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County Fair Survival Kit: Don’t leave home without it!

It’s county fair season once again! I always look forward to the county fair. As a past 4-H and FFA member, the fair holds a special place in my childhood memories.

Year after year I would spend a week at the fairgrounds showing my horse and hog. My friends and I were always exhausted, but having the time of our lives. By about Wednesday, my mother was dragging us to the one location where they served actual food and not French fries, lemonade and funnel cakes. Soon after she would give me “the look” and make me go home for the night to get some rest.

Surely you know the look. The one that says, “If you mouth off one more time I’m going to turn your horse into Alpo!”

I hated having to leave for the night, but Mom was usually right. I went home and slept like a rock, ready to face the remaining days of Fair Week.

My oldest son is of 4-H age and I couldn’t wait to get him involved. However, his schedule is so full that something had to be sacrificed. Sadly, it was 4-H.

We will still go to the fair, not with animals or projects, but with other necessities.

As a mom my Fairy Supply (Survival) List has changed from horse food and water buckets to these top 10 items:

10. Sunscreen: Although it has been an Ark-worthy summer, I guarantee the week of fair will be hotter than hades under the blazing sun. No one likes a sunburn, and no one especially likes a whiny, sunburned kid. So, lather up yourself and the brood.

9. Water bottles: Like I said, it will notoriously be the hottest week of the summer, so some extra hydration — other than sugary lemonade — will be needed. And just think, when it rains (and it will), you can refill them!

8. Wet wipes and hand sanitizer: Because you and the kids will get dirty. I promise. From sticky, melting ice cream to slobbery animal kisses, there is ick to be found at the fair. By the time you get to a washroom, the dirt and germs will be rubbed into Junior’s eyes, nose and mouth and your clothes.

7. Closed toe shoes: No sandals. Period. You don’t want to know what kind of toe-jam you will bring home because you walked through the barns wearing flip-flops.

6. A camera: Yes, your phone snaps pictures, but the battery could run low or it might fall into a watering trough. Have a back-up. There are many memory-worthy moments at the fair you won’t want to miss.

5. Cash: Parking. Admission. Rides. Food. Vendors. Enough said.

4. Snacks: Save some cash and pocket a few goodies for the little ones. Running around the fairgrounds is tiresome, so keep some battery recharging snacks on-hand for between pork chops and corn.

3. Sunglasses: Protect your skin, but don’t forget your eyes. These are also good for masking the obvious frustration on your face while chasing tots around the fair.

2. A wagon or stroller: A must-have if you have small children, but even if you don’t, a wagon is handy for toting your Fair Survival Kit and the giant stuffed animals, squeaky toys and goldfish the kids are sure to win.

And the No. 1: Patience. After polling fellow parents, this was mentioned the most. The kids are excited, the lines may be long, the sun will be hot but, at the end of the day, you will be glad you went.

And so will your children. Enjoy!

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