When I think of a State Fair, I think of large crowds, greasy food, loud music, and long lines. Why would anyone want to subject themselves to that?!
But… I also think of it as one of the best people watching opportunities ever. So we went.
Welcome to the unhealthiest place on earth. The place where you can eat anything you want, deep fried. And when I say anything, I mean anything. Did you even know you could deep fry a candy bar?!
Deep fried Gator Bites, Bacon Bombs, Elephant Ears, Fried Turkey Legs, Fried Candy Bars. To drink? They have freshly squeezed lemonade that’s $8 per cup, with enough sugar in it to instantly put you in a diabetic coma.
I received complimentary sponsorship tickets to the fair through my work. This saved us $30 heading into the event, but that’s about where the cost savings stopped.
If you have ever attended a fair, a local carnival, or an amusement park of any sorts- you know that if there is a small human with you (either of your spawn, or spawn + friend)- you have to ride the rides. That is the only thing they are really interested in. Why? Because its expensive. Because its super loud. Because the lights and movements are enough to put anyone into a seizure.
You can’t just get in line for a ride with some cash in your pocket though. You need tickets. But good luck trying to figure out how many you need, because every ride is a different price. One ride is 3 tickets. The next ride is 5. For no particular reason. So either you don’t buy enough tickets- and you are constantly running back to the ticket booth to buy more (losing your place in line), or you buy too many- and then you’re giving them away to other people, who also have no idea how many tickets they need.
The most economic thing to do is to buy an unlimited wrist band, which will set you back $35/piece. The guy who sold them to us said we only needed to ride four rides to make our money back. I think his math was worse than mine. But it doesn’t take too many more rides than that before you’ve broken even.
One of the rides my son talked me into was called the Tilt-A-Whirl. You are sitting in an oversized metal purple shaped thing- and it does exactly what it’s called. It Tilts. And guess what. It also Whirls. It throws you around within inches of hitting the next car in front of you, and the movements are supper jerky. This isn’t a ride, it’s a freaking punishment.
One thing I noticed in the rides section- people who work at the State Fairs are not the happiest people on earth. One example of this, a ride operator who’s job simply appeared to be yelling at people and yanking them off the ride. This is not exactly the Disney experience.
There were many rollercoasters as well. The ones that turned fast. The ones that flipped you upside down. The ones that made that loud clicking noise as it climbs its ascent.
Holding a snot-nosed baby or toddler? There was a roller coaster for that. Wishing to defy gravity? There was a roller coaster for that. Wanting to throw up your oversized Turkey Leg on the person below you? There was probably a roller coaster for that too.
There were also three ferris Wheels. The largest one is enclosed, like you are sitting in a cage, and it’s so big that you can see it from far away driving down the highway. Then again, Florida is pretty flat. You can see everything from far away driving down the highway.
The Petting Zoo
The petting zoo is also known as the area ‘where animals just stand around or sit in their own poop’, as my son so eloquently put it. This was a must visit area when he was a toddler. Now we didn’t even check it out. We just looked sympathetically at the giraffes as they stared back when we walked by.
Camel rides were available. If you’d like to sit on top of a big-ass camel, and walk in a small circle 3 times, that will set you back $5. You want to do that for a little longer? $10.
Pony rides are the same. The ride bracelets don’t cover either of these.
As you can see, we survived the Florida sun beating down on us. We survived the long lines, and overpriced everything. We survived the strongest smells of greasy food, vape and cigarette smoke. This is the State Fair, and we survived.