You will certainly spend some money if you take the family to the Monroe County Fair for a day, and more so if you make multiple visits during the week.
But a bit of strategic planning, with the help of details that can be found in the fair brochure, can help you decide what day can pack the most fun for your family’s fair budget.
Many of the free spaces listed in the brochure are actually closer to public entry gates than the paid parking spaces. The lot off Raisinville Rd. near Shelter Lane is the place I check first when I go to the fair, and Lot A off S. Custer Rd. is another choice for free parking.
Adults pay $5 admission, but children ages 6-12 are admitted for $2 and children ages 5 and younger are admitted free with parents.
If someone in my family has a vendor’s pass or an exhibitor’s pass, the rest meet up with that person before or after the appointment and then we do not have to pay the $5 entry free for one person.
In addition, Ladies Day on Thursday features discounted admission for women and teens until 3 p.m.; and the Veteran’s Day, Kids’ Day and Senior Citizens’ Day specials are free admission for those eligible until evening hours.
If you expect to be on the fairgrounds every day, the bonus passbook is again available this year. It costs $30 and is good all week.
My tips for handling midway concessions include bringing your own water bottles, along with enough money for each member of the family to pick one favorite food item from the midway.
If I expect to be at the fair multiple times during the week, I plan on just one lunch or dinner from the food vendors.
You can a la carte tickets on the rides, and I did so a few years ago when I just wanted to check out a funhouse. But those who want to enjoy as many rides as possible will be smart to plan around the midway specials.
The “pay one price” wristbands for the amusement rides are popular with teens and older kids. This year, the bands will cost $22 a person and they will be available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of fair week.
Because long lines result on the midway during wristband days, I recommend families whose younger children have short attention spans schedule their midway visit on Wednesday. That’s a Dollar Day promotion in which every ride is $1 each, all day. Remember that kids age 5 and younger don’t pay a gate fee in the first place.