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Eyes on the prize

Posted by joeabbott on September 27, 2011

Updated 9/30 – added brand names to products purchased

WP_000286Part of what I love about the Fair is heading into the Exhibition Center … otherwise known as “that place where all the people sell all that stuff”.

Not sure what I like about it: the hucksters, the shysters, the people just manning a booth … love ‘em all. And their products! Miracle sponges, shoe cleaners, pliers, tapes, cookware, makeup, gutters, shelving for the garage … it’s all there! Markers for kids, edibles, power tools, “the last hose nozzle you’ll ever need!” Not sure what I love about it, but I do.

But, I hate crowds.

I live in a comfortable house with one other person, I head into work early so I get a seat to myself on the bus, I have my own office, work in a professional space, and do not go to the mall. All of this allows me to live in a private, small little world. Enter the Exhibition Center.

It’s a mass of humanity, swelling and sweating and pushing against each other in all directions. There are strollers and wheel chairs, there are people who eat like I did at the Fair the other day each day of their lives! It’s just a heaving, pressing throng of people.

For the most part I’m OK with it. Now and then I just have to stop, step against a wall, and let the crowd seethe by before I can step back in. Suzy knows that look I get and patiently waits for me to be ready to get back in there. But, to fight it, we headed to the Exhibition Center first thing. Well, first thing after a scone and an early BBQ lunch!

While we usually just look things over … I pride myself on being able to politely ignore people I don’t want to see … we did pick up a few treasures.

HydroFlask – Red Water Bottle

Suzy brings lunch to work most days and enjoys a cool beverage that’s not from a soda machine. So, she has a few thermal flasks. OK, she has a couple flasks but none keep her drinks hot or cold … all liquids turn lukewarm after a shorter time than you’d think. So, a booth selling the thermal flasks and food containers caught our eye.

[Ed. update starting here for this item]

The Hydro Flask caught our eye because it was a quality reusable thermos. It’s double-walled and vacuum insulated, ensuring that the beverage maintains it’s temperature and you can hold it without burning or chilling your hand. It had heft without being heavy, if that makes sense.

Oh, and they were “the right size” for comfortable holding, had a nice food-grade powder finish, and were made from steel, not aluminum. And, I’ll be honest, it was a nice “red” color!

You can read more about Hydro Flasks here.

Snoqualmie Valley Honey Farm – Honey

Yum. Enough said.

[Ed. update starting here for this item]

Suzy enjoys a good honey and we were out. While this brand is available at Pikes Place Market, we saw it here and it looked pretty good.

You can read more about Snoqualmie Valley Honey Farm products here.


Not a purchase, but they made it into the picture.

Rescue Tape – Silicone Tape

These are the three baggies in the upper right of the picture. It’s a silicone tape that doesn’t feel sticky but adheres to itself amazingly well. While it won’t work well to apply to the surface of something, if you can wrap it, the stuff will hold together. I got some on impulse more than need but look forward to finding a problem it will solve!

[Ed. update starting here for this item]

You can read more about Rescue Tape here.

V-Sharpener – Knife Sharpener

I was most on the fence about this purchase (the small black and red cylinder on the right in the picture). We have a very similar knife sharpener already in the drawer at home (it works by having you draw a knife through two carbide plates that are fixed in the plastic housing; the metal of your knife is softer so the carbide leaves a keen edge), but the one we have requires you to hold it with one hand and pull the knife through with the other. We bought this one because the maker was smart enough to put a strong suction cup on the bottom so it’ll stick to the counter while you sharpen your knife. Good design.

[Ed. update starting here for this item]

You can read more about the v-sharpener here.

That’s it

The rest of the stuff in the picture is just flyers and handouts from our walking around. The scone recipe from our Scottish friend, an instruction pamphlet on building a “potato tower” (a planter for potatoes), and a coupon for a free cupcake at Burning Cupcakes.

It was a good day … we didn’t spend too much money, got a few things we could use, and, by showing up early, we avoided the extreme crowds I find dislikeable. A good day indeed.


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