This is an updated version of a blog I posted around the same time in 2018.
We went to a fireworks display Friday night in Milan, MI as part of the annual Milan Fair, which involves a carnival, live music, parade, free gun locks given out by the police department and….(drum roll) – fireworks.
My husband and I visited Milan with my folks in 2018 to watch the fireworks, but decided to just go by ourselves in 2019. I was concerned about mosquitoes, so I sprayed myself with Deep Woods OFF! beforehand, and we brought the can with us. Seriously – that’s all we brought (besides my purse and his wallet). We packed light – no chairs, no beverages, no gear – we parked on a street by Original Gravity (something we did regularly on trivia nights there), walked up to the war memorial on Wabash Street after 9 looking for a bench or place to sit. We managed to find “seats,” which were stone/bricks housing a planter. I started to think that bringing “butt pads” might have been a wise move after about a half hour or so, but alas, my ass is no worse for wear! We had a virtual front seat to Ford Lake, where the fireworks were being set off. And they did not disappoint!
All praise to the Chinese! Is there any more socially acceptable way to torture your small children than to have them watch a fireworks display? OK, maybe clowns (more about all of this in a bit)!
After the fireworks were over, we decided to pay a visit to a local bar called Fenders, which is a place we’ve only visited once. About two years ago to the week, we played a MTL trivia night here and had a young server whom I think may have been a “meth head.” She did not seem to be working here on our second visit… Also, this place doesn’t offer trivia nights anymore (I really kind of wish they did – even though we wouldn’t play them regularly, I still wish they still had trivia nights – let’s just say I have my “reasons!”)
We were greeted at the door by two very large men who appeared to be “bouncers.” Not a normal occurrence at this bar, but we would soon learn why their presence was necessary on this night (a bald, loudmouthed drunk was “holding court” at the bar and wound up being “eyeballed” by the bouncers)! I was very, very polite when I approached them.
Do you need to card me?
I ALWAYS tend to be very, very polite to bouncers and other such folks! He checked mine and my husband’s ID, and we were on our merry way! We only wound up having one $7 pitcher of Labatt, since our “goal” was to do most of our drinking closer to home. Safety first? Seriously, though – you can’t beat those prices with a big stick! There is something to be said for “dive bars!” The bar filled up pretty quickly after we arrived. Hmmm…the deer display above the pool table…is that new? I don’t remember that from two years ago (maybe I just wasn’t paying attention). Thankfully I didn’t need to use the restroom (ahem)! 🙂
Back to the topic of fireworks, shall we?What’s so scary about fireworks for little kids? Crowds, biting insects, noise, and staying up way past their bedtimes, to start off. On the up side, just about EVERY kid loves a chance to break the rules every now and then, whether that involves staying up past their bedtimes, or having Coke instead of milk with a meal. I LOVED it when we had pizza for dinner, because that always meant we didn’t have to have to drink milk with dinner! With fireworks, your torture factors include pitch darkness combined with excessive booming noises resembling gunfire – with decibel levels rivaling a 1976 Who concert. This all kind of sounds like a horror movie for small children! Yet, fireworks viewing is considered to be a completely acceptable “family activity.” What OTHER ways can you torture your children in socially acceptable ways? Read on! If you go to the Milan Fair, there are MULTIPLE ways you can accomplish this ALL IN ONE WEEKEND – and nobody will even say you’re a bad parent for doing it! And did I mention clowns? Be sure to find a clown somewhere, too!
Carnivals provide countless ways to torture your children in a completely socially acceptable context!
If torturing the children by having them watch fireworks isn’t enough, you can also take the kiddies to a “carnival,” where they can eat every kind of junk food on the planet – elephant ears, cotton candy, ice cream, funnel cakes, all kinds of “meat on a stick,” chili cheese fries – all washed down with cold, sugary (and possibly “slushy”) drinks. Brain freeze is definitely a bonus. To put them to the ultimate test (be sure you’re not wearing your Sunday best when you do this), make sure they ride as many carnival rides as possible after eating their 10,000 calorie “meals” washed down by sugary drinks.
Me (left) and my mom at Cedar Point in 1976 on one of their many “spinny” rides (possibly “The Matterhorn). If memory serves, I did NOT vomit on this trip!
And what about the rides themselves? Well at a small-town carnival like the Milan Fair, they’re likely to be operated by “carnies,” and I will assume that means the rides are in top working order and are operated by top-notch professionals whom are not at all shifty or disinterested (cough)…Seriously, this COULD be all on the up-and-up, but it’s much more fun to think of the rides as dangerous and operated by people like this guy…
I honestly have NO problem with any of these things! It builds character, doesn’t it? Here are some ways you may have developed “character” while growing up:
- Have your older brother vomit on your lap while riding a double Ferris wheel
- Burn your hand after one of your shifty cousins from the East side of Flint hands you a burning end of a sparkler (on purpose)
- Get a very upset tummy after eating a corn dog (following a 12-hour car ride)
- Singe your arm on a “fun slide”
- Pass out from heat exhaustion on a 114 degree day at King’s Island
- Puke up cheese fries after getting off the Sky Ride at Cedar Point
- Spend an entire day dry heaving in an amusement park’s first aid center after a rocky bus ride
- Smell like a drowned (and also magically unshowered) nutria for hours in slow-drying clothing after getting off any amusement park water ride
- Spend more than an hour looking for your car with your mom and brother in a hot parking lot at Walt Disney world
- Wait in the car for more than an hour with your folks waiting to leave a “metropark” after viewing a fireworks display –
Haven’t experienced any of these things? You just haven’t LIVED! We all have to be pushed outside of our “comfort zones” from time to time – and it’s how we deal with it that defines who we are as people. So parents, feel free to buy just enough junk food to make them puke – it builds character! If you want to make yourselves feel a little better about all of this, then play one of those rigged carnie games and try to win your kid an oversized stuffed animal or equally useless giant chotchkie!
Best of luck to you! These games are usually rigged in favor of “the house.” But if you manage to win a giant unicorn or similar desirable item for your daughter, she could be amused for a whole two hours! Though you’ll be the one stuck lugging it (and possibly your daughter, too)…(now it’s the parent’s turn to be tortured, lol). After your kids are snug in their beds, maybe YOU can check out the beer tent! 🙂