Sunday, August 4, 2013

The State Fair

Before I moved to Indianapolis, I had never been to the State Fair.  Now we go every year.  We love the State Fair!  Probably the only thing about it that I do not like is the midway.  Of course, the kids love it.  The biggest problem that most people find with it is the cost.  It can get pricey, really pricey.  

With some careful planning, even the State Fair can be affordable.  It's gotten a little trickier since you now have to pay for parking in the fairgrounds, but at least it is only $5.  

The entry fee is $10 per person.  If you buy your tickets early, you can get them for $7 at CVS or Walmart.  I got ours at CVS and found that I can use my Extra Care Bucks (ECB's) to buy them.  If you're not familiar with ECB's, CVS will offer deals where if you buy certain items or certain quantities of items, you get ECB's back.  I had earned enough ECB's that I used them to pay for our tickets today, $28 savings.

In the Indianapolis Star, there are days when you get the paper and it will have a coupon in it for the next day to get into the fair free.  So, $1 or $1.50 per person...I honestly don't remember how much a single copy of the paper costs.  It beats $10.  Before you say free days are always packed...the State Fair is ALWAYS packed.

We went today because Lucas Oil Tractor Pulls were there.  Hubby and the kids love this event and at the fair, it's only $5 per person to go to the pulls.  I love them because the time they are at the tractor pulls, I get to go do the stuff that generally causes my children to repeatedly say "Are we done here yet?", "Can we go to something else now", "Do we really need to see the home ec building?".  They aren't rude about it, it just makes me feel rushed.

Most times we go, we spend very little after admission.  On the first day, we buy a lemon shake-up.  We keep the cup and wash it and as long as you have the cup, lid and straw, refills are $3 anywhere in the fair.  We generally share two because they're big.  I'll wash the cup and take it back throughout the entire fair.  FYI, it's not cheating, they'll tell you to do it.  This year, we were told if we keep all three pieces they're good every year, who knew?

Most of the time, I will take a tote instead of my purse and take snacks and bottled water.  Most times, I will even pack our lunch.  Today we ate lunch at the Dairy Bar. My son has declared them to have the best chocolate milk in town!  Grilled cheese sandwiches are good too.  The milks are only $.50 each and $.25 to refill.  The "milkshake" is really just a big cup of ice cream, you're not drinking these with a straw, is only $3.  We share those too.

There are so many free things to do at the fair too.  My husband and son LOVE Pioneer Village.  My husband loves all the steam engine demonstrations, it doesn't matter if they're cutting wood, removing corn off the cob, pressing brass medallions, he's just highly fascinated with the tractors and the ingenuity that they had way back when to make these machines do the jobs they do.  My son, Devon, would be at the Blacksmith stand every day if I'd take him there.  He loves watching them create things.  He's talked extensively with one particular Blacksmith about how to take up the hobby.  He's a little upset that he is still not old enough to go to the classes to learn how.  It was funny, when we got to the Blacksmith's spot, they remembered him and how often he was there last year.  That made his day.  

The teenager, of course, loves to find out which of her friends are there and she generally takes off and keeps in touch via the phone.  Some days she stays with us, depends on who's there and what's going on.

They have a free stage in the back of the fairgrounds and today, there was some wonderful Spanish music going on.  Each day is something different back there.

The snacks which range from fried cookie dough (Kate's favorite) to fried butter (I don't even understand that one) to fried well, fried everything it seems.  If you like that sort of thing, they have what's called $2 Tuesday where vendors will offer sample sizes of things for, you guessed it, $2.  I'm going with a friend on a $2 Tuesday this year and I might have to try the bacon glazed doughnuts.  I'm diabetic, so maybe I'll split them with Julie but they have me intrigued!

As much as I dislike the midway, the kids do love it so they know that we'll do one day of letting them ride rides.  The wristbands are $25 but you can get them at Walmart for $20.  

I really don't have anything against rides, but I think you can do rides at Holiday World or other amusement parks, the fair is about the animals, the competitions with veggies and baked goods, the demonstrations, learning about our state and the things we have here.  I learn something new every year.  Today, I learned that on average a home that has a garden and rain barrels saves 1300 gallons of water each summer.  That's average.  I have a large garden.  I have my barrels, I need to get hubby to install them.  I truly dislike paying for water in the city, rain water is free.

I would highly encourage everyone to experience their State Fair.  Here's the link for ours.  Look around for discounts and free days.  Put on some good walking shoes and go explore.  Take your time and enjoy and who knows, you just might learn something too!

1 comment:

  1. I need to find out more about rain barrels for my garden. Hubby is insistent that it will only make our crazy mosquito population even worse. I think it's a great idea, though.