Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What's Working Wednesday: Fairs/ New York State Fair on the Cheap

What's Working Wednesday is my weekly post to showcase something that is working for me or my family at the moment. It may not work for us forever and it may or may not work for you.

The Great New York State Fair starts tomorrow. We have gone to the fair for the last three years and have always had a really great time. With the fair in mind, I thought I would share a few tips that we practice when going to fairs in general and some specific recommendations for the New York State Fair.

 First, I want to give some recommendations for going to fairs in general:

1. Bring your own water
We each own  water backpacks and we love taking them with us to the fair! They keep your hands free, are pretty easy to refill, and the weight that they add is hardly noticeable. If you don't own water backpacks at least bring your own water bottles that you can re-fill. If you must have soft drinks bring some of your own. Drinks can be a big expense at the fair.
2. Bring your own food
As long as the venue allows it (which the NYS Fair does), it saves a lot of money to bring at least one meal of food along with you and several snacks. Food that you bring with you is, most likely, going to be healthier than any food you'd find at the fair and it will allow you to put your food money towards a couple of things that you always look forward to eating at the fair instead of having to spend money on every bit of sustenance that you need for the day. (Especially if you are going to open and close the fair like we usually do!)

Next, I'd like to mention some cheap and free things that you won't want to miss that are specific to the New York State Fair:

1. Pre-Buy Tickets
Pre-sale tickets for the fair can be purchased at various places including Wegmans and Tops (even the Tops in Lowville!) for $6 but must be purchased by the day before the fair (which for this year is today!). At the gate fair tickets are $10 for everyone over 12.

2. 25 cent milk
Be sure to head over to the Dairy Products Building for your cup of chocolate or plain milk for only a quarter. We always look forward to this! While you are in the Dairy Products Building be sure to check out this year's butter sculpture.

 3. $1 Baked Potatoes
When you get hungry one inexpensive way to fill your belly is to head over to the Horticulture Building for their $1 baked potatoes. They come with sour cream, butter, and/ or cheese. While you're in the Horticulture Building be sure to check out some other great New York State products and be sure to get a sample (and maybe buy a bag or two) of the maple cotton candy. It's good stuff!

4. Free Entertainment
Be sure to check the schedule for the day you go but some things that we always look forward to are (in no particular order):
* The Circus! Yes, it isn't Barnum and Bailey or The Shriners but the circus at the fair is pretty fun. We often eat our packed lunch while sitting and watching it under the big top.
 * Bandaloni - the strolling one man band
 * The Train Exhibit
* The Agricultural Museum - watch people make soap, brooms, baskets, dulcimers, etc. Last year we enjoyed "The Tool Chest" where we learned about old tools and heard some fun stories outside and we were able to try our hand at weaving on a loom inside!
 * Horse Shows and other Livestock events
* Animals - many animals to look at and pet both at the petting zoo and in the various livestock buildings.
 * 4H Building - we've never actually made it to this building early enough to really check out all the cool stuff in it. Hopefully this year we will though.
* Animal Shows. Every year there is something different offered. 
* The fair parade.

 * Sand Sculpture. A huge sand sculpture made with 180 tons of sand is created throughout the duration of the fair. Last year's theme was 9/11 and it was pretty amazing.

* Fire Safety Show and Exhibit. As a homeschooler and a parent I love walking through this exhibit (that I don't think has really changed since I was a kid) and chatting with the kids about fire hazards and safety.

5. Cheap(er) Food
Towards the end of the night when we start getting hungry we often head to the food stands on the outskirts near the basketball courts/ wrestling mats. There you can get 4 hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries or drinks for $5. It's not the best tasting food in the world but it's relatively inexpensive.
NOTE: If fair food is your thing this year the fair is selling Best Bets Bargain Books. The coupons look a lot like the ones that used to be in the programs that you got when you entered the fair. They can be purchased for $4 before the fair and $5 at the fair. The coupons don't look like they'd be worth it to our family because we don't really buy that much fair food but check out the list of coupons available. They may save you money on things that you were going to buy anyway.
One sight you probably won't see this year due to our embarrassingly tiny amount of snowfall.
We plan to go to the The Great New York State Fair this Saturday (possibly for the last time in a long time) and we are really looking forward to it!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading my blog and commenting!