Welcome! Lenkaland shares my adventures in creative photography, raising two kids, writing, living with chronic illness, raising a daughter with dyslexia, and swimming with mermaids. Hope you have a nice stay!

Fun at the Fair

Fun at the Fair


The Nevada County Fair is major summertime fun. This year we met up with cousins for a day of wild rides, sweet treats, and forever memories! NevadaCountyFairLenkaland2015-1

Anika with her cousin and auntie. Unfortunately, I am so sensitive to motion now that I cannot ride these rides. They were my favorite! Now they give me waves of vertigo :(. I remember getting smushed on the Scrambler when on the outside, and that whirl of swooping forward was such a rush! Now I enjoy it thorough watching them. Ian was tall enough for the Scrambler. And not interested one bit. Anika loves the thrill, but she's not a thrill-seeker. She was just fine watching the Zipper loop wildly and hearing about how my cousin and I rode around and around thirty times a night in our high school years.

The Zipper in sunshine at the Nevada County Fair

"Sure, Mom, you were crazy, Mom. I'm not that crazy," she says with a smirk. Her favorite ride turned out to be the Flying Carpet, a giant swing contraption that kicked up a dust storm on each passing loop. With the California drought, the dusty midway was extra-dusty this year. Ian and I let the big kids have fun there while we visited the little kid land.

Ian's last year riding the Little-Little rides. He will probably be too tall next year.

I think this will be his last year riding the little rides. He was almost too tall! He still adores honking the BEEP BEEP horn (though the other kids honking incessantly annoyed him). His favorites this year were the Mirror Maze and the giant Ferris Wheel. He doesn't want anything to do with thrilling rides. One trip on the Dizzy Dragon with an older boy who spun the dragon around around around gave him motion sickness that lasted for a few hours. The big kid rides were definitely off limits then. He did go on The Himalaya (fast) with his Uncle Paul.

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Hanging out while the kids ride rides is all part of the fun! Kids entertained while we enjoy the Beer Garden (in moderation of course)? Win-win!

Laughing at the fair

Giant stuffed animals. In donuts!

A couple of weeks ago, Anika tried talking me into getting her a stuffed animal. And a stuffed donut. "Look, Mom, the pig can ride on the donut! I can make videos about a pig's adventures in a donut!" ... I didn't buy the pig. Or the donut.

So imagine our surprise when we saw this tempted prize display! Unicorns! In donuts! What are the chances of that?

We had to visit the displays of photos and art after a few rides. Anika and Ian both entered Ugly Cakes. Anika made a Zombie Wedding Cake. We created two zombie Forest Fairies for the topper. She said it needed layers so she figured out how to bake more batches and cut the square smaller for each level. We added a little topper so the fairies wouldn't be covered in icing.

Anika wins a blue ribbon with her Zombie Wedding Cake at the Nevada County Fair

She iced each layer with buttercream. She added black icing rosettes. The red 'blood' is strawberry syrup for ice cream Sundays. Gummy worms and headless gummy bears finish the look.

She won a blue ribbon! Ian went with the haunted backyard theme and won a red second place ribbon.

Ian's Ugly Haunted Backyard Cake wins second place

Time to visit the animals! The horses first, of course.


Many horses have stalls where they can have privacy and get space from visitors. A few lucky horses get to be out where they meet lots and lots of new friends. They have room to move away if they really don't want attention. This sweet horse loved the kids. Children meet a lovely, and patient horse

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Then we visited the rabbits. And just-hatched baby chicks.

Baby chicks

The pigs! Local kids raise their animals. Many pens are festooned with colorful signs and ribbons. The pigs are given lots of attention.

Making friends with the animals at the fair

Then the goats. We decided we could have a pygmy goat instead of a dog. It could eat all the weeds in our backyard :)

Visiting animals at the fair

And back to the rides! This one was Anika's favorite one year until she saw another rider get sick. Never again, she says.

Up, up, and away carnival ride

Ian and I stopped for a treat while the big kids waited in lines. A red snowcone because they didn't have orange.

Ian loves a sweet treat at the fair

Ian enjoys his snowmen

He told me to take a photo of him in front of the Zipper. And post it with #justrodethisride. He wasn't even tall enough. But he thought it would be hilarious to prank people. #justajoke :)

Surviving the scrambler at the fair

Meanwhile, we met up with cousins/best friends visiting from Marin. We had to take them on the rides. More turns for the girls :)

Wild ride, wild laughter at the fair

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Ian and his Minions.

Candy-colored ride at the fair

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A quest moment studying miniatures at the fair

Ian loves a little building dedicated to the Narrow Gauge with a mixture train set that rolls through two rooms and multiple scenes. It shows how the train used to visit our town. We visited in late afternoon when the kids were tired (can you tell)?

Miniature train at the Nevada County Fair

My favorite ride is the carousel. Not to ride, I don't ride much anymore. But to photograph. I could photograph carousels all day. And night!

Sea dragon on the carousel

Adventures on a carousel


Ian and my little nephew, Will, were perfect ride companions. Carousels and airplanes and pirate ships. Around and around. Ian was shocked to learn the airplane would jolt up into the air when he pulled the handle. Whoa! Thrill ride :)

Flying high at the Nevada County Fair

Fair game waiting for a winner

Late afternoon sunshine made the dusty midway quite magical. One of the many things I love about our fair is all of the trees. The rides look positively small next to the towering pine trees.

Late afternoon sunshine at the Nevada County Fair

Fading sunshine through the forest at the fair

Another thing I love about our fair is the local involvement. We have a little kid area staffed with volunteers. Kids don't need a lot of glitz and bling to be inspired. A table with pans of bubble soap and twenty wands do just fine!

Childhood magic is blowing bubbles with many different wands

Ian creates giant bubbles at the fair

Giant bubbles! Ian made about fifty of these giant bubbles.

Ian blows bubbles in the last golden light of the fair

Another technique.

Ferris Wheel at twilight at the fair

The sun goes down...


Perfect time for another trip through the Mirror Maze. With his little cousin this time. His cousin was nervous. Ian got to be the big, steady leader. He loved that!

Going into the Mirror Maze at the fair


My absolute favorite part of the fair is making memories with family and friends! This year my cousin visited just to come and share the fair with her kids. She was my partner riding the Zipper about thirty times in a row back in the day. Wonderful to reminisce and create new stories!

Besties enjoying the fair

Zipper lit up at night at the Nevada County Fair

Rides at night are magical too!

The Zipper lit up at night at the country fair

Galloping horses on the carousel at the Nevada County Fair

The carousel at night. Could everyone just skip the ride for an hour so I could take a hundred portraits of horses and dragons? That would be awesome. They didn't hear my silent request so I snapped a few between rides. Seriously, though, if anyone wants a professional carousel photographer, pick me, me, me!

Carousel horses at the Nevada County Fair

Carousel horse at the fair

Ian rides a leopard on the carousel at the fair

Ian on the leopard. He enjoyed endless pouncing. This year Giovanni showed him the fun of reaching for a goal on each pass around. They high fived with each turn. Not sure who enjoyed the game more, dad or son :)

Ian gives his dad a high five from the carousel at the fair

The midway at night inspires me as much as a midway in late afternoon. The lights are shiny jewels against the dark sky.

Lights and rides at the fair in the evening

A big tradition is that I ride the giant Ferris wheel with the kids at night. We look over the rides of the day. Already tell stories about different adventures. Decide what's important for next year. The fair becomes a tapestry of candy-colored lights and dizzy motion and happy screams.

Our family loves adventure riding high on the Ferris wheel at the fair

Ian is fascinated by the giant Ferris wheel at the fair

A wonderful and scary view. We share the adventure. Together.

View through the giant Ferris wheel

Nighttime midway at the Nevada County Fair

Nevada County Fair midway at night

The roller coaster is endlessly thrilling for kids at the fair

Midway at the Nevada County Fair

Adventurous family on the Ferris Wheel at the Nevada County Fair

Peering over the edge. Carefully.

The giant Ferris wheel is a family favorite at the fair

The last sweet fair tradition, a funnel cake with strawberries and whipped cream. Anika used her own money to buy her own funnel cake this year. Share? No thank you. She did end up sharing after eating her fill of the warm, crunchy, sugary goodness.

Delicious funnel cake with strawberries and whipped cream at the county fair

That was the fair this year. What adventures will we find next year?

Cannot wait!

Real Life in August

Real Life in August

Art Walk

Art Walk