This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 29, 2008 11:00 PM. The previous post in this blog was Pretzel logic from the DJC. The next post in this blog is I'm sure the brie was excellent. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's in the book

Through friends in high places, we scored a trip to the Rose Festival Waterfront Village this afternoon and evening for a sneak preview. The weather was downright chilly, with a bit of an unwelcome northerly breeze, but it stayed dry, and that gave us the chance to play in the annual carnival.

Being the first night of the festivities, things were clean and tidy. There was still great grass under our feet. The carnies were friendly, smiling at the kids although the rides were breaking down here and there. There was a dinosaur exhibit, some snakes and reptiles under glass, and a tent for toddlers to hang out in. A one-man band in another tent nearby put on quite a show.

Speaking of extinction, Mayor Tom Potter was roaming the place, checking out the scene approvingly. Channel 2 had its news people broadcasting from a booth. News chopper this-and-that flew overhead; anchored at the seawall was a big vessel belonging to the EPA, of all people. There were quite a few armed Portland police officers walking the grounds to make sure no trouble broke out. At least this early session with a bunch of families was quite mellow, but based on scary, true stories from "fun centers" past, I was still watching everything I could like a hawk.

As ever, one needs to bring money. The rides, games, and snacks are not cheap. We had a decent slice of pizza ($4) and a nice dish of pad thai noodles ($6). The kids went for elephant ears ($4) and cotton candy (I missed the price on that one) to go with corn dogs ($2.50). We passed on a $10.50 chicken sandwich, and couldn't get a straw or a lid with a $2.50 root beer. We didn't see any booze at all, and a jolt or two might have been helpful to stand up to the temperatures in the low 50's.

I'm getting too old for the big-kid rides. In fact, I can't even watch some of them without becoming nauseous or stricken with terror. I freaked out as our four-year-old passed over our heads on the big swings. It was her level-headed mom who reminded me that the child rides a chair lift at a ski resort on a regular basis. At least I went in the house of mirrors, rode the littler-kid roller coaster, and slid the big slide. Everybody can do the big slide; it's every bit as wonderful as it was 50 years ago.

To get down to the waterfront and back, we rode the Interstate MAX for the first time. The train into downtown was late, and the rumor among the patient riders was that a pedestrian had gotten hit by a train up the line a ways. Coming back, the ticket machines at the northbound First and Oak stop were out of order.

By the time we returned home sweet home, the crazy month of May had finally caught up with me. It's been wonderful, but action-packed in the extreme. And it's not over yet, with another weekend of happenings just around the corner. Some mindless tube and bed sound good, as the furnace clicks on for yet another Portland late spring night.

Comments (3)

I went down to the Waterfront Village for the first time since I was a kid a few years ago. I was surprised at how clean and well run it was for a carnie-fest but the prices are still outrageous. $7 for a ride on a rickety ferris wheel? Oh well, at least the pirate ships are cool. Last year I watched them stage a sea battle in the middle of the Willamette.

The place was surprisingly clean, and the non-carny exhibits and toddler hangout area were really nice touches. Not to jinx it, but they're obviously morphing into something more wholesome than what used to go on down there. The only things I could find to dislike were most of the prices and the temperature. The kids had a blast.

I haven't been to the "Stun Center" in years. Thanks for sharing your experience with this year's little piece of waterfront heaven. What I can't wait to witness is the carnivorous free-for-all that is bound to ensue as the mad tapers look for new and nasty ways to stake out their territory the evening before the (insert corporate name here) Rose Parade.

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