Tuesday, August 7, 2012

OC Fair 4 Less

Attending the OC Fair is annual tradition that I look forward to each year as it rekindles childhood memories. And while some fair guests rave about the deep friend (fill-in-the-blank) options, my all time favorite fair activity is getting inspired by all the entries. From teapot collections to themed caked decor to quilts, there's incredible talent in the OC!  I especially love the table decorating contest and have an immense desire to enter as a contestant. Next year!

But through it all going to the fair can be a very costly trip. The tickets alone are $11 per adult, so if you're not careful this mini vacation can wind up costing you an arm and a leg. So I decided to compile a Top 10 list to not only help your wallet and improve your fair experience. :) 

1. Bring your own water:  The fair charges $2.75 for a bottle, which is beyond ridiculous. So it seems only logical to bring your own. However, ice cold water is always more desirable than room-temperature. My suggestion is to throw 2 or 3 bottles in the freezer the night before so you can enjoy the cold water throughout the day.
2. Wear a hat or bring a parasol: A parasol is a fancy word for day umbrella. It's going to be scorching hot and it's an easy way to look trendy and keep cool.
3. Sample the products, but hold off on buying: Yes the vendors are definitely going to tell you that the price is only good now. That's a marketing technique to lure consumer to increase sales.  My recommendation is to hear the pitch, walk away, and wait till the end of the day to see if you still want it. If you do, you can go back or you can go home and (most likely) buy it online.
4. Check out Discount Days: When I was a student I would often go on "We Care Wednesdays" because a specified donation would get you complimentary admission. Now as a big girl who doesn't get summer vacation off, this option is not as convenient. However, the OC Fairs offer a $2 admission for weekend early birds.  Definitely a great bargain!

5. Carpool: Parking is expensive and if you're going with friends, go together instead of meeting them there. Not only will you be able to have everyone in one place but you can all split the parking ticket cost.
6. Bring hand sanitizer and a small pack of tissues: Let's be frank. The fair isn't the best place to eat with your hands, especially with all the adorable baby critters that we'll be petting throughout the day. So be safe and bring hand sanitizer. You can buy them for less than a buck at the dollar store. Also, bring toilet paper or napkins of some kind, because we've all been in that situation where we go use the restroom and there's no toilet paper :(
7. Bring cash: Not only is it more convenient to do business with the vendors, but it will help you stay on target with how much you want to spend that day. Once the cash is gone you can't spend more, which doesn't really have the same impact when you spend with a credit card.

8. Enjoy the free events: This may sound like a no-brainer but plan to watch the entertainment versus paying to ride rides. It's included in your admission ticket there are some and interesting things to see.  My cousin and I watched the camel milking demonstration, which was not only a cool thing to watch, but educational as well.

9. Bring snacks: Yeah yeah the fair has food, but most items start at $7 and if you snack throughout the day that snack it will add up.  Be more selective about the food you try at the fair so you can save some serious dough.
10. Take pictures with your own camera:  Like all amusements parks/fairs they will charge a premium for photos. Instead bring your own camera and print them yourself online.  Not only will you get to edit your photos you'll treasure the fun memories.

Yours Truly,


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