picklesink

A mom, a dad, and two nutty kids.

Let’s Go To The Ex – In a Torrential Downpour!

We had been planning yesterday’s trip to The CNE for a week – my mom was on vacation and wanted to come, the kids were raring to go and Ben would never have forgiven me if we missed out this year (on the CNE of course, but more importantly on the GO Train ride to the CNE). On Monday morning the sky looked a touch threatening, but the good people at The Weather Network assured me that everything was fine – if anything we would see 5 mm of precipitation in Toronto, and really, does that even qualify as “rain”?

Call that “rain”? Pshaw!
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But being the never-prepared mom that I am, I packed up snacks and raincoats (even for me!). On the way to the train station, it was a little drizzly, but I thought, “That’s okay – the weather forecast for TORONTO says only 1 mm of rain in the morning.” When I stopped for Starbucks I quipped to the girl at the drive-through that we were on our way to the Ex on this beautiful sunny day, and she laughed nervously, obviously knowing something I didn’t. By the time we got to the train station, it was raining pretty steadily, so I bundled the kids into their raincoats and we made a run for the platform, still optimistic. (“My friends at The Weather Network say close to 5 mm! That’s not even actually 5 mm! And when have they ever been wrong before?”) So we got our tickets, boarded the train, and rattled on towards our destination.

Rain, rain, go away!
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The highlight of the train ride for Ben was borrowing my camera to take a picture of the tracks.

A pretty good shot for a 5 year-old!
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Lo and behold my optimism paid off because it was barely raining at all when we got to Exhibition Station and met Nana and our 13 year-old family friend Erdene. The dry spell lasted just long enough for us to buy our tickets and enter the grounds before the heavens opened and let us know what they thought about The Weather Network and their scientifically-based meteorological “predictions.” But we had come this far and we were darn well going to make the best of it!

We made our way, wetly, towards KIDS’ WORLD, detouring along the way into the Arts and Crafts Building, where we visited an amazingly talented designer friend, Naomi, of Designs by Naomi. Always super-generous, she gave each of the kids a cool crocheted hat in their favourite colour.

Ben’s, naturally, green, and Molly’s, of course, pink.
Angelina Ballerina didn’t get one.
©PicklesINK 2012

We continued on to KIDS’ WORLD where we hit up some rides and games. Erdene and I got drenched on the sopping wet Tornado (those foam seats sure hold a lot of water!).

Molly caught a frog in a net to win her new favourite pink stuffed monkey (who she named, aptly enough, “Pinky”) and Ben played a fishing game and won a stuffed fish and crocodile, and then they practiced their foul weather aeronautical skills flying helicopters in the rain.

Coming in for a landing.
© PicklesINK

Then we moved on to our main goal – the KIDS’ WORLD Stage, where Splash ‘N Boots, my Ben and Molly’s favourite kids entertainers were playing at 12:30. We were a bit early for the show, but it was sheltered and we weren’t about to look a gift awning in the mouth! Nana went and got some popcorn and we settled in to snack and watch the roadies set up. Angelina Ballerina came out for a visit and Ben and Molly enjoyed hugging and dancing with her. Ben did lean over to me and whisper, “Mommy, I don’t think that’s really Angelina. I think it’s a person in a costume,” but he was kind enough not to share his observation with Molly.

Much less creepy than
most of the mascots.
©PicklesINK 2012

And then, finally, the main event! Splash ‘N Boots came out and chatted with Ben and Molly for a bit because they’re awesome that way (Yes, I am a Ben and Molly are groupie(s)!). Splash was the first to see the big reveal of Ben’s new semi-permanent hair colour – as it turns out, the dye in his new green hat was not colour-fast.

Perfect for back-to-school!
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Splash ‘N Boots put on an awesome semi-private show for Ben and Molly and about 5 other families who had sought shelter from the rain. Ben finally got to say his favourite animal (“Kitten!”) into Boots’ microphone (he had chased her around the audience every show before this in vain and even singing the chorus of “KooKooKaMachoo” at the last show was cold comfort). Molly had her turn too, and leaned into the microphone and said very clearly, “My favourite animal is a…” and then wandered off, leaving Ben to fill in, “Monkey!” for her. They also got to hold up their favourite vegetables for “Rockin’ Vegetables,”

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although Splash ‘N Boots may need to rethink that plan after Molly tried to load hers into the stroller and make her escape.

If I do it very quietly, I’m sure
no-one will catch on…
© PicklesINK

When the show ended we stuck around and monopolized the stars for a little while

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and then went back to use up the rest of our ride tickets in what we assumed would be another very brief dry spell! There are a lot of great things about visiting amusement parks/midways in the rain (as a teenager, I always tried to plan my Wonderland visits for rainy days!) – no lines, bored and generally friendly ride operators who give extra-long rides, and the only rides that usually get shut down are the roller coasters that I don’t really like anyway. Really, the only downside was being soaked, and a little rain never hurt anyone. (Okay, almost never.)

Kiddie Train (with working bell)
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Nana and Ben spinning the Berry-Go-Round.
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Molly on the Berry-Go-Round:
“Whee!!! It’s fast!! I’m so dizzy!!”
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And what trip to the fair would be complete without a trip up the Ferris Wheel?!

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Finally, we finished the day with a nice, healthy late lunch in the Food Building. I actually managed to resist the Eclair Hot Dog and opted for some Jamaican jerk chicken instead. Ben and Molly had pizza followed, naturally, by Tiny Tom’s Donuts.

The donuts are gone. She is eating the sugar
out of the bottom of the bag in handfuls.
©PicklesINK 2012

Then, having completely exhausted Nana our options, we headed back to the station to catch our train home, and entertained the other riders with conversations like, “Would you like some snack, bud?” “But mommy, you said we weren’t allowed to eat on the train!” “Well, bud, to be honest, that’s just something I said because I didn’t want to get the snack out right then.”

It was an awesome day out and despite the rain (Darn you, Weather Network!) we wouldn’t have missed it!

~ karyn

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