Every county and small town in the Midwest has some sort of fair or festival. Between mid-June and mid-October, every county in Ohio has its fair. You can find a listing for them here: 2011 Ohio Fairs. These are excellent opportunities for an inexpensive outing with the kids. Depending on the fair you go to, there should be a little something for everyone.
For our outing, we chose the Crawford County fair which is in Bucyrus, Ohio (home of the bratwurst festival!…another fun outing). My mother is from the area and there is a horse race run in honor of my grandfather, so we had a reason to travel. Several of my family joined us for part of the day.
We decided to make an afternoon of it, and that was just about the right amount of time. I did run short of cash, and you HAVE to have cash for a fair. Otherwise, it worked out well.
We saw a small sampling of animals (cows, chickens, sheep, llamas, and horses); paid $1/each for 9 holes of putt-putt, ate some fair food, watched horse races, and rode the few rides they had. A county fair is a so much smaller than the state fair, it is easy to do it all in 3 – 4 hours.
We lucked out that a) kids under 8 are free and b) it was 1/2 off admission day…so we paid a grand total of $6 for the three of us to get in the gate. Parking was free. Food was generally reasonably priced but even at reasonable, it cost us about $35 for lunch, drinks, and snacks through the day. We took our water bottles with us so we didn’t have to pay for bottled water (and I have a thing against plastic bottles anyway) which helped. My brother-in-law paid $9/each for the three kids (my two and his son) to have unlimited rides. This worked out to be a pretty good deal. Each ride was $2 – $3 dollars, and they rode 5 or 6 each.
What to bring:
- SUNSCREEN AND WATER! Ohio is Hot Hot Hot in the summer, and you will be in dusty, dirty, and blacktopped areas. Air conditioned buildings are rare at most fairs. Be careful not to over heat
- CASH – Visa is not really everywhere you want to be. ATMs are the ones that charge you and arm and a leg to get your money out
- Backpack – we collected a lot of coloring books and odds and ends of things, having a backpack to put them in really helped so no one had to carry them
“Really Good” and “really fun”. They both really liked the rides the most. I liked that they got to see some farm animals up close and they learned about worms and how they help the dirt, so there was a little education there.
I do love fairs, but I know they aren’t for everyone. The Crawford county fair is a decent one, but if my family weren’t there I probably wouldn’t travel up for it. I did really enjoy watching the kids and playing putt-putt with Eric while Kira played photographer for us.