Over the years, I’ve written extensively about the Fair. I would say I have a love-hate relationship with this place. So much of that love comes out of tradition: the food, the farm animals, and of course, getting a nice, hot scone. What’s to hate? The costs. I feel that no matter how we slice it, we end up spending way too much money.
I shared my story of how we overspent at the Fair years ago, and then what we did to spend less money on another year. As I had some definite thoughts about our trip from this weekend, I thought I’d add to this topic.
What We Did at the Fair
First, let me share what we did at the Fair. We visited last Sunday afternoon, thanks to the nudge of the free student tickets my kids received at school. We ate one meal at the Fair (we split Earthquake burgers and an order of fries). We love eating Fair treats, so we enjoyed a few of those. I told my kids no to rides and games this year and explained that it would be just cheaper if I bought them each a souvenir. They bit, and I bought them bubble guns. We walked around and saw the animals, and a couple expo halls. We splurged on visiting the new bug exhibit as I have a daughter who wants to be an entomologist one day.
All in all, we were at the Fair for maybe three hours tops. We’d gotten it out of our system, accomplished what we wanted to do, and were home by early afternoon. Maybe it’s getting older or maybe it’s because I enjoy quiet – but whatever the case, I can’t stomach a full day at the Fair anymore. I left feeling like we’d done a fairly decent job at not overspending, although I always feel like the Fair is set up to nickel and dime you. (Seriously, EVERYTHING is an “extra” cost once you’re in.) However, out of curiosity I decided to face facts and do the math.
What We Actually Spent at the Fair
Today I’m going to keep it real and share what we actually spent. As you’ll soon find out, it was a very expensive Sunday afternoon!
Two Adult Tickets: $28
Bug Exhibit for 4: $28
Bubble Guns (2): $26
Scones, Baker’s Dozen: $18 (pretty sure they raised the price!)
Lunch (2 burgers, and 1 order of fries): $30
One Bottle of Water: $4.15 (ARE YOU KIDDING ME.)
Two Elephant Ears: $16
Parking: $15 (a lot a couple blocks outside the Fair)
Total Damage: $149.15
Now, it certainly could’ve been worse. We nixed the rides and games. We had free student tickets. We split lunch and stayed only long enough to be hungry for one meal.
But, when confronted with the total amount we spent, I can’t help ask – was it worth it? Sure, the afternoon was fun, but I could’ve thought of other things I probably would’ve preferred doing that would have cost less money. For instance, I explained to my kids that I’d recently posted a deal where you could stay at the Great Wolf Lodge for $149 (this is still good!), that gave them pause.
While it can be a bit painful to evaluate money purchases like these that you can’t change, they can empower you to make different, better choices for the future. As for me, I think next year I’ll be encouraging my family to pocket the money and do something else instead. (Of course, if you’re still planning a trip, do check out my post on how to save at the Fair!)
Now it’s your turn: what are your thoughts about the costs at the Fair? Do you think it’s worth it? Have you successfully done the Fair on the cheap – if so, how? Can you think of a time you did the math and were shocked by how much you’d spent? I’d love to hear about it – leave a comment below!