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5 Great Fair-Going Tips for Families

This article is sponsored by the Saratoga County Fair

little girl in red holding a stick with a monarch butterfly on it with one hand while holding out her other hand, grinning

Are you ready for the fair? The 2017 Saratoga County Fair starts on Tuesday, July 18th and runs through Sunday, the 23rd. If you've got little ones in tow, you'll want to check out these fair-going tips for families to ensure you have the best possible time at one of the most exciting events of the year.

1) Pack the right supplies

close up of a kid carrying a dark backpack

Bringing the right gear with you is a balancing act - you have to bring what you legitimately might need, but at the same time you don't want to be bogged down by 30 pounds of stuff. A backpack is going to be an essential item that will be great for consolidating all the kids' things when they go on rides.

You'll also want to bring:

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Bottled water
  • Band-Aids
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pain relievers
  • Wipes*

*You'll need wipes for sticky fair foods! The Saratoga County Fair has brand new food vendors this year: The Pretzel Lady, Scott's Brats, Vinnie's Fine Foods, and Bacon Bombs. There's also a special beer just for the fair - that's one treat you won't have to share with the kids!

Check the weather before heading out as well - you might need to bring a rain jacket.

And, if you have an infant, of course you'll need the diaper bag complete with bottles, formula, diapers, pacifiers, and anything else you normally include in that all-important bag.

2) Arrive early

major crowd at the fair

The Saratoga County Fair opens at 9am and goes until midnight. You don't need to arrive at the crack of dawn so you're waiting by the gates, but it is advisable to get an early start. You might able to beat the crowds, get first dibs on that great fair food and fair rides, and the kids will get tired earlier on so you can head out before midnight without a fight.

You can also grab a great parking spot the earlier you arrive - the Saratoga County Fair has free parking available in lots A, B, D, and E.

3) Have a to-do-list in mind

a woman and two young kids on a flying amusement park ride on their stomachs

There is an incredible amount of activities, competitions, rides, entertainment, and more going on at the Saratoga County Fair - you will literally not be able to do absolutely everything. Discuss as a family beforehand what the must-do activities and must-see attractions are.

Some of the bigger aspects of the fair you might want to consider putting on this to-do list include:

  • The rodeo
  • The demolition derby
  • 4-H shows
  • The Lego competition
  • Live music and entertainment
  • Masters of the Chainsaw
  • Robinson's Racing Pigs
  • Axe Women of Maine

See the full schedule of events >>

Note: Schedules occasionally change to accommodate competitions.

4) Be safe

three little boys on mini tractors, the first two are wearing a matching green shirt, the third is wearing a nonmatching green shirt

The fair is very popular, and therefore, crowded. Make sure you can easily find your child and that if you should get separated, they know what to do.

  • Have your kids wear brightly colored clothes*
  • Put your cell number on a piece of paper in their pockets, or on a piece of tape under their shirt.
  • Agree on a designated meeting space if you get separated.
  • Tell them who to look for if they can't find you - a fair employee, a police officer, etc.
  • Take a picture of them before you leave so everyone knows who to look for if need be.
  • The minute you can't find your child ask for help.

*Bonus: dress them in matching brightly colored clothes.

5) Pace yourself and know when to head out

a young kid who has fallen asleep on his mom's lap

Kids and adults have varying levels of stamina. You know your child better than anyone - you know how much they can take before a temper tantrum is around the corner, you know when their typical nap time is, etc. Work around their schedule so they don't exhaust themselves too early on.

Take breaks as needed as you're making your way around the fair - don't try to fit too much in, and leave when you know it's time to call it a day. Remember, the fair runs all week long - you can always come back!

Find Saratoga County Fair activities and more just for kids >>

Get more details on the Saratoga County Fair >>


  • Simple Good and Tasty: Tips for Making the State Fair Fun for the Whole Family
  • Wired: 10 Survival Tips for Parents Taking Kids to the Fair