Tuesday, October 17, 2017

State Fair First Timers

Dave and I didn't grow up going to the fair.  When I lived in North Caroline we'd go to the local fair but nothing like the huuuuuuge production that is the State Fair of Texas.  We tagged along with friends one time in high school and really all I remember doing was the car show (because I was there with a bunch of 17 year old boys) and walking through the expo part where you can check out mattresses and hot tubs (seriously).  Lots of my friends are fair fanatics and have been going for years and years and every year we've said we were going to go we've never actually followed through.  

Well... this year was the year.  We saw gorgeous weather on the forecast for Sunday and so we piled in the mini van with my parents and headed out to Fair Park.





Last year 2.4 million people attended the fair and I seriously feel like half of them were there on Sunday.  The Texas-OU game was on Saturday so we figured Sunday wouldn't be as busy but we totally figured wrong.  According to the news it was the busiest day of the fair so far.  Good planning on our part! ;)

We started off in some of the ag barns... checking out the animals that were there to be shown as well as making our way through the petting zoo area.  This was where we saw what was possibly the world's largest pig.  I have no idea if it was or not - but if it isn't I'd be shocked! hahaha


This baby was only a few days old!


We fed all kinds of goats, ostriches, llamas, donkeys and several others and we were cracking up at the kids reactions to all the animals.






After the animals we washed up and headed over to the little farm area.  The boys were NOT super thrilled about this "little kids" area because they were ready for rides and games (look at their faces!), but they collected, planted and watered like pros and when they traded their bounty out for a snack at the end they cheered up :)






We stopped by the tractors...





... and then made our way to the midway.




Ready to play... 
(also... not our Coke and now all I can think is that someone paid like $6 for that and left it! hahaha)


The first game they wanted to play was basketball and wouldn't you know it Mason made it on his second shot.  Crazy.  He could have picked one of those small little basketballs in the back, the large plush basketballs on the side or the HUGE inflatable chairs and he went with the understated and subtle choice...


... the chair ;)


I'm not sure I've ever seen him more proud!  The guy at the booth suggested I take a photo of him sitting in it right there in the midway and I'm so glad I did!

They took their chances with the rubber ducks...


... and Griffin's whole trip to the fair was made when she picked this trumpet as her prize.


I was kind of surprised that she opted for this instead of the princess wands and stuffed pandas but she was decisive and seriously played this non-stop.





A few more games and then we made a pitstop to grab a few snacks including cotton candy.  Griffin LOVED her some cotton candy!



We tried the funnel cake bacon queso burger which is exactly as the name suggests... a burger with bacon and queso and then funnel cakes as buns.  It was surprisingly good - but granted we shared it about 4 ways so I'm not sure how good it would have been had one person tried to eat the entire thing :)


We were sitting right by one of the stages and were about to leave when a show started so we decided to stay and watch.



And it was so cute because Griffin was still holding onto her trumpet from earlier when the guy on stage saw her and pointed at her to play...


I wasn't sure if she was going to be shy or not but she stood right up and had a little "trumpet battle".  It was so cute!!!



He invited her over after the show to play more and I'm not sure who enjoyed it more ;)




We headed over to let the kids do a few rides and enjoyment would be a total understatement...







Griffin did NOT want to leave the rides area and I have no idea what Mason's doing :)  


We decided we needed a little bit more funnel cake and a corny dog before we checked out a few more exhibits and made the trek over to see Big Tex.





It was past 8:00  and we had an hour drive home (and school the next day) so we headed back to the van and  happened to catch the fireworks from the highway on the way out (through my dirty windows! hahaha)


We had SO much fun and it was really a great first fair experience for our family.  Here are a couple of notes in case you're considering going...

- Make a plan (we had no plan and so we just kind of went... I wish we had mapped out what we wanted to do/see a bit better)

- Give yourself plenty of time (we got there around 3:00 and left around 8:00 and seriously felt like we could have spent 3 more hours there.  Next time we go we'll definitely go earlier in the day to give ourselves more time to see everything)

- It's EXPENSIVE (I'm not even going to pretend like I didn't gag a little bit every time we had to go back and buy more "coupons" for rides ;)  Each of the kids rides was $4/kid... so for our three kids to ride 3 rides each was $36... and that doesn't include the tickets to get in, food, parking, etc)

- We brought food (the fair allows you to bring outside foot in so we opted to pack our kids their Yumboxes and water bottles because I wasn't sure how excited they were going to be over "fair fare", I knew they'd eat it and I felt better about them indulging in cotton candy and funnel cake knowing that they'd had a sandwich, some fruit, carrots, etc.  Also... it was cheaper ;) ) 

- Don't go on Texas/OU Weekend (we knew that Saturday was going to be busy, but figured that the crowds would have cleared out by Sunday.  Not so much.  It may have been a combination of the game and the great weather but it was pretty awful.  Next year we'll be more apt to check the fair out on our fair day during the week).


Overall it was a great afternoon/evening and such a fun family day.  The kids had a blast and we made a ton of memories with my parents which was so sweet. 

I'm curious to know if y'all attend a fair in the state/town where you live and if it's a huge event or a smaller affair.  Leave a comment below and tell us!

Happy Tuesday, friends!!!

52 comments :

  1. I can't remember if you get a day off for the fair but it's much more economical to go during the week. There are deals on entry tickets, some nights rides are less, and it's typically less crowded. I think I remember you saying you have a fair day off so it's just a thought for next year. Glad you guys enjoyed your first fair experience. :)

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    1. Perfect!!! Private school day is the opening day and this year it was raining so we opted out but that's awesome to know! Thanks for the tip!

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  2. I'm so glad you guys finally went!! The McAnally family was MADE for the fair!

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    1. right?!?! It only took almost 20 years of living here :)

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  3. I smiled at your "local fair" comment...it's the NC State Fair here in Raleigh and it's HUGE! Kid memories see them differently than adult memories. :) -Molly Chaffee

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    1. I was thinking the same thing!!

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    2. I smiled too because we went to the NC State Fair on Friday. However, it still is small compared to the Texas State Fair. I think the phrase everything is bigger in Texas comes from the Texas State Fair.

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    3. I'm cracking up!!! I have no memory of it being big! hahaha My mind was also totally blown a few years ago when I found out that the "giant dog" we had when I was in elementary school was only about 40 lbs. Kid memories are funny like that!

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  4. We go to the Iowa State Fair every year with my hubby's family. I never grew up going so I go for the family. It's fun and fine for a day but there are some that camp the whole 2 weeks. I agree it is expensive. But my kids love all the exhibits and the giant slide so it makes for great memories. My husband's family tradition is no midway so we don't do games or rides besides the giant slide!

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    1. Sounds like a great tradition! I just kept thinking... we paid $20 for you to "win" a fidget spinner! hahaha

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  5. We went to the NC State Fair last week. We normally have to go on the weekend but this year we were off and went on Friday morning. We were there by 9am and it was much better than a weekend. The NC State Fair does a lunch pass where you can just walk in for a lunch hour to eat the food and leave which is why lunch is always a crowded time. We try to leave a little after lunch time.

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  6. So glad y'all had so much fun!! And give me ALL the funnel cake! 😍

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  7. Thanks for the tips...we are headed there this weekend! It looks so fun : )

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  8. I swear funnel cake is one of my love languages, and it is a necessity at every Fair. It looks like your sweet family had a blast together. 😊

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    1. We talked this weekend about there being funnel cake in heaven :)

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  9. Yep, the Indiana State Fair is a pretty big deal here! 2 weeks of animals, rides, food, and 4H. 4H is a pretty big thing at our fair, so many people come just for that part. Fair prices can of course add up, but the prices are pretty reasonable with $1 food nights and so many discounts to get in. There's also a 'fried food item of the year' which everyone looks forward to. Usually deep fried oreos, snickers bars, etc. Something 'different'! Our fairgrounds host events all year long in the heart of Indianapolis, so it's a well known place. Our kiddos have great memories of the fair and I even performed in the gymnastics/dance competition in high school. State Fairs are amazing! We have been to the Texas State Fair also before we had our kiddos. It is huge and a great event. However, one notable difference is that you have concrete! In Indiana, you are walking mostly on good old brown dirt, which oddly enough kind of makes the experience here! :)

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    1. $1 food nights would be AWESOME! And I can totally see where being on the grass would give it a totally different feel - love that!

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  10. The only time I've been to the fair is TX/OU weekend and I can only imagine taking the kids that weekend. I bet it was crazy! Your photos are so great, though. The colors and your kiddos' happy faces ... perfect. :)

    www.FOURPOINTSMOM.com

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    1. It was pretty nuts - but still so much fun! And thank you!!!

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  11. We go to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which is similar, I believe. But ours is held in early March. I have never been to the TX state fair. We all love the rodeo though, and the food is the best!

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    1. I've heard the Houston Rodeo is something to see... we may have to check that out next year!

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  12. Confession- I have NEVER been to our state fair. Ever. But I would go just for fair food- funnel cakes and corn dogs and cotton candy and all the food!

    My fave part of your post is Griffin playing the trumpet with that entertainer. How fun! That's something she'll (and you all) will remember forever!

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    1. It was such a fun and spontaneous moment and I have a feeling it's a story we'll all be retelling her for years :)

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  13. We went on Sunday too and it was crazy!! My whole family went, so it was a bit of a disaster trying to keep up with all 15 of us!

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    1. It was CRAZY, right?!?! WE had 7 people and I can't imagine having more than double that!

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  14. The Oklahoma State Fair is pretty big, but not nearly as big as the TX fair! It's still fun and we spent a lot of time at ours too! Ours is also pretty pricey - my husband got a bacon wrapped turkey leg and it was $20! TWENTY DOLLARS! I'm glad you all got to go! We were still in Dallas on Sunday and the weather was AMAZING!

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    1. TWENTY DOLLARS?!?! I hope he reeeeeeally enjoyed it! hahaha

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    2. That's the sucky part - he said it wasn't that good! He apparently ordered it and was in the process of paying when he found out how much it was (he had gotten a regular turkey leg another time and it wasn't as expensive so he was shocked).

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  15. I think you did your fair pretty well!!! My husband judges a lot of cattle shows at fairs, and if it's a weekend we tag along quite often. The nice thing is we usually get our tickets for free - but we do pay to get into our local county fair and they often have family deals that we try to take advantage of. Also, if your kids love the rides a lot of fairs will presell a bracelet for a certain day that is very economical and the kids can ride all of the rides they want. Just something to think about for next year. :)

    And PS - that pig is pretty normal size for a mature pig. :) A mature boar can easily stand 4-5 feet tall at the chine.

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    1. Apparently my pig knowledge is totally lacking! Why did I not know they get that big?!?! I really thought that pig was giant! hahaha

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  16. In Minnesota, the state fair is a huge deal. I've been going with my family as long as I can remember. I don't live in MN anymore, but like many other Minnesotans, I try to return home every year just so I can go!

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  17. I love the State Fair of Texas! I showed animals (through FFA) there for several years in high school. My parents took a couple days off work and we lived it up when we weren't slinging pig poop in the barn. :-p I have so many fond memories of our time at the Fair! I loved all of the old fashioned exhibits (butter sculpting, quilting, etc.) I assume they're all still there??

    We live in Houston so it's not easy to make the trek but I sure want to get my kids up there someday! We have the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo but it doesn't hold a candle to the Fair, in my eyes!

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    1. Yes! There are TONS of exhibits and your kids would LOVE it!

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  18. FYI Tuesday's are usually half price rides.

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    1. Good to know! I hate pulling the kids out of school, but we may have to make an exception ;)

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  19. I would love to attend the Texas state fair one day, it looks awesome!

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  20. When I was a kid I went to the Tennessee State Fair and was chased by a pig (in my mind the size of the one your pictured..lol) so I don't have fond memories of fairs HAHA! I will say though that the Texas State Fair looks awesome! I kind of want that inflatable chair for my future classroom :)

    xoxo
    Juliana Grace | www.julianagraceblogspace.com

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  21. I went for the first year, too!! Husby grew up in Dallas so he's a pro, but we've lived in California/Arizona/Alabama since we've been together and this was the first year we were in Dallas while the fair has been going on! We actually went on opening day :) Kudos to your funnel cake burger!! Corny dogs + regular funnel cake were as wild as I got (though I'm bummed I missed out on the Pinot Noir popcorn!). Honorable mention to the chicken fried bacon.

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    1. So funny!!! We weren't going to get the burger and then a guy we were sharing a picnic table with us kept raving about it so we bit the bullet :) So glad that y'all were back for the fair!

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  22. YES to Griffin with the trumpet! Love that! :) My daughter plays trumpet (and does color guard) in band. I've shown her your blog before and told her how you met Dave in band (my daughter's boyfriend is in band with her and he plays the drums). :)

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    1. Oh, girl. Band romance :) hahaha Love a girl who plays a brass instrument!

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  23. I'm so glad you posted this. We are flying in from SC this week to knock the TX state fair off our bucket list!

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    1. Stop it! Coming in just for the fair?!?! SO FUN!

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  24. Wowzers, that is a big pig! I would absolutely eat that funnel cake bacon queso burger. I'd never seen or heard of one before, but it looks so yummy. Definitely worth the calories.

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