Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nags Head Festival

While we were on the Outer Banks, we read in the local newspaper that the town of Nags Head - about 30 miles south of where we were staying - was turning 50 and having a festival to celebrate. The ad said that they had children's rides, so early one evening we hopped in the car and decided to check it out.

The festival was pretty small. There were about 10 rides (4 of which were good for little kids) and a dozen food vendors and knick-knack tents. Thankfully we got there right around the time the festival opened and the ride lines weren't too bad, because by the time we left less than 2 hours later, the line for the little ferris wheel was about 75 people long. Clearly a lot of other Nags Head residents and visitors had seen the same ad in the paper... this festival was a big deal!

I'm going to step out of my element and tell you about how each of the boys liked the festival without talking in birth order. Ha.

Matthew probably liked the festival the least. There wasn't really a lot that he could do besides walk around. All I could do was keep close to him and try to run interference so he didn't get trampled by the throngs of kids running between the candy apple place and the 'spin-you-around-until-you-lose-your-cookies-a-tron.' He was also pretty good at quality testing the installation of the temporary fencing. His new thing is to grab something and just shake the heck out of it. Thankfully the temporary fencing was very sturdy and Matthew-proof.

Luke got to ride on the most rides. He spent a lot of time on the mechanized boats (where he met his best friend for Wednesday), a worm ride that went around and around an apple, and a mini train. He was happy to be able to use a lot of tickets and ride each ride a couple of times.

We're never sure what Will is going to be able to do when we go to a festival or fair. I've never seen even a super slow ride that is actually capable to handling a person in a wheelchair (because, you know, people in wheelchairs don't enjoy having fun like the rest of us walking folk). And if you do find a ride that you as a parent think your child would be able to handle, you're never sure if the carney attendant is going to turn you away.

The Nags Head festival had a huge slide. With a huge line. But based on the huge grins of the kids coming off of it, and the love of speed and "danger" that we know Will has, Nate and I agreed that he would try to take Will on the slide.

I waited anxiously as Nate carried Will through the line. I bit my nails as he approached the carney allowing people to go up the stairs. Would they turn him away?

NO!!!! They allowed Nate and Will through the line, and they strode triumphantly up the really tall steps. They sat down on that slide, took a collective deep breath and...

Talk about joy.

Nate and Will rode the slide twice, both times with the same huge smile spreading across Will's face. It was so great to see. And such a great thing for father and son to share. Sometimes in this life, we really have to seek out opportunities for fun together. Sometimes we get turned down. Sometimes Will doesn't like it. But when it all works right... when the stars align... we beam.

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