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8 Tips for Attending a Fall Fair or Festival

Things to know before you head out to celebrate all things autumn

By Kari Kynard Ridge on September 16, 2014

Tips for Attending Fall Fairs and Festivals
Photo courtesy of TheBigE_ESE

Colorful leaves, bountiful harvests, cooler temperatures and gourds shaped like farmyard critters – there’s no better way to celebrate autumn than by attending a fall festival or fair.

These events occur in communities throughout the country, throughout the fall season to reflect each area’s agriculture and farming cultures. They range from small affairs consisting of displays of locally grown pumpkins and hand-sewn quilts held in a grange hall, to large affairs spanning multiple acres and weeks, such as New England’s The Big E, which attracts 1 million visitors each year.

No matter which event you’re attending, be sure to check out these tips for attending fall fairs and festivals.

1. Do Some Research

Before you go, look at the event’s website to find the schedule of activities. For multiday fairs, this can help you select the day you’d most like to attend. Knowing the schedule will ensure you never miss the racing baby pigs event or the oxen pull contest. Some festivals have printable schedules on their websites, which you could also access from a smartphone.

2. Wear Comfortable Clothes

Fairs and festivals are not fashion shows. Sturdy shoes and comfortable clothes will allow you to participate in activities such as the basketball shot game, the dart-throw and a pie-eating contest in comfort.

3. Bring Cash

You will need cash for everything from parking to buying a caramel apple to purchasing tickets for rides. Some events accept credit cards, but plan to bring cash to be safe.

4. Bring a Charged Cellphone

It almost goes without saying, since many of us are tethered to our phones, but phones can keep your group connected. At fall festivals, when one person wants to ride the merry-go-round, another wants to get a corn dog and another person wants to check out the horse show, cellphones are vital for getting your group back together afterward.

5. Bring a Jacket or Sweater

Autumn’s warm afternoons can quickly turn chilly. Make sure to have an extra layer ready, so you can enjoy the fair into the evening when the midway lights are bright.

6. Bring a Backpack

You never know what you might want to buy at these events until you are there. A backpack allows you to carry the panda toy your daughter won at the ring toss, while keeping your hands free to buy something from an arts and crafts vendor.

7. Arrive Early

You’ll get a good parking spot, see the livestock at their perkiest, be the first to check out the crafts and produce displays, and try your region’s favorite foods – whether it be a tamale or a fried Twinkie.

8. Do Some Reconnaissance

Take a walk around the event when you first arrive to find the things you most want to do and see. This will give you the lay of the land and also provide a chance to locate your favorite exhibits, foods, games, rides and vendors.

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