Have you heard the joke about the 9 month pregnant lady, pre-schooler, and tired husband who went to the fair? No?
I’m not surprised. Our trip to the fair wasn’t very funny, but it was fun and as always an adventure.
The idea to go to the Topsfield Fair was spontaneous and not very planned out. I’d like to share some tips that I have learned in hind sight that might just make your day a little more enjoyable, and save you money too. The thing about fairs is you pay to get in, but then there are so many other costs that you leave thinking, wait how much did we spend today?
If you plan your day ahead of time there are all sorts of ways to get discount tickets. On-line through AAA and other Boston sites, at local stores, and through local charities. If you are able to go during the week there is also a discount and less of a crowd.
The first place they get ya is parking. $10 to park at the Topsfield Fair. Not sure if there is anything you can do about this? Flirting with the parking attendant might work- didn’t happen this year for me.
Second thing to think about is how you enter the park. I didn’t realize it but we could have entered at the midway or maple st. gate and avoided entering the fair the way we did which was to walk right into the kiddie ride zone. Although Tommy is only three years old he is already a ride enthusiast! Once he saw the rides it was all over and he wanted nothing to do with the cute animals we had discussed visiting on the ride over.
Animals– we did make our way to the animals and yes they were cute! At times you could even pat the animals. FYI bring hand sanitizer, not that I am a big germ phoebe- but it is Flu season and lots of other kids are patting the animals too.
Choose your Adventure– Rides are not included in the cost and although we only bought 5 tickets it cost $11.25. If you have more than one child or an older child you are definitely going to buy more ride tickets. OR go in that secret gate and pretend that there are no rides (I have a friend that does this!). I heard a rumor that there are ways to get discounts, I have not tracked this one down yet.
At your own risk- While we were there, not one, but two rides broke down. One got stuck in the upright position with a little girl stuck up in the air. GULP. Can you imagine if that was your child? She is fine and all turned out okay. Rides are going to break down so if the thought of your child stuck up in the air is too much don’t let them go on it. OR maybe your child will be like mine and get frustrated on a firetruck and have to be rescued. Yes it happened, my husband had to climb in and “rescue” him- he had to go through and get stuck in the kiddy tube..there was no other way to get him out!
Sitting down- The funny thing is we went to the Fair on Senior Day- and because of the work I do as a social worker with older adults I saw a lot of people that I know. I even joked that there will be plenty of places to sit down, it being Senior Day and all. BOY was I wrong. There were no benches to sit down in in the kiddy ride area and due to it being senior day many of the other benches were taken too. At one point I had to sit on the grass. I guess I should have carried my own chair in.
Food- Besides the rides the food is by far the biggest money maker at the fair. Sausages, whole chicken legs, keddle corn, candied apples and corn on the cob- oh my. So much to nibble on and buy to fill your tummy. We must have spent about $40 on food- no joke. I saw some smart planner type parents with small coolers, snacks and sandwiches. Super smart!!
Despite spending a fortune from a lack of pre-planning we had a great day at the Fair and I have a feeling we will be going back year after year. The senior’s I met up with had so many fond memories to share from the days when they took their own kids to the fair, which was very sweet to hear. I think that is what is so wonderful about a local fair, each year it’s a little different but at the same time it remains the same- same smells, same exhibits, same over priced rides. Same chance to make memories….even the frustrating one’s are already making me smile.
The Fair runs September 28th through October 8th.
If you are in the area also check out Haunted Happenings in Salem – just a 20 minute drive from Topsfield, MA