At the end of July every year, there is an awesome festival in Saint-Hyacinthe called Expo-Agricole. Seriously, I've been raving to friends about it since I tried it out last year for the first time. If you have young kids you simply MUST schedule this in your summer itinerary! Mark took the day off work to go as a family this year, because I couldn't stop raving about it. And, I'm happy to say he wasn't disappointed. :)
We went on the opening day, which was a Thursday. There were a lot of daycamps there, so it was actually quite packed. However, having the extra set of hands there made it so much easier for me, because - for example - while Mark took Kira to the lineup to get her face painted (see previous post for the beautiful result), I could take Calvin to the lineup for the mini-train ride, and both kids could avoid the lines for the activities they didn't so much care for.
What makes this fair stand out? It's incredibly well organized, and there is a huge variety of activities. It's clean, there are lots of accessible toilets (very important as a parent of young children), and it is spacious. If you get there early enough, there is ample free street parking. If you don't arrive early enough, the residents are all out with signs offering parking on their lots for $10. There are several rides even for the toddlers (Calvin went on rides on his own even last year, at 1.5 years old!). Oh, and the price is right: $15 per person, which includes access to all the rides. Even the airbrushed face painting was free!
Last year I packed a picnic, but once the kids saw that there was pizza for sale, I ended up buying them pizza and lemonade, and lugging my big backpack around all day. This year I packed lighter, knowing I'd spend a bit extra on lunch and treats, and it simply made things less stressful and more enjoyable.
Along with the usual ferris wheel and traveling fair-type rides, there were some interesting ones like this boat that the little kids could control with little hand cranks:
There was a petting zoo (pictured above) and several buildings full of prize-winning livestock, including horses, cows, sheep, pigs, miniature ponies, chickens, reptiles, and more!
Several tractors and farming vehicles were on display, and these took up a lot more time than we imagined they would, as the kids were climbing on and off every model of tractor on the lot!
Definitely worth the trek, folks!