The Magic of Carnivals and Fairy Tales . . .

Feb 26th

Carnival Day –  Who doesn’t love a carnival?  I have always loved them, from the time I was little.  I’m not the only one!  Every year millions of Americans flock to carnivals to be entertained by death defying treats, rides, deliciously decadent fair food and all sorts of games for prizes.  Sometimes carnivals and parades come to town at the same time, and the county fair always has a carnival to thrill young and old!  Carnivals aren’t limited to professional events, but can also be festivals held at schools, churches or businesses to raise funds.  When I was little the carnival would always come to a town near ours.  We’d be driving by to go to the store and there the rides would be, getting all set up. I’d get so excited.  Poor Mom, she’d try to distract me with pointing something out in the other direction to try to keep me from seeing the rides, but my eyes were too fast for her, and I’d spot them.  It’s all I could think about until she finally gave in and would take me for at least a little while.  One time my Grandmother took me and let me ride everything I wanted.  The highlight of that trip was a helicopter ride.  The pilot flew us over my house.  For a 7 year old that was the ultimate in amazing!  I’ll never forget the butterflies in my tummy while I waited for our turn to go for a ride, or my excitement as Grandma pointed out familiar things throughout our trip.  The Merry-Go-Round lost a little of its magic after that  . . . at least until the next time the carnival came to town.

old-mill-days-double-buckI can honestly say though that my very favorite carnival EVER is Old Mill Days in Port Gamble, Washington.  For anyone reading this from out of town I’ll try to paint a picture for you.  Port Gamble is an old mill town along Hood Canal.  The town forms a circle, with old Cape Cod houses lining the main street, big leafy maple trees majestically standing sentinel along the picket fence bordered walks.  The little church stands on a little hill just up the street, the white steeple tall and stately, inviting all who pass to pause and drink in the sight.  Down on the waterfront, the flag pole stands taller than everything in town, with the American Flag snapping sharply in the constant breeze coming off of the water, while sunlight glistens off of the sparkling water.  Lush green lawn stretches in the circle that lies in the center of the circle that makes up the business and house lined streets.  It is here, on the lawn, that the carnival rides are set up for the festival.  Across the street the lumberjack competitions are being held, and the scents of fair food carries on the breeze, and the sounds of rides, laughter, and vendors selling their wares echo across the town.  For a moment, if you block out the sight of the modern cars, it’s like stepping back in history and seeing a scene from the movies.  We’ve spent the last 6 festivals sitting on the grass watching the lumberjacks perform amazing feats with their saws and axes, munching on BBQ or ice cream, and wandering amongst the booths looking at all of the fun stuff for sale.  Every September brings this wonderful celebration, and every September when it is over, I look forward to next year.

th837GFUIQNational Pistachio Day  – Do you like pistachios?  I do.  They are a little addictive actually.  I can’t grab a whole bag and sit and munch on them because before I know it, the whole bag is gone and I’ve eaten wayyyyy too many calories.  They are so delicious though that it’s just so easy to do!  The way to celebrate this holiday is to eat pistachios, and to learn more about them.  I can’t help you with the eating part, but I can give you a few pistachio facts that you may, or may not, have known.

  • Pistachios grow on trees. They are native to the Middle East.
  • Its a long wait to get the first nut. A pistachio tree takes 7-10 years to mature.
  • California is the major producer in the U.S.
  • Pistachios are harvested in September by machines that shake the trees. It less than a minute.
  • The red dye is added to the nuts is only due to consumer demand for the color.
  • Its open hull is unique. The nut is ripe when the hull splits open.
  • People in the Middle East call it the “smiling nut” and in China its called the “happy nut”.
  • Pistachios are nutritious, so eat them up!

Have you ever tried pistachio ice cream??? It’s amazing. Mmmmm . . .

Today is Tell a Fairy Tale Day –  Fairy Tales . . . how many happy childhood memories are wrapped up around our parents reading us wonderful stories?  My mother was SO good at it! We’d sit up against the headboard on my bed, the blankets pulled up around us, and she’d weave the story we were reading, the characters coming to life from the pages of the book.  Once I was reading on my own I would curl up anywhere I could find a spot and lose myself in whatever book I was reading at the time.  Everything around me just disappeared, and I was there, in the middle of whatever adventure was on the page.  To this day when I’m reading a book I close out everything else and just enter that world the author created, and sometimes it takes people several times of calling my name louder and louder for me to snap out of it and come back to the real world.  Today would be a wonderful day to sit down with the kids, if you have them, and read one of the classics.  If you don’t have kids, it’s still a good day to pull out a book of fairy tales and lose yourself in the magic of the story.

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