We had a great time at the Virginia State Fair this week! Too bad it rained both days, and continuously the second day. But we didn’t let that stop us!
We headed up to the Days Inn in Ruthers Glen, VA as soon as the church potluck was over. We were hoping to swing through Richmond on the way and visit the Virginia State Science Museum again like we did last year, but there were flashing signs all over I-64 indicating that there was a bicycle race in downtown Richmond causing delays. So in the interest of avoiding any more traffic issues than the ones we’d already encountered up to that point, we decided to forgo the museum experience this time and just get on to our destination.
We got checked in and still had enough time to do a little adventuring. Hayden and I decided to go find a grocery store and pick up a few things. But as soon as we got up the road, we realized we were just a few blocks from a Russell Stover Outlet! We couldn’t resist, and we managed to get there about 30 minutes before they closed. Woo-hoo!
I didn’t even know Russell Stover made so many kinds of chocolates. It was remarkable! We weren’t really seeing any deals, though, until we came out on the last aisle and found a big floor display and unmarked “Bloopers” boxes. We hit the jackpot! These 3-lb. boxes of random ly assorted chocolates were only $13 each! We threw caution to the wind and selected what we thought might be a lucky box. When we got to the van and took off the lid, our mouths gaped open! It was a veritable cornucopia of mixed chocolates…a chocolate mountain, if you will! They were just thrown into the box in a giant heap, full to the top! There was every kind of chocolate you could imagine…molasses chews, peanut butter filled, truffles (my fave), raspberry filled, coconut, and many more. It was amazing!
We got on the highway and realized we were going to be many miles from the nearest grocery store. We were out there a bit…right off the interstate, but not close to much. And worse, we missed our exit and had to go another 13 miles to the next one! We re-routed and found a Family Dollar. We decided to check it out and pick up most of what we needed there…along with some things to do for the kids…and an adventure in a truck ride-on outside! LOL
Then we headed into the Food Lion next door and got some milk and fruit and headed back to the Days Inn with our goodies. Needless to say, everyone was excited about all of that chocolate! We spotted a Denny’s just across the street, so we went over there for dinner before we settled down for the night.
The next morning, we had an okay free hot breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, and sausage or bacon with juice. There was also cereal and typical continental breakfast foods, but the hot breakfast was a nice touch, even though it wasn’t the best. It filled us up and kept us from having to eat a lot at the fair.
We spent Monday walking around the fair just taking in the exhibits. Most of the shows were the same as last year, so we didn’t repeat anything we’d done before. It gave us more time to enjoy some of the competitions and exhibits this time around. Fun! I saw a pumpkin that was over 1,300 pounds…a new state record! And I saw a watermelon that was 168 pounds! Man, I’d love to try to eat that thing! And of course, we stopped in at the candy store to buy nearly $50 worth of candy! I know, we’re crazy, right? I might as well make our dental appointments in advance. LOL . We sat down to watch a super cool show called The Breakers. But it started pouring down with rain, so they had to stop the show just after it started because of the dangers of the slippery stage. Too bad! We hoped to catch it again the next day.
I ran across a children’s jewelry booth there, and I decided to buy Haylee a beautiful sterling silver ruby birthstone ring. They packaged it in a beautiful gift box! It was only $10, and she absolutely loved it. She must have thanked me a dozen times on the trip. It looks so pretty on her little hand.
On Tuesday, we realized it was going to rain ALL DAY. And there was a big storm coming into town, so it was only going to get worse as the day wore on. We knew we’d have to cut this second day short, so we did a good job of packing up, checking out of the motel, and getting to the fair as it opened. We had bought all-day ride wristbands for this day and figured we’d better ride as much as we could as early as we could before they started shutting things down. But the Midway didn’t open for an hour, so we went over and learned a bit about beavers and oysters from the Virginia State Parks tent, and then we caught an old western show that was pretty funny. Then we hung around the Midway until it opened and got our wristbands as fast as we could. It was beginning to rain about this time, so we tried to go from one ride to another as quickly as possible. Some things started to close right away, like the Ferris Wheel. But somehow, between bursts of rain, we managed to actually ride more stuff than we did last year! And they had a ride that went up a pole and dropped straight down super fast, much like the ride at Busch Gardens. Hayden rode it with me once, and then Steve rode it with me. I think that was the highlight of the day for me! I LOVED it! Haylee led us onto some ride with teacup-type seats that whipped us around in tight circles and made us nauseous. I had to sit for a bit after that! And Holden was big enough to ride the bumper cars this year, so we rode that a few times, too. Everybody had such a wonderful time!
And would you believe we bought MORE candy?!? Everybody fell in love with something we’d randomly grabbed the day before, and we all wanted more. It wasn’t any cheaper online, so I got about 1.5 pounds of it there (another $12!), having never seen it in a store before. It was Twizzlers Caramel Apple filled. The Twizzler itself is green apple flavored, and it has a soft caramel filling. Delicious! We were totally hooked. So yes, we spent about $60 on candy this year! We must be out of our minds. ha, ha.
We visited the beautiful pigeons…did you know some have curly hair? They are gorgeous. We also saw baby chicks hatching, and little baby ducks playing in a pond with a slide. So cute! And we visited a big tent full of bunnies and guinea pigs. The bunnies were so pretty! Holden and I absolutely fell in love with this one particular cottontail bunny. It was so gentle and sweet, and it let us pet it all we wanted. It even licked Holden’s hand! Finally, the rain was really downpouring, so we grabbed some food and made a run for the van at about 2 :30 to begin the trek home.
It rained the whole way back, and at times, there was minimal visibility. Pretty much everyone fell asleep at some point on the way back except for me, of course! We only passed one accident, which amazed me given the driving conditions, and we managed to make it home by 6 PM.
The trip back seemed so much faster than the trip up there. The dogs were absolutely frantic when we came in! Teenie was crying and whining and carrying on like we’d left them forever! Crazy dogs. They’ve pretty much stuck to me like glue since we’ve been home.
Unfortunately, Holden’s space maintainer fell out at the fair, so I had to get him an emergency appt. with his dentist to get it put back in on Friday. I’m so glad they were able to squeeze us in at a different office!
Rain continued to fall every single day, as we prepared for a big storm front that stalled over our area, followed by the scare of a possible impact from Hurricane Joaquin, which had strengthened to a category 4 storm. I even ordered a small gas-powered generator, just in case. But luckily, it completely changed course and stayed far off the coast. There was still a lot of flooding in the area, but nothing that affected us directly. Now we’re just dealing with 40 mph gusts of wind, but the rain seems to be finally coming to an end, thank goodness! It caused our soccer games to be canceled for the 2nd weekend in a row! The kids were pretty bummed about that, but since we’ve all been sick for 2 weeks, I wasn’t sorry we got another day to rest!
I don’t know if we’ll make it to the fair next year or not, but it was good we went when we did. They ended up closing the fair early at 7 PM on Thursday instead of Sunday night due to the threat of the hurricane.
All in all, it was a good trip, and it was nice to get away for a bit. Steve was the only one not sick, but after being cooped up with all the rest of us sickies for 2 days in one room, Steve managed to come down with it shortly after we returned. Bummer!