Prepare For the Fair: Tips for Attending the 2012 Missouri State Fair
Kids, I'm a person who has lived in Sedalia many years out of their life. I'm also a person who has worked here at the station with the fair for several years. I can tell you, fair time is a special time - and you've got to get ready.
Sure, there's lots of fun and lots of food at the fair - but for me, it's also part work. So if you haven't spent much time on the grounds lately, or if you have and need a new outlook, here are a few things I'm going to do to prepare myself.
- First of all, I'm going to do my darndest to get as much sleep as I can each night. Now that may vary as the days go on - sometimes we have to be there late, sometimes we want to be there late. You do need your rest so that when you're out on the fairgrounds, you don't get wiped out too easily.
- I'm also going to have my sun protection: Two pairs of sunglasses (I invariably lose one or break one over those 10 days), at least two hats or visors (again, one is bound to get lost or stained or misplaced) and sunscreen. I choose the kind that with the highest SPF I can get, but you gotta pick one that's right for you. 100 SPF may be good for me, but you might think that's extreme.
- I also have to watch myself when it comes to money. Now, you guys are aren't probably going to be out there every day all day like we are. You're probably going to pick two or three days to head out there, see a show, see the exhibits, pick up some souvenirs and have some corn dogs. But for us, we're there at least eight if not nine days out of ten. So if you buy a corn dog, a hamburger, kettle corn, a lemonade, etc. every day, that can get expensive. So what I do is limit myself to what I call a "Fair Budget." I can only spend so much each day, and I'd better choose what's most important. If I see a cool thing in the commercial building, I'd better be prepared to be funnel-cake-free that day. These are the sacrifices we have to make.
- Also, I think it's good for everyone to be extra cautious - if you're on the grounds, don't bring your whole wallet if you don't have to. Maybe bring just your ID, debit card, a little cash (I wouldn't bring huge bills like hundreds or fifties) and your tickets, and keep them in a front pocket. Or, if you're like me, you can put them in a pocket that zips or buttons. You'd hate to lose your tickets to Hank on the midway because you didn't secure them when you got on the Zipper. Although most people are pretty nice folks who want to see the Fair as much as you do, you can never be too cautious with things like strollers and purses and wallets - or even things you bought on the grounds. Don't assume because you're in a kid friendly area that someone won't try to take your stuff.
- One other way that I prepare is to have most of my household chores done before the Fair starts. I do a big clean of the house, I do all of my laundry, and go to the store to a big grocery shop. That way when I'm tired after a long day of fun at the fair, I don't have to worry about whether or not I've got milk for breakfast. I stockpile water bottles (many reusable) everywhere and put a couple in the freezer. I've got my cooling vest frozen and ready to go. I've got comfortable shoes that I can walk in all day for ten days.
- When it comes to transportation around town, I always think ahead of where I'm going and how long it takes me to get there normally. If it takes me about ten minutes to drive to work on a normal Monday, I bet it'll take 20 on a Fair day. I plan for that much time and probably a little more to be on the safe side. Basically it takes double the amount of time to get through Sedalia traffic during the fair as it does normally. I also try to stay off of the main traffic roads if I don't have to if I'm just driving to work. It's a good idea to be extra cautious when you're driving around town during fair time. After all, there are going to be many people in town who don't know their way around here like you do. The possibility of accidents will only increase unless you're on your guard.
And of course, there are tips for you to get the most out of your fair experience when you're there, but I think that's another post.
Now get ready to get out there and have fun!