, the After Care director had been asking me since Christmas if Bee was going to be there. She knows we’re responsible and that many kids flake out and don’t show up to Mayfest because: traffic. The traffic is a nightmare. Last time we went, it took two hours to make a 20 minute drive.

So I wasn’t really looking forward to Mayfest, because on top of the lovely drive ahead of me, I also still had my bronchitis to deal with. My plans had been to just cuddle up with a book in bed and never change out of my pajamas. But: Mayfest. It was my Ex’s weekend; I could have laid Mayfest at his feet. But they had other plans and it was important to me after promising the director all year that Bee be there. And Bee’s best friend’s dad wasn’t able to take her and her mom was working, so now we were bringing Zari*, too.

So, Saturday rolls around and I pick up Bee-girl and then Zari. We headed out to the festival two hours early because I was a little paranoid about parking, and we wanted to have time for some carnival food and maybe a ride before we had to meet up with the group to practice.

And you know what happened, don’t you? Traffic was a piece of cake. I face worse traffic coming home from work every day. Sigh. So we enjoyed our extra time. We found the stage where we’d be performing and checked out all the rides and food tents (because the ground were laid out in a circle and our stage was the very last one). Then we all grabbed ice cream and drinks because 86°, all the sunshine, and we were all in pants. (Whoops.)

Then, because I’m a good mama who likes to let loose every once in awhile, we splurged on more than a few rides:

The girls loved the bungee jumps (and that’s good, because it was the most expensive ride there!). They did flips and jumps and I have no idea how they had energy left to stomp after all the jumping! They also demanded video, so I didn’t have memory left on my phone to get pictures of the rest of the rides. (They’re all on Bee’s phone and I haven’t gotten them from her yet.) They did a Superman-type ride where they laid down and did a tilt-o-whirl type thing on their stomachs like they were flying. (EESH!) They did the really high swings. They did a mirror maze that I thought looked fun and crazy enough that I’d have to go in there after them, but they were pretty good. [Bee-girl even said to me when we were pulling into the driveway that she hoped I wasn’t too lonely waiting while she and Zari were on all the rides. What a sweet girl to think of that!] The girls had a blast and I enjoyed being able to give them a bit of fun while we waited for the group to get there.

We also stuffed ourselves with food (ice cream, funnel cakes, roasted corn, turkey legs, beer, and so many cold sodas) and took advantage of all the freebies. And I have to say – the festival was really wonderful at having enough to do without spending tickets! (I guess to make up for $3 drinks?) There was a splash station, give-aways and free treats (we all got apples, yogurt, and won tshirts, towels, and sunglasses), and a stilt-walking station that gave lessons. The girls were surprisingly adept at stilts! I was amazed that after a time or two, they were walking up and down the walkway without a single falter! Their favorite freebie tent, though, was the art show.

Mayfest2

We spent a good half-hour in there, cooling off and examining technique on all of the drawings. They looked for and found their classmates entries, and Bee lamented that she hadn’t entered. (Her obsession with art mediums – especially drawing – has grown recently and I’m starting to wonder if art won’t play a larger role in her life. She has an aunt and a great-uncle who are both professionals, so there’s a strong possibility!)

After the art tent, it was time to wander back to the reason we were Mayfesting to begin with – the dance competition. The girls were impressed with the few shows we got to watch (I loved the traditional Mexican folk dancers), and they killed it when it was their turn!

You could see their faces light up when they heard the audience gasp and cheer them on. No one else had done anything outside of traditional “dancing” since it was a dance competition. But stepping is what our school wanted to do, and so that’s what they did, and I’m proud of them for it. I don’t think they won anything more than a participation ribbon, but they weren’t in it for a prize. It was wonderful to see my flighty, funky, hilarious little spazz monkey get up there and shout out the call-outs and lead the steppers with a loud, commanding voice and confidence in every movement.

It was a good, good day. Even if I went through three travel-packs of tissues and got a little sunburnt. I wasn’t planning on walking around a carnival for four hours, but I’m glad I got to spend some more time with my squinky, and that I got to give her a day of fun with her friend. Not a bad Saturday at all!

 

*Not her real name.

Saturdays filled with sunshine and sneakiness (Part 2).

May 7, 2013

We were off! We successfully navigated two-hours worth of science fun, we had lunch (surprisingly fairly priced) at the museum cafe, and Gracie had changed into her spandex shorts, bright yellow t-shirt, and yellow tutu. And no one even stopped us as we walked out the door. I kept waiting for someone to accuse us of using their parking and stealing away to Mayfest. Maybe bright yellow tutus are a little more common in the cultural district than I think. Maybe our blue member-admission wristbands were part invisibility cloak – who knows. I just know that we walked out the side door and down the alley-ish street between the convention center and the stock show buildings and no one busted us. Man, did that sunshine feel good!

I am, however, totally blaming that “Quick! Let’s bust out of here before we’re noticed!” mindset on why I didn’t stop to take a picture of the signs that pointed the way to the gun show. Yes, only in Texas will you find a gun show adjacent to the city’s largest carnival and annual open-air funtimes. Because HOW COULD THAT GO WRONG. Ahem.

So on and on we walked, and Bee whined for the first time that she was tired of walking, when we came to the major road that stands between the convention center/museum grounds and the park. Now, if I had’ve crossed the busy, busy street on the other side of the side street we were on, I would have noticed the throngs of people walking from the field across the street down the secret side road to the fair grounds. Instead, I thought the cross walk down the road a ways looked more promising. Which is how we came to take a half-mile detour through the botanic gardens. It wasn’t that bad, and the kids were troopers, and we did get to see some very nice flowers and trees and irate guards. Oh, yeah – him. We had taken the path through the gardens so we weren’t walking right on the busy, busy street. Then we had to cut back out to the street through their parking lot, past the guard in his little shack near the parking lot entrance. I know he was just doing his job, but he was convinced that I had parked in their lot and was stealing it for Mayfest. I kept denying it and eventually had to show him our magical blue bracelets to confund him. I mean, to explain. When we got out to the road, I saw that what I thought was a cop stationed there crossing people over was actually a motorcycle cop waiitng for a funeral procession, and that the lights we had been at were the best place to cross. Good thing we’re god at adventuring.

So! Back we walked, with minimal complaining – good thing it was so nice outside – and eventually we arrived at the fairgrounds. And what better way to revive our spirits than to find this as soon as we walked in:

llama

LLAMA! I immediately texted Kim because she has a thing for llamas. It’s…a long story. Anywho. We used our Marauder’s Map to find a ticket booth to procure some coupons (oh, they are using the sneakiness, too, to get us to spend more money) and walked allllll three miles across the fair grounds to find Gracie’s stage. While we waited, we walked through the kid zone that was right next to it and the girls, to their dismay, realized they are too big for the kiddie rides.

Too big

That pictures tricks you into thinking she almost fits. Until she moves and you realize that Bee-girl at some point has grown into all legs and looks quite colt-ish – even when she’s falling off the springy-thing because she is far, far bigger than the little peoples for whom it was designed. We walked around some more and made fun of how many tickets they were charging for the human maze and the bounce house obstacle course and I almost let Bee ride the mechanical bull, except she was just a few inches too short. My girl was hot and tired and feeling very in-between.

So we went back to the dance stage and Bee sat down on the bleachers, mesmerized by the different schools showing off. Gracie and her friends practiced and giggled and acted way too tweenagery for my taste as they huddled off to the side. It was like they didn’t even know us, or something. Hmph. You would think people in bright yellow tutus wouldn’t feel so superior, but them’s the breaks, I guess.

(And here is where I would post the picture of Miss Gracie and her gang, but do you know – I didn’t take one still shot of them all dressed up. D’oh! I have an entire video of their dance, but do  you think I can get a still shot from it this morning? Of course not!)

The Ex was stuck in traffic and missed the show. Ms. G. came through though and showed up with minutes to spare, with her friend who reminds me very much of my cousin Heather. We watched the performance and oh! I was so proud of Gracie and her friends. Even though six students were missing, no one would have known. They hit all of their moves and covered for every person missing. They covered dance moves and filled the stage. I don’t know if Miss Kiki had them practice for that contingency, but no one even mentioned it beforehand, so I guess the girls weren’t worried. They looked so professional up there and they nailed it. They were so proud of themselves, and so was I!

Afterwards, we celebrated with some funnel cake (of course!) and Bee got more of the confectionary sugar on her than she did in her mouth, I think. But I liked the look. Nothing says CARNIVAL! like a kid coated in sugar.

We floated up and down the pathways and eventually made our way over to the rides. Ferris wheels, zip lines, and – our favorite – the bungee jump.

Flying

I have never seen a person so elated as I did Miss Bee on that bungee jump. She was joy personified! Everyone else was doing tiny little somersaults – maybe – but Bee was doing aerial flips and upside down splits and generally making her mama nervous that she was going to run away and join the circus as a trapeze artist. (She could do it, you know – she was that good!). Even the really nice guy who kept giving Bee a boost to get her springing up high again was calling her Tinkerbell by the end. And apparently I’m not biased at all because she got a round of applause at the end. Dude!

So, all in all, it was a successful outing. We were tired and exhausted and worn out by the time we trudged back to the car (even though it was a much shorter walk the way back). We were sunburned a little, though not bad, and best of all the car was still there when we got there. A good, good day. Then again, most days filled with sunshine and sneakiness usually are.

Saturdays filled with sun and sneakiness (Part 1).

May 6, 2013

I have been dreading Mayfest ever since I heard that Gracie’s dance group was performing. Mayfest is a bunch of fun squished into Fort Worth’s fabulous Trinity Park near the Trinity River in downtown’s cultural district. It’s a great place for it…except getting there is horrendous. I made the mistake of trying to go to the zoo (also in the cultural district) one year, not knowing it was Mayfest. I won’t tell you how long we sat on the highway, except that there were tears involved and they weren’t all the girls’.

See why I was a little apprehensive about the whole Mayfest thing? We would be driving towards the chaos and confusion, and to make matters slightly more complicated, Gracie’s group wasn’t performing until 2p that afternoon. We could go early, and hang out for four hours (which, ugh) or we could go at a more normal time and sit and traffic for those same four hours. Yeah, not that difficult a choice.

So I came up with a rather brilliant plan: we have a membership to the science museum. We could hit that when it opened at 10 a.m., use their free parking, and then we could walk the half mile to Mayfest! For the win! It would be a loooong day for the girls, and the whining about the loooong day and the loooong walk would make for a loooong day for me, too. But it was better than stressing over the traffic and parking situations.

Wow, was that the right call. This – this is the parking lot, er, the highway at 9:30 in the freaking morning:

Parking

There were three miles of that back-up for us to wait through before we got to our exit. Thankfully it passed pretty quickly. And then parking was a cinch – we even got the primo spot under the shade tree. Woot!

As an added bonus, the museum was mostly empty. Turns out, no one else wanted to brave Mayfest traffic unless they were going to Mayfest. They didn’t have our sneakiness. Mwa ha. So the girls turned the museum into their own personal playground.

Force

One minute I’m hearing Gracie yell, “Hey, Mom! Look at what I can do!” And the next I look over to see she’s stolen the beach ball from one blower and moved it to another so she could show me she knew how to manipulate the force. May the Fourth be with you always, Gracie-girl. She’s a smartie, and she knows it (she geeks out).

Then I let the girls spend about an hour making paper airplanes and floaters out of paper plates and paper snow cones and masking tape. It’s their very favorite part of the science museum, and I like to let them show off their natural abilities in physics. Their inventions always outfloat mine. [Perhaps I’m too busy being distracted by Pennywise whispering in my ear, “We all float down here.” Mmm, you think?]

Floaters

While we were there, a hottie who was there (alone) with two small children stopped me to ask if I had gone to the game the night before – I had on my Red Sox shirt. “Nah, but I watched it,” I admitted, bemoaning the loss. “I’m from the Boston area,” the guys says. I broke into a smile and told him the name of our town, and then he told us the name of the town near mine that he was really from – down here it’s all “Boston” until you realize someone will actually know what you’re talking about. It was nice chatting with someone from back home, even for a bit.

Then the girls were ready to move into the dinosaur exhibit. I hung out outside while they dug for dinosaur bones, and then we moved inside and worked on dinosaur puzzles and dressed them in feathers, scales, and tiger stripes. We made dinosaurs turn into frogs and birds and giraffes (oh my!). And then the girls took turns pretending to be squished by dinosaurs.

Evidence Squished

I think Bee’s is the best – it’s the dead-tongue loll that adds the perfect touch. Auntie Rhi won best caption award for claiming Gracie looked like she was waiting for an innocent dinosaur to stroll by so she could grab on and yell “EVVVVIDENNNNNCE!” Indeed. That girl would definitely do that for evidence. And then present it to Mulder or someone with a big shiny bow tied around its neck.

It was a fun morning – the perfect pre-party as it turned out. The girls weren’t tuckered out at all. In fact, they were even more excited to start our adventure and go track down the mysterious Mayfest grounds that I only kind of knew where to look.