Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Great Minnesota Get Together

I admit it. I used to be a Minnesota State Fair hater. It's hard to ignore how much the event messes up traffic in our neighborhood. However, I started taking the kids a couple of years ago and I can now say I get it. I love the Fair. I have figured out a system that ensures that both the kids and I enjoy ourselves without burning out or breaking the bank.

First, we always go on a weekday early in the day. It's way less crowded and everyone in the family is freshest in the morning. I set a specific budget and bring that in cash. When the money is gone, we go home, which is usually around the time it starts to get more crowded and the kids are tired of walking. It's a win-win. We make sure our favorite things take priority for how we spend our money, we share treats, and take advantage of the Culligan stand with its free water instead of buying pricey drinks. We're lucky that we can take the city bus from our house to the fair so parking is never an issue (plus the bus ride is added fun!)

Here are some of our State Fair favorites:

Rides on the Kidway. This year Charlie was big enough to go on the rides with Ellis. It's going to be a big deal when we graduate from the Kidway to the Mighty Midway.

Robot Demos in the Education Building. This was a new activity this year. My friend Amy turned me onto this and Ellis just loved watching high school kids compete with robots they created. I need to figure out how to get Ellis more involved with Minnesota FIRST Robotics Competition. It's right up his alley.

The Skyride, which gives a great view of the whole fair and plops you down right by Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar.
And speaking of food:

You are not officially at the Fair until you eat your first deep-fried cheese curd.

The boys share one Hawaiian Shaved Ice very nicely. It's not my favorite, but they sure love it and it keeps them hydrated.

Cookies and Milk from Sweet Martha's (always the take home bucket size so we can have a little reminder of our fun day when we get home later). I ration them, and after cookies, I always make the boys burn off the sugar by walking back through the Fair to our bus stop so there are no sugar beast meltdowns.

It's worth it to see their chocolate-smeared happy faces.
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