Two of my sister's friends were supposed to meet her there -- The Fish Murderer with her two-year-old, and another friend who has a nine-year-old.
We arrived at 3:30. My sister had said that she was going to pay $8 to buy Little Girl an armband so she could ride all day, and that we wouldn't have to buy armbands for ourselves because the 9 year old could ride with her. However, when we arrived, it turned out that the 9 year old was at her grandparents' and had not yet come home so would have to join us later on. My sister and I decided to go ahead and get armbands so we could ride with Little Girl.
So we go to the ticket booth. The Fish Friend met us and said that tickets were a dollar each. She had purchased five tickets for her son, and they did not say a WORD to her. She discovered afterward that EVERY ride cost TWO tickets. Now come on, how deceitful is that? How many families bought tickets thinking each ride was costing a dollar and then when their tickets were depleted so quickly, wished they had bought armbands instead? And to not even tell her when she asked for five tickets, KNOWING she had to buy either four or six, as that one odd ticket was going to be no good. That's just rotten.
Turns out armbands were not $8 as the paper had said, but rather $10. Oh, and they expire at 5 pm. From 5-9 pm, you have to buy another armband, and that one costs $15. OKAY.
So my sister calls her friend with the 9 year old to see if perhaps we wanted to go somewhere else and then meet back at the fair at 5, but she couldn't reach her and this friend apparently frequently stands her up, so she wasn't sure what to do.
I then noticed that every single ride at this fair was indicated for those UNDER 50" only, or for those OVER 50" only. In other words, Little Girl who is under 50" could ONLY ride kiddie rides, and her 9 year old friend could ONLY ride big people rides, so they couldn't ride ANYthing together anyway! Nor could my sister and I ride anything with Little Girl. Now how poorly designed is that? What if you're a single parent with two kids, one under and one over? They can't ride anything together, so one has to wait while the other rides, then vice versa. That's awful! And a family can't ride anything together!
And it's not as if the big rides were that major. They were things like bumper cars and the scrambler -- rides that Little Girl has been riding at amusement park for two years now! She could not understand why they wouldn't let her ride them. I told her she wasn't tall enough, and she insisted that yes she is tall enough because she's ridden them lots of times!! "Yes," I said, "But they're mean here and won't let you ride." Well, they are.
So anyway. Since Little Girl and 9 year old can't ride anything together anyway, we decided to go ahead and get the cheaper armband and just let her ride for an hour and a half and go home. Since all she could ride was kiddie rides anyway, we figured she'd have gotten her fill by then anyway.
And then we pass this big inflatable dinosaur "obstacle course" -- the one thing she had spied from the parade the night before that she had talked about before even leaving the house as the thing she most wanted to do. And guess what? No armbands. $2 a pop. My sister forked out the money and in she went. When she came out, guess what? "I want to do it again!"
And then there was the Sky Walker attraction. It looked REALLY cool. You're on a trampoline and get strapped into this seat-like thing attached to long stretchy cords, and you can jump and bounce SOOOO high, and do flips and all sorts of neat things. No armbands accepted, of course. $5 a shot.
And then there was the duck pond. She had to pick a duck after all. Another two bucks, but at least she got a little stuffed animal out of that one.
And then there was the giant slide. No sign on it. We approached, and Little Girl got in line. They let her up and said nothing about money. "WOW," I said. "This thing is actually FREE? I can't believe there is ANYTHING free in this place!" She rode several times and we then realized that we'd better get her moving on to the rides that the armband is needed for and we can come back to the slide after 5. So that's what we did.
At 5, she was turned away from the rides and we returned to the slide. She rode twice more, and on her second ride down, a woman with a little girl approached the man running the slide and asked, "How much is this?" "Uh, three dollars," the man replies.
My sister and I just LOOKED at each other. Why hadn't he charged us? Did he just not care and only made the woman pay because she asked? Was it because Little Girl was so cute?
Alas, when she lined up for a third slide, he looked over at us and said, "Her armband's expired, she can't ride anymore." Thanks a lot, lady.
Thus ended our day at the fair. Or rather, our very expensive two hours at the fair. But Little Girl had fun, and in the end, isn't that all that really matters? :)