My goals were accomplished.
1) Eat an Elephant Ear.
Pictured. It was placed into my hand dripping in grease, so I looked the other direction and pretended not to see it until I had the cinnamon sugar in my hand. Then I shook vigorously... for a very long time. Until the elephant ear was covered, or until I heard Kristi say, "How much cinnamon are you going to put on that?" I don't remember which came first.
I deducted how much of this treat would keep me up all night with a stomach ache and then backed it off a few bites. Once I reached that point, I handed the rest off to Noah and Silas, my two nephews of ages 9 and 2. They were thrilled to finish it off for me.
2) Drink a Lemonade Shake-Up.
Confession: This picture was staged. The lemonade shake-up cup in my hand was not actually mine. However, I did drink one... I just failed to photograph it at the time. I will say, though, that it was truly a good experience. Most sips consisted of 80 parts sugar and 10 parts lemon and 10 parts water, making for 100% satisfaction.
3) Eat a Meal in the Food Tent.
This actually happened on the very first night! Who would have thought. Kristi and I finished up at IA around 7:15, then headed to the food tent for dinner. On the menu for me... the usual: a pork chop, nachos & cheese, pumpkin pie, and a pop. All the must-haves. I must comment on the new system put into action this year by the food tent; it is very efficient! Kudos.
4) Ride the Ferris Wheel.
This is how this went down:
5:30pm on Saturday night...
Kristi: Finally, we're done.
Taryn: Yes, believe it or not, I am about PFested out. Wait...
Taryn: I didn't go on the Ferris Wheel.
Taryn is about to shrug it off when Kristi says: You have to go!
With her mind made up, we head towards the festival.
Kristi: Who will you go with?
Kristi: You are going to go on the Ferris Wheel by yourself?
Taryn: Yes. I kind of like going by myself.
Kristi: You are strange.
Taryn purchases a ticket for $2.50 and gets in line.
Taryn boards the Ferris Wheel.
Kristi takes pictures with the little pink camera.
Goal #4: check.
5) Attend the Parade.
On Saturday morning, the usual crowd gathers at my Grandma's house on Jefferson St. She has always had the perfect location for the parade-viewing party. Wonderful food is brought by everyone who comes, including but not limited to hot dogs, cheese dip, donuts, cookies, and sweets.
Rumors of rain was in the air, but those in denial kept shrugging it off.
"It will slip right by us," some said.
"I think we're on the edge of the system," others predicted.
"It won't rain. Last night, there was only a 40% chance!"
However, right before coming to the parade, my dad said, "We should be prepared for rain. The storm is supposed to hit right when the parade starts."
If there's anyone who knows when to expect the first rain drop, it's Fred Kaiser. He watches the radar as if he himself is responsible for predicting what it will do.
It's 15 minutes before the parade is to start. Kids are restless and excited, running around with little Pumpkin-shaped candy-collectors in their hands. Adults are standing in the lawn and along the edge of the street, talking amongst one another while enjoying a hot dog or cookie. My grandma is perched up on her normal spot on the porch, and had already proclaimed, "I'm ready for whatever it is that I'm supposed to be watching."
Yet as I peer down the length of the street, it seems to me as though all of the hundreds of other spectators standing around, anticipating the parade, are in denial of the storm clouds rolling in. Uneasily, I look to my left. Up above, the clouds are getting darker. Leaves have started to fall rapidly from the trees as the wind has picked up, and a bite is now apparent in the air.
I look to the person I am standing by and remark, "This is the point in a movie or book when you sense imminent danger."
"Yes," he agrees, "All that is missing is the eerie music."
The parade does begin. I sit on a lawn chair close to the curb, trying to enjoy my hot dog while gusts of wind blow at my face and it begins to drizzle.
Umbrellas pop up all around me, and I still attempt to eat the food on my plate as my mood grows darker along with the weather. This does not look good.
The first band to march by suddenly takes a sharp right and turns down a side street. That's not on the parade route.
But neither was the gusts of wind and downpour of rain that has now seemed to take over. Thunder sounds in the distance, and no one can mistake the faint flashing of lightning in the sky.
Not 5 minutes later, about 12-15 families are huddled in my Grandma's garage and household, where the food is now.
"The parade has been suspended," comes the announcement.
Suspended, which comes to mean, canceled.
Pumpkin Festival 2010 did not see much of a parade.
As the sad truth dawned on most of us, I noticed a small child that was crying, clutching his little empty candy bag.
Call me crazy, but at 24 years old, I wanted to do the same thing. I was mildly heartbroken.
All your life, you hear phrases like, "Starving kids in Africa" and "Don't Rain on my Parade." Until you can experience them personally, they are just a grouping of words to be tossed out when the situation seems to fit.
However, as a lot of you know, I traveled to Africa this past year and saw, firsthand, what starving kids in Africa looked like. And to me, that's not just a phrase anymore. It's real.
Much less serious but still just as true, sometimes, rain DOES occur during a parade. And at that point, it ruins it. So when someone says, "Don't rain on my parade," what it really means is, "Don't ruin this planned event that happens to be special to me."
I can't control hunger, the weather, or create world peace, but this I know: I don't like it when it rains on my parade.
6) Run the 2-mile Fun Run/Walk.
This was an added goal. It was something I was tossing around and decided to do, so since it was accomplished I will add it. My dad, brother-in-law, and 8-year-old nephew, Domniq, signed up to run the 2-mile fun run. About 2 days into the Pumpkin Festival, I decided to take my chances and do it, too. Why not?
My brother-in-law happens to be a very gifted and faster runner. His son, Domniq, seems to have inherited his skill. My dad has been running religiously over the past few months.
Me? I hadn't ran a mile since... May?
So my goal was to run the whole thing without walking.
As we arrived on early Saturday morning, I stood by after registration and waited for the big event.
"We're going to run this thing in 18 minutes," Brad proclaimed, looking down at his GPS-powered stopwatch device.
I calculated that this meant 9-minute miles. Doable... I think.
Those ambitious enough to run the 10K were situated in a huge group at the front line. The rest of us had our own line behind them. At take-off, we all moved as a giant mass down First St. By the first turn, we spread out a bit more. I kept up with Brad and Dom's clip pretty easily; my dad faded out into the background after awhile.
The first mile was mostly a breeze, much to my surprise. Every 1/4 mile of the way, Brad gave us updates.
"More than halfway done," he would say, or ,"80% completed," or "We're running at a 9-mile-minute pace right now."
We would pass by older couples who had shuffled out to the curb with their morning coffee, wanting to observe those jogging by. Towards the end, several people were lined up on the sidelines, cheering us on and waving.
By the mid to last part of the second mile, I was starting to get pretty tired. First of all, I threw this whole idea onto my body without much warning. Very little stretching, no training, and not to mention, it was earlier in the morning than I am used to seeing. However, I did push through, all without walking. Brad and Dom finished at about 16:55, and I rolled in a few seconds later. My dad was a little while after that.
Today, needless to say, I feel a bit rattled. Actually, my body feels like that of someone in her 80s whenever I try to stand up after sitting for long periods of time. I brought it on myself, though, and it does inspire me to continue to stay fit so races like this are possible. Although, before beginning, when someone heard that I had not trained, he said, "Well, she has youth on her side."
And I'm afraid that fact, more than anything else, contribute mostly to why I was able to finish without walking or keeling over and dying.
I won't always be 24, though, so next time I would be better suited if I was physically prepared.
Love you all! I'll be back soon with more thoughts.