jennifer
Before I begin today's post, I have a quick addition to last week's post.  A sweet friend sent me text a few days after that post was live and said that she and her three year old daughter had paid it forward with their quarter/cart at Aldi.  It melted my heart to hear that and she pointed out that it was a great lesson for her toddler.  Isn't that so awesome?  Although, it then made me realize that the lesson for Finley is a bit skewed at age two--every time we do it, he just says "uh oh" loudly on repeat because he thinks I didn't put my cart back correctly.  Hopefully we get the lesson straightened out over the next year...

(Title of this post should be read in the Church Lady's voice from Saturday Night Live.)
Every August, the little bitty Catholic church that my grandma attends in Wien, Missouri, holds its annual picnic.  Somehow, this teeny tiny town pulls off this picnic and it's a huge success.  It's very nostalgic for me because I always remember going as a child.  Our cousins would be there and we would get to run around and play all day.  In college, I still attended, but more for the beer garden than the rides and games.
Last year, Finley wasn't into it too much, but this year, he was hooked.
I don't know how long this ride has been in existence, but it was there when I was Finley's age, so it deserves some serious museum status.
The ride costs one quarter (yep, only 25 cents).  Finley chose this car the first time.

The ride just goes around and around and around, for like 10 minutes.   That's no exaggeration.  The first time Finn rode, I thought the guy just lost track of time and forgot to stop the ride, but no, every single  time it went on and on and on.  They should be charging like $5.00 per ride for this thing.  


video

So, just as I suspected, about eight minutes into the ride, Finley started getting brave and curious.  He eventually got himself off his seat allowing his feet to touch the ground.  He was literally having to sprint around the circle because he was still stuck within the car, but it was going so fast that he had to run to keep up.  I really wanted to get a video of that, but I thought it would be frowned upon.  Instead, the guy had to stop the ride and we took Finley off.  The guy in charge thought he had done it on accident, so he didn't think anything of it, but I knew better.  
Against my better judgment, we let him ride again though.  The second time, I put him in this:

I thought maybe I had outsmarted him this time.  No hole to put his feet through, and an empty rocket on each side so he couldn't get out.  Bingo.
I.Was.So.Wrong.
This time, about two minutes in, he literally stood up on his seat and climbed over into the outside rocket.
Again, I thought a picture might be frowned upon.  This time, the guy in charge sharpened up and knew it was no accident.  Finn was asked to get off the ride.  We like to joke that he's now on the banned list.
Next we tried the bounce house.  I wish we had a permanent one in our backyard because he could have stayed in there forever.  He really didn't have the hang of it at first though.

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(Probably should have been helping him instead of videoing and laughing.)

After that, it was on to Cliff's favorite--the turtle races.  There is a circular wall with twenty openings.  A few turtles are contained within the circular wall.  You pick a numbered opening (or several), bet money on it/them, and then cheer the turtles to get out through your numbered gate first.  Here's a video to help you understand:

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Finley was super lucky at this game.  I wanted to go straight to the horse track when we left, but being miles from anything in Wien, Missouri, time just didn't permit.  He won about 85% of the time at the turtle races.  And he really had no idea what was going on as far as betting or the end result.  He quickly learned how to give his quarters to the guy in exchange for spoons though.  The spoons with your chosen number are new.  We didn't have those when I was a kid.  But now everyone bangs them on the tabletop really loudly, which makes it more exciting and fun.  And he definitely knew how to handle banging a spoon loudly.

By that time, we had gotten our delicious evening meal of hamburgers and fries (the fried chicken and sides are the early meal) and everything was closing up so we headed home.  

Bingo is usually my favorite part of the day, but it seemed impossible with a toddler that wants to constantly move, so we skipped it this year.

Every year, without fail, it amazes me that such a small town and parish can put on such a big event and continue making it successful.  Then I remember, it's a money betting, beer drinking, delicious food eating church event where you can put your kid on an antique motorized merry-go-round babysitter.  How could it not be a giant success?

If you're interested in the community of Wien, there is some neat history and information here: http://www.wien2000us.com/

And this brochure on The Great Imposter is also interesting: http://www.keytesvillemissouri.com/Wien.PDF
It's my understanding (and I may be wrong) that this guy is part of the basis for Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Catch Me If You Can.

Two side notes about Wien:  This teeny town kept a bar and restaurant open for a long time.  And it actually had good food and fun times!  I think it closed, but I'm not positive.
Also, I once heard that on one end of town, the road sign read "Wien" and on the other end of town, the sign read "Wein".  Cliff, my brother, and I roadtripped there once for verification, but it was spelled the same on both ends.  I always see "Wien" but I really prefer the e before the i spelling instead.
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