For 12 days every year, we Minnesotan’s gather for one of the biggest and most attended state fairs in the country. The sights, the sounds and the smells (some, not-so-great), can’t be found anywhere else. The State Fair is an encore to our blissful summers and a final hurrah for the kids before they start pushing pencils.
While the fair is a great annual ritual, it can pick-pocket your wallet if you’re not careful. Preparation is key to surviving it and keeping your budget and emotional well-being intact.
Here’s a few things I do to set myself up for fair-going success.
Ditch the car. I’d rather spend my time waiting in line for cheese curds than driving around for a decent parking spot. The park and ride is really the way to go. It’s free and all you have to do is drive to a designated location several miles from the fairgrounds and then catch a shuttle over.
Come early, leave early. If you aren’t into fighting the crowds and want to get in and out before lunchtime, this may be the best thing for you. Plus you might find some vendors willing to offer some freebies or samples while they aren’t so swamped later on in the day.
Buy tickets beforehand. You’ll save a couple bucks by purchasing tickets at Cub Foods or other locations throughout the state.
And, purchase the Blue Ribbon Bargain Book. For $4 pre-fair and $5 during, these can also be purchased at Cub Foods.
Go on Thrifty Thursday (August 26). This is when all the cheapskates show up. Tickets are $2 less and there are other discounts offered on games and concessions.
Bring a bottle of water and small snacks. With beverages costing in excess of $3 a gulp, I just bring a bottled water and fill up at various locations throughout the grounds when I’m low. The snacks help me avoid my proclivity towards gluttony.
What have I forgotten? How do you save a buck or two?