It doesn’t matter how old I am, there are just some things I will never grow out of.
One of those, without a doubt, is the Festival at St. Gregory’s, my old elementary school. It was the most exciting time of the year, from Kindergarten to 8th grade. We waited, extremely impatiently, for our schoolyard and baseball field to be transformed into a carnival right before our eyes. I remember being in 4th grade, standing on my tiptoes at the window, peering out as I watched them erecting massive red tents, constructing a ferris wheel, and hanging lights from fence to fence. Teachers knew that once they started to set up the festival, little work would get done in the classrooms, so they usually just put on movies for us to watch instead.
It’s tradition in my town to attend the festival, no matter how old you are. As a 10-year-old, you’d get to the festival with your parents, beg them for enough tickets to go on all the rides, and prance around with your friends, going down the slide 15 times in a row. As a 14 year old, a grown-up, mature, high-schooler, the festival also served as a place for the beginnings of a summer romance. If your crush was at the fair, you two might take a stroll holding hands, share a cotton candy, or go on the ferris wheel together. Nothing’s as romantic as a ferris wheel, after all. When we all went away to college, heading to the festival meant reuniting with friends you might not have seen for over a year. Lots of catching up, playing blackjack in the gambling tent, and making fun of all the 14-year olds holding hands…such children. When we finally turned 21, everyone at the fair made their first stop at the beer truck. You’d get ID’ed, usually by your friend’s father who was working the beer truck that night, and choose between Budweiser or Bud Light.
And now even as a college graduate, I couldn’t even consider letting the eleven-night festival pass without stopping by at least once. You’d think, as a 22-year-old, I wouldn’t have much to do at the fair. But you’d be wrong. My night at the fair this year consisted of Italian food with my mom, Italian ices, and Whack-a-Mole. I may have even walked around holding someone’s hand 😉 It was the same as I remembered it. Brightly lit and buzzing with excitement, kids laughing and live music playing. The sounds of summer in Bellerose.
I’ll never grow out of watching animated movies. Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to be taken to the Warwick Drive-In Theater. Probably the most adorable date I’ve ever been on. And what movie did we watch? Madagascar 3, obviously! And I probably laughed harder than all the little kids there…combined.
I’ll never grow out of Hollister shorts, sadly, and my college roommates can vouch for that. Every birthday, without fail, my mom buys me a new pair. You can never have too many. I have grown out of their t-shirts (thank GOD). I no longer walk around wearing shirts that say “I Had a Nightmare…I was Brunette!” or “Save a Wave, Ride a Surfer.” Yeah. I owned those.
I’ll never grow out of brightly colored nails. I know when you’re older, you’re supposed to get a French manicure, or keep your nails a sophisticated pink. But I prefer bright blue, hot pink, or yellow. Especially in the summer.
I’ll never grow out of roller coasters or the Spice Girls (and I don’t have to, since apparently there’s going to be a Spice Girls Musical!). I’ll always make a wish at 11:11 and I still wish I could live in the Barbie Dream House. I have an embarassing amount of stuffed animals on my bed and I’m really creative with their names (my stuffed dog is named Puppy, my stuffed bear is named Beary, and my stuffed penguin is named…Rudy). In the summer, I still love to look for fireflies and eat ice cream cones, and I’m still afraid of thunderstorms.
Maybe some of these will change, as the years continue to pass. Or maybe Puppy, Beary, and Rudy will still sleep in bed with me when I’m 30, who knows. There’s only one thing that I know for sure. The St. Greg’s festival ended four days ago, and this girl, 22-years-young, is already excited for next year.