Ten Tips for a Successful Outing at Your State Fair

By Shannon Gurnee

I remember how enjoyable it was going to the state fair with my family when I was growing up. Now that my husband and I have kids, we like to experience the fair as a family and make memories our kids will treasure forever. Going to the state fair is not a spur of the moment event for us, it’s something we plan for.

Before the trip, we always curate a checklist. This includes items we’ll need on the car ride, as well as things to remember at the fair, and afterward. Here is a list of ten tips to have a successful day at your state fair!  

1. Food

We always have a lot of snacks on hand for the car ride. I typically choose snacks that are not sticky, or able to melt. A good rule to keep in mind when traveling with kids is to only bring easy-to-clean foods. And if you’re looking to stick to a budget at the fair, bring a packed meal like sandwiches or finger foods.

2. Water

Our fair allows two water bottles per person, so we bring enough for everyone and store them in our backpacks. Purchasing water at the fair is expensive, so packing your own helps save some money.

3. Sunscreen

Packing and applying sunscreen is one of the most important steps! There isn’t usually much shade available at the fair and it’s better to be safe and apply sunscreen rather than feeling the discomfort of a sunburn. We bring both the spray and lotion sunscreen, with at least SPF 30. Nobody wants a cranky lobster!

Ferris wheel at amusement park.

4. Backpack or purse

Personally, I like to have both a backpack and a purse. In the backpack, we stow water, jackets, sunscreen, and anything of little value. I prefer to use a cross-body purse with a zipper to hold my wallet, cash, and other personal valuables. Remember, while the fair is fun, it’s also good practice to keep your items safely stowed.

5. Cash

We always carry cash when we go to the fair. You’ll need it for parking and admission, at the very least. Vendors may only take cash, so it’s better to have it on hand—and carry bills no bigger than twenty dollars.

6. Dress warmly and comfortably

The weather may vary depending on where you live and when the state fair is held during the year. When we go to our state fair, it’s typically pretty hot during the day and then cold at night, so we keep sweatshirts, jackets, and blankets in the car—just in case! Blankets can come in handy if your state fair offers free concerts or shows at night. You’ll find that there will be a lot of walking, so be sure to have both comfortable shoes and comfortable clothing. You won’t regret it!

7. Have a change of clothes

On top of dressing warm and comfortably, we like to keep a change of clothes for each person in the car, especially for the younger ones. Almost every year, someone gets wet or spills something on themselves. It doesn’t take a lot of room and is completely worth it if you end up needing to change.

8. Bring a wagon or stroller

When our kids were little, we would bring a stroller or a wagon for the kids to ride in. It definitely beats walking around and holding a toddler in your arms all day or having them upset because they’re tired and don’t want to walk anymore. Bonus points if you can also use it to store items brought from home and purchased at the fair!

Ferris wheel and carnival

9. Charged Phones

For our family, having fully charged phones before leaving the house is imperative because our kids like to use them in the car for music, watching videos, and playing games. The more important reason for this, however, is to have a way to communicate with one another in case of separation.

10. Shuttle schedule

Our fair has a complimentary shuttle for those who would like to take advantage of it. Usually, people park at a designated location (i.e., the local grocery store parking lot) and catch a ride to the fairgrounds using the shuttle. I would recommend having cash to tip the driver and be sure to know when the last shuttle arrives for a ride back to the parking lot.

Going to the state fair is a fun and exciting experience for the entire family, and something everyone looks forward to! While you’re in the car, be sure to strike up a conversation about what everyone would like to do. And lastly, don’t forget to take pictures while you’re there!

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author of this article and may not reflect the view of AAA—The Auto Club Group.

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