My parents took me to the State Fair in Fort Smith, AR, when I was 8 years old. We had just moved from Oklahoma to Arkansas. We lived very close to the fairgrounds. The news station was announcing on TV that it was in town, and I said to my mom and dad “Can we please go?” They said sure. Despite not knowing what it was, I was super excited. Anywhere I got to go with my parents I enjoyed. 

The first thing was the rides. I asked my mother, “Are they scary?” She said, “Some are, and some aren’t.” I felt the excitement inside of me and I literally couldn’t wait to go in the gate and see what this was all about. I heard the metal grinding, the kids screaming and laughing, and the carnival workers yelling. It was overwhelming.

My parents said to choose a ride I wanted to try. I pointed to what looked like a train. I remember walking up to it and it seemed so big and a little scary. But I was so excited at the same time I didn’t care. I got on my first ride, and it was a roller coaster. I remember the worker buckling my seatbelt and I felt nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. The ride started moving and my stomach had butterflies, but I was having so much fun! The sun was in my face as I was going up and down, twisting and turning. I had a grip on the bar in front of me and it felt rough, and it hurt a little because I was holding on so tight. The kids behind me were crying because they were scared, and I just told them, “It helps to hold your hands up–it makes the butterflies go away!” When the ride was over, my parents were there waiting for me, and I screamed that I was having so much fun!

After I rejoined them my parents asked me if I was hungry. I told them yes, because when we walked in, I could smell all the foods, candy, and the lemonade. My senses were in overload. My parents bought me lemonade and a funnel cake. I remember tasting the sweetness from both the lemonade and the cake. I thought to myself, “I could come here every day for this lemonade.”

My parents probably couldn’t afford to take me out that day, but they wanted to make sure I had a special day to remember with them. Click To Tweet

It was getting late, and my parents asked me if I wanted to try a game. I chose a game where you had to pick a duck and get whatever prize was on the bottom of the duck. My hands were soaking wet but the duck I picked had a number 14 on the bottom.

It is a day I will always hold in my heart.

My prize was a big pink fluffy fish. The worker handed me the doll and I remember telling him thank you! He said, “You are welcome young lady,” and that I had gotten the lucky duck. I held the doll up to my face. It felt soft, and the color was very bright, and the fish had a yellow star on its ear. My dad asked me if I needed something to go with that pink fish. I said, “What goes with a fish?” He said, “Let’s go get you some cotton candy.” So, my dad bought me some cotton candy and I fell in love with the taste and the color too. The pure sugar melting in my mouth was so good and it was close to the same color as my fish. I felt so tired by the end of the day, but very happy at the same time because I had so much fun that day with my parents. It was an exciting new experience.

I can still hear the sounds, taste the food, see the sun, feel the bar in my hands, and see how bright the doll is. It is a day I will always hold in my heart. My parents probably couldn’t afford to take me out that day, but they wanted to make sure I had a special day to remember with them. This was 34 years ago, and it still feels like it was yesterday.