So here are tips and tricks we have learned over the years to survive. Do some research. Look up the fair schedule and see when admission is cheapest, or if they are offering discounts for purchasing ride armbands and admission tickets in advance. An example is here in Clay county, on opening day admission is only $2.00. Opening Day is Thursday but since it will be Good Friday the next day we will take the kids after school and spend the evening there. Since my son does not have school the next day he will not have to get up early if we stay out later than we usually would.
When my kids were younger we used to be able to get away without riding any rides, we just went to the fair, paid admission and if we spent any money it was on unique items you could only find at the fair. If we ate there we usually found the cheapest place, and bought a drink container from a vendor that could be filled for a discounted rate. I have also packed a sack full of some snacks and maybe some frozen water or gatorade so I don't have to buy something each time the kids decide they are hungry.
This year we are going in the evening on the first day. I already planned a meal of cheeseburgers to eat at home, so if the kids want, I may just treat them to their favorite fair dessert. My son likes funnel cakes, I like apple dumplings.....do you have a favorite? Sometimes though if we decide that the fair prices are too much or lines are too long for desserts we just go through the McDonald's drive through for a cone on the way home.
Now my kids like to ride the rides, and the annual trip has gotten more expensive. I did learn though that I can purchase arm ride armbands in advance and save up to $10.00 per band by purchasing early. This year I bought myself and my husband one so that we could ride with the kids and make some memories. (besides my daughter is too small to ride some things alone she has to have an adult.)
I also stash a little cash in our pocket just in case something arises and there is a need for it ($10.00 is all we took this year.) I have to try to keep my husband and son away from the fair games, (my hubby always gets suckered in to those....he once spent $30.00 to win my daughter a giant monkey....) We usually enjoy looking at the vendors and get some free goodies once in a while from them.
I got my 30 minutes of exercise by walking around at the fair we were there for over 5 hours. We had tons of fun. We spent only $8.00. We bought one funnel cake with cinnamon and powdered sugar, and my daughter had an ice cream cone. I looked at all the vendors and we purchased from the ones that were least expensive.
I packed my insluated cooler bag (that i had put in the freezer earlier in the day) with a jug of apple juice, kool aid pouches, snack bags that I put cheerios in, and I even had a couple of chocolate cup cakes in there, and we had three bags of snack sized lays potato chips, and a couple of apples from a grocery purchase earlier this month. These are the goodies we ate while at the fair aside from our afore mentioned purchases. (Don't worry we didn't eat them all we brought some of it home and will use it up later.) I aslo carried a very large insulated cup that we filled with the juice and shared as we drank it. I took my daughters small stroller and we put the cooler bag on the back, when she wasn't in the stroller, the cooler sat on the seat of the stroller. We even saw one lady with a slightly bigger stroller walking around the fair and she had a full size cooler like you would take to the beach in hers packed full of goodies.
I carried a small crossbody purse with children's tylenol, adult tylenol, itch cream, sunblock, my cell phone, and hand sanitizer. It felt like a big expense and alot of preparations, and I stayed out with the kids until 11:15, but when my four year old looks at me and says, "Best night ever!," my husband says it was worthy every penny with a smile as well!
The fair is the only place I know where a 10 year old boy can ride a ride that makes him feel like he is really flying on a "Cliff Hanger", and where a little girl can ride a swing and say she touched the moon, where a mom can squish into the "Crazy Bus", or ride the "Red Dragon" (that's right all 269 pds. of me) and remember some of the sweetest child hood memories she had as a child with her grandparents, now making those memories with her own little ones! Yeah it really was the "Best Night Ever!"
I hope you enjoyed our suggested survival tips and family story.
(yes I know my grammar and punctuation is terrible, but thank you for loving me and reading along anyway)