Tis the season for summer festivals (at least where I live). I’ve learned that one of the many benefits of living in the Chicago area is all of the festivals that kick off in early June. My husband and I just spent 8 nights patronizing quite a few of these festivals. We’ve done this for years. The big difference this year… we did it with a 2.5 year old and a 7 month old in tow. Quite different than the booze fests we were used to. Just how different you ask? Well, let’s see…
Before attending festivals with children, my husband and I would either walk or take a train to the festivals. Both of us indulged in alcoholic beverages and it wouldn’t have been safe to drive. Walking several miles with two kids in tow, or worrying about whether one or both kids would tolerate a train ride, we chose a designated driver each night, packed up the SUV with the following: a Sit and Stand stroller, a quilt, folding arm chairs in shoulder bags, a variety of toys, snacks, water, sun hats, sunglasses, diapers, extra outfits, and a baby carrier. A far cry from our, “Do you have your ID?” checklist days.
Food and Beverage
In prior years, DH and I would survive festivals on a liquid diet until said liquid diet fulfilled its duty and we gorged ourselves on potato chip ribbons, cheeseburgers and funnel cakes. To the beer vendors’ dismay, we were a little more modest with our alcohol consumption this year. Our daughter was quite fond of chicken on a stick with fried rice and every toddler’s favorite treat, hot dogs. While my husband and I enjoyed our fair share of alcohol, we took turns each evening so that we’d have a designated driver. Not as much fun being the only buzzed person at the party.
I’m a sucker for the squirt gun at the target games. I have a very competitive personality and if I do say so myself, I kick ass at that game. I didn’t get to play this year. My concentration was interrupted with my daughter asking 152 questions or chattering about what she wanted to do next. Fair enough. I enjoyed seeing the festival through her eyes. This year I watched her play games… or one game mulitple times – the Pick a Duck game. She delighted in her $5 poorly made .50 stuffed animals. Seeing her sense of accomplishment when the carnie would hand over the brightly colored dog-cat-bear-rabbit looking stuffed animal put a smile on my face.
You mean they have face painting and pony rides at these gigs? I guess I never really paid attention. My daughter acquired a yellow and purple butterfly on her face and rode 2 ponies. She’s still talking about the “horsies” and asking when she can pet them again. It’s going to be a long summer.
Call me overly cautious, but there’s no way in h-e-l-l you’re gonna get me on a carnival roller coaster or any other ride for that matter. Seriously. I’m apprehensive about the rides at reputable amusement parks. When my husband asked my thoughts on our 34.5″ daughter riding the Flying Tea Cups, I logically pointed out the 36″ height requirement. Phew, saved by the height requirement. Not sure what I’ll do next year. She did ride the Rio Grande Train and ultimately ended up in a pointing-poking-kicking match with the little boy with whom she shared the caboose. We ended up leaving early that night because of the ensuing meltdown. *sigh*
Isn’t this what summer festivals are all about (well, besides the beer)? We were entertained by: a 60s cover band, an awesome rockin’ orchestra, a tin drum band, a Dave Matthews cover band, other various local bands, The Smithereens, Kansas and Peter Frampton. We were so tired by the end of the week that we didn’t stay at Summerfest long enough to hear Live or Collective Soul. This is the one facet that didn’t change. All four of us enjoyed the music. My daughter entertained onlookers with her Elaine Benes dance moves, and my husband, son and I relaxed and enjoyed the music.
Overall, we had a very fun week. It was exhausting, and we’re not searching out any festivals in the immediate future. We all need to recuperate from this week. Ha. Who am I kidding? I know by the end of this week I’ll be searching out local festivals. I love exposing our kids to live music, entertainment, local arts and crafts, and a diverse group of people.
Peace, love and rock ‘n roll all!