I was up at 6am Yesterday, and finally collapsed a little after midnight. In between, I ate an elephant ear and cheese fries and boneless chicken wings, nearly threw up on the octopus ride, had my hand crushed by my very nervous husband, wore a snazzy pink dress, and got shot out of a giant slingshot.
It all started a few weeks ago. Natalee and Jeremy, our good friends who live in the apartment above us with their one-year-old twins, entered a contest on the internet. They'd been talking about getting married, but had no interest whatsoever in paying for or planning a wedding. Then, one day, they stumbled across a contest called Marriage on the Midway whose prize was a free, pre-planned, completely awesome wedding. At the Calgary Stampede. They immediately entered, and quickly found out they'd made it to the top then.
In order to win, they'd have to earn the most online votes. They turned to their friends and the internet for help. Ed and I would sit in front of the television with borrowed laptops, voting. Often, Jeremy voted for hours. There were calls over the local radio station and facebook groups and mass emails. In the end, the internet came through. With over 177,000 votes (a number that had to be repeatedly recounted and source-checked before the contest people could believe it was legitimate) Natalee and Jeremy won by a landslide.
11 days later, I strolled down the aisle in a fabulous, tasseled pink bridesmaid dress, my arm threaded through Colin's, grinning like an idiot. The flower girl's pink boots lit up whenever she took a step. Jeremy looked every inch a Dashing Riverboat Gambler in his knee-length coat and handlebar moustache. Natalee was absolutely gorgeous. Mo looked like a wild rose in a tiny pink dress, and Casey was every inch a miniature James Bond in his tux. There was a swarm of media and risers full of friends and family blowing bubbles, stomping their feet, and cheering.
After the ceremony and some pictures, everyone broke up and attacked the midway. Neil and I had made a pact to conquer the Slingshot together. As we approached, I almost chickened out. After some embarassing humming and hawing, during which a crowd of people who'd never let me live my cowardice down gathered, I finally agreed. Then the ride and groom arrived, and Jeremy wanted to do it with me too. There was no helping it: I'd have to ride the Slingshot twice.
There is a moment, at the apex of the ride, when the bungee is stretched as far as it will go, when the orb you're strapped into rotates. You can feel all your organs moving independently. It was AWESOME. I actually RAN to get in line to do it a second time. they gave me a t-shirt, which I wore over my dress for the rest of the day (and probably saved myself a nasty sunburn).
Ed has a notorious hatred for rides, stemming from some childhood trauma, but even he got into the spirit of the day and rode the Crazy Mouse (which was silly) and the Polar Express with me. On the Polar Express, I had my hands on the bar; Ed had his hand on mine. The faster the ride spun, the more nervous he became. He was also giggling, because despite his nervousness he was also having fun. I was also giggling because he was giggling; I was also giggling because he was crushing my hand and it was really funny despite being painful.
We stayed on the rides for hours, missing Nashville North. To cap off the day, we rode the bumper cars, which was the only ride I was really disappointed to get off. Watching my brother drive toward me like a maniac, his tongue sticking out in delicious anticipation of out cars colliding, is still one of the funniest things on the planet.
We met up with Natalee and Jeremy at the end of the day, just long enough to wish them well and hug them one last time. I met Ed at the house (I'd stayed much longer than he); Neil and my brother joined us shortly. We planned to go out! To drink! I party it up!
...then I promptly fell asleep on the couch, still wearing my Slingshot t-shirt. We finally settled on fast food and watching Fist of Legend.
This morning, Ed's forehead is peeling. I am trying to decide of my t-shirt belong in my closet or on my wall. Natalee and Jeremy's wedding stands as one of the highlights of the summer; I couldn't imagine an event more perfectly suited to them and their crazy neon midway love.