If it’s August, it means it’s state fair time. When I moved to Minnesota from Connecticut over 20 years ago, I was introduced to the Gopher State’s incredible annual celebration of “every food on a stick”, butter sculptures, crop art made from corn kernels, great music, and amusement rides that turn my stomach even watching from afar. Though I am far from an expert, here are five tips to consider for your fair going experience.
The last thing you want to have happen is an hour into the fair, your feet are throbbing in pain because your prioritized fashion over function. You will put in a lot of steps, so wear a comfortable pair of shoes excellent for walking. Also, do yourself a favor, and check out the weather in advance of attending the fair. Although it may be sunny when you enter the fair, a rain shower may be in the forecast and bringing a light jacket will be so appreciated. On the flip side, there may be cloud cover to start but within minutes, the 75 degrees temps have ratcheted up to a 90-degree scorcher. You will be kicking yourself wearing jeans and a hoodie.
There will be spills…but stains are avoidable
Since you will be going to the fair with your eyes ten times bigger than your stomach, you will consume more food than you can ever imagine. I always crave cheese curds and a bucket of hot chocolate chip cookies, and spills are inevitable as my family passes around the food either as we fast trot to the next activity or as we awkwardly sit curbside or at a table with another family. My secret weapon are NEATsheets, which easily adhere to shirts and laps. These have saved so many t-shirts and shorts over the years, and have allowed our family to avoid unnecessary trips to the bathroom to blot out a stain. I highly recommend the NEATsheets 20-count pouch because it conveniently fits into bags and backpacks.
Bring a water bottle
I provide this tip for two reasons. Especially if you attend the fair during the day, you will get dehydrated quickly from the sun and all the activities you may engage in from the giant slide to the Krazy Maze. Also, when you go the fair, you want to spend your money on the yummy food, rides, and games and not bottles of water. Especially if you are attending with the family, you can easily spend $10 to $20 on water, when you should be spending that money on a bucket of cookies or trying to win a life-sized stuffed animal.
Hand wipes will come in handy
Inevitably, you will have a smorgasbord of food and beverages stuck on your hands and face from all the tempting food stands at the fair. Also, who can resist petting the animals, especially the babies, at the exhibits throughout the fair grounds. So, there is nothing handier than having hand wipes in the backpack or shoulder bag, especially if you are attending with little ones. A favorite of mine are NEATwipes individually wrapped hand wipes. They are really convenient to carry with you, effective against germs, and they will leave your hands feelings soothing because they are infused with aloe and glycerin.
Sun screen is a must
I get it. In the excitement of attending a fair, simple precautions can be overlooked. You will thank yourself immensely, if you take the two to three minutes to lather on the sun screen and you bring a hat. Walking a fair in August, no matter the state, you are going to get a ton of sun. The mementos you want to take away from the day may include some awesome selfies with friends, a local delicacy, or a prize from the arcade. What you don’t want is a sunburn that will have you aching for days after.
Greg Pesky is a founder and partner of NEATGOODS, LLC., a company focused on innovative solutions, exceptional design, and sustainable practices, motivated to provide better, not more. He resides in Minneapolis and has attended many Minnesota State Fairs over the years, but is an admitted “chicken” when it comes to rides.