Summer is here and with it comes county fairs and carnivals. Both offer up loads of entertainment, food, games and rides for your family. Getting out the door isn't always easy though, and you don't want to be caught unprepared. It's important to know what to pack, which favorite foods to try and how to keep your family safe while exploring this summer.
What to Pack
County fairs mean loads of time outside under the hot summer sun. Make sure you pack enough sunscreen to last the whole family for the day, as well as bug spray to keep those pesky critters at bay. An extra set of clothes for the family isn't a bad idea either. Many fairs offer water games and entertainment and no one wants to go home with a soggy bottom or shirt. Water bottles filled with ice water and a few healthy snacks will help keep everyone going. Water will keep everyone hydrated in between all of the sweet fair treats they gobble down, and even the biggest sweet tooth lover may crave an apple or savory snack by the end of the day.
Things to Eat
Fairs and carnivals are not the places to search out a salad. No, this is where you look for all things fried and smothered in cheese. Fried Oreos, Twinkies and Snickers are a must, as well as deep fried pickles if you can find them. Corn dogs with extra mustard, turkey legs, cheese fries, cheese curds and gyros are easy lunch items for the family to enjoy. Funnel cake, elephant ears and beaver tails are normally regional treats, but keep your eyes peeled. You never know what new concoctions and confections you may find when the fair pulls into town.
You can't have a county fair without a few rides. Ferris wheels, mini roller coasters and monstrously high slides tend to be regulars. You can also hop on a version of the spinning teacups, bumper cars, the Scrambler and flying swings. Generally, you can find rides just for the little ones, who may think they are ready for the roller coasters, but just aren't tall enough yet. Hop on a carousel horse or see if there are any flying cars or boats available. If you are very lucky there will be a mini-train for the whole family to enjoy together.
Family rules and safety
No matter when or where you go to enjoy a county fair, the family rules must be laid out from the start. Every child, even the little ones who you think won't wander off (they always do), must know where to meet if they get lost. Point out county fair workers so your kids know who to ask for help.
A general rule of thumb for smaller children is to tell them to go find another mommy or a police officer. Children recognize women as mommies and more times than not a woman will stop to help a lost child. It gives your child one person to focus on, instead of several men, women, fair workers and police officers to remember if they are scared and can't find their own mommy or daddy.
It is also a good idea to stick your phone number on a card in your child's pocket or on a wristband so employees at the fair can contact you quickly if they find your child. Just remember to leave your cell phone on!
What other summer fair tips do you have?