Tips and Tricks for a Fun Fair Experience
One of the best parts of summer, I think, is spending time at the local festivals and fairs. Even though I’m a grown up now and supposed to be an “adult”, I admit to throwing a temper tantrum or two if I don’t get to go to at least one festival or attend the fair every year.
For me walking through the booths and barns and checking out the local artisans, crafters, and farmers’ wares is enjoyable and relaxing. But I know that the kids wind up bored to tears if that’s all we did, so of course we have to take in the rides and games that the fair has to offer. I love letting the kids try out different things and explore the fair, but I also make sure we all adhere to some basic guidelines.
Here are my helpful tips for making the most out of your next fair visit:
Dress for the Weather
Shoes that are comfortable are a must when visiting the fair or festival. If there are animals, you’ll want something on your feet that you don’t mind getting a little dirty. The same goes for the kids; don’t put them in shoes that may become comfortable after long periods of standing or walking.
While the weather may be hot and sunny, we all know that can change in an instant. Prepare for rain by packing the umbrellas or a light jacket in case the weather cools off after dark.
Pack the Kitchen Sink
Just this once it’s perfectly okay to pack more than you think you’ll need. Make sure your first aid kit is stocked and ready to travel, as well as extra changes of clothes for the kids (and even yourself). Wet wipes don't have to be limited to just the diaper bag, keeping them on hand can help clean up spills, wash hands after petting animals, and even get stains out of clothes! Snacks and travel activities should be included to break up the boredom of a long car ride. A tote bag can be helpful for carrying all the fairway prizes from the games you’ll play and win!
Find a Home Base
Older kids may have a different plan for what they’d like to do during the fair. Designate a meeting place for the family to regroup if you should decide to part ways for individual fun. If the festival has a map, make sure everyone has a copy and understands how to get to the meeting place. Explain to younger kids what to do and who to find if you become separated.
Set a Budget
It’s easy to break the bank at a fair or festival. All of the games, food, and ride tickets add up quickly. Have an idea of what how much you’ll allow the kids to spend before you go. It’s often easier to give each child their own money (if they’re old enough) and be firm in making sure they understand that their allotted amount is all that they get.
Inspect Before You Ride
Scrutinize the rides before allowing your child on them (as well as yourself). Watch the ride through a couple of trips to see how the riders move and how fast the ride goes before allowing your children to get on. Of course anything that doesn’t seem safe or a ride that appears to be too rough should be skipped. Always use the safety harnesses and belts.
Should you find any rides with damaged belts or harnesses, bring it to the attention of the ride operator. The same goes for rides with belts or harnesses that don’t fit your child properly; skip these rides and find something safer. Be sure to obey any height or age restrictions for the ride and explain to children any rules that are posted. Explain that if they break any rules, the ride operator will stop the ride and make them get off.
Festivals and fairs are one of my favorite ways to let out my inner kid. They are also fun ways to create memories with your family.
What tips can you offer to make the fair experience more enjoyable for the whole family?