Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Top 10: Family Fun at the State Fair

By Victoria Saley from obSEUSSed

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The Utah State Fair is an annual tradition for our family. Here are our top 10 favorite things to do to make it a fun family outing.

1. Kids Fish for Free
Volunteers help bait the pole, kids get to cast and reel the fish in (take a picture), then volunteers take the fish off.  This is my kind of fishing.  Our kids look forward to it every year. No fishing license, gear or mess required.FAIR

2. Toddlers on the Farm
Little Hands on the Farm is a perfect activity for toddlers through grade school ages. Check out all the stations they have set up. It is very hands-on and the kids earn a token at the end for their hard work and turn it in for a treat at the country store.
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3. Active Animals
Walk through the large barns to see the prize winning pigs, sheep, cattle, chickens, bunnies and more. This is always a hit with the kids, although they may complain about the smell a bit. The fair does provide hand gel at the doors of most animal buildings to use after petting. Check out the butter sculptures too. Last year was farm version of the Royal Wedding.
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4.  Free Nikon Camera Rental from Pictureline
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Get into the Fair Free:
You can pre-purchase discount tickets (2 for $10) to participate in the Utah State Fair Photowalk sponsored by Pictureline. Then you'll get a $10 credit to Pictureline when you check out your camera. The free camera rental (trade in your ID) allows you to try out a great Nikon with different lenses to use during your own tour of the State Fair. Available Fri. and Sat. Sept. 7 and 8 from 3:00-9:00 p.m.  Click here for more details.  I did this last year and used my own SD card to save the pictures (otherwise you can purchase the SD card- or use that $10 credit) then enter your picture in their photo contest. It was fun to try the Nikon out but I’m still loving my Cannon.    ** Remember to walk through the Photography exhibit. It is one of my favorite things to do too.
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5. Daily Entertainment and Exhibits
Our kids loved the seal show and clowns walking around. This year they’ll have Olympic style diving shows. We also enjoy looking at the food and crafts kids enter in the 4-H center.
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6. Last Minute Contests
Check the schedule for last-minute contests. We came across this Keebler Cracker Stacker contest last year and signed up right there.  I won 2nd place and earned a huge ribbon and tons of crackers. The kids had a separate contest too. There are often food eating contests, like the good ol' pie eating contest, if you're up for it.
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7.  Fried Dinner
They have a variety of restaurant stands, tables and food vendors surrounding the fair.  If you want the real fair experience try the ‘fried oreos’, funnel cakes, corn dogs and more.  I always love the fresh corn on the cob slathered in butter.
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8. Carnival Rides and Booths
We often skip these because of the high prices ($2 per ride down a big slide?) but that is also because we save our money for a few carnival rides at Brigham City Peach Days the same week.  There are enough free activities to keep the kids busy at the State Fair to skip the rides but if this is your only chance for the year and the tradition you look forward to, then go for it.

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9. Nightly Entertainment
Our kids loved watching the square dancers at night but they also have free music concerts (with admission, you’ll need to pick them up the day-of at noon). This year Blues Traveler, Jars of Clay and Sheena Easton are a few bands playing.  Also stop by the rodeo arena.  My favorite to watch is the barrel racing on opening day.

10. You can wear your cowboy boots, even if you aren’t a cowboy.
There aren’t many places you can get away with this but now is the time to pull your boots out if you have some. Our little ones love to have a place to wear their boots.
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The Utah State Fair runs Sept. 6-16, 2012. Sun.- Thurs. 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., Fri. and Sat. open until 11 p.m. Utah State Fairgrounds located on North Temple and 1100 West.
The Best Day to Go: Opening Day Discount $5/person (thanks to Questar normally $7-10 each) Other package deals available. Children ages 0-5 are free.
Remember your $6 cash for parking and bring more cash for spending money.
See the Utah State Fair website for more details.

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