fair columnBy Paula Wethington / Monroe on a Budget

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.

Parking

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.

Gate fees

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.

Food

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.

Amusement rides

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.

 

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This notice is in today’s edition of The Monroe News: FLAT ROCK, Mich. – An ex­panded list of specialty items will be offered when the Flat Rock Farmers Market returns Aug. 2 af­ter a one-year lapse. The market will reopen in a parking lot at the cor­ner of Arsenal and Gibral­tar Rds. one block west […]

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The Monroe on a Budget column runs Tuesdays in The Monroe News. Here is this week’s installment: By Paula Wethington / Monroe News The most critical piece of a family budget involves how affordable the housing expenses are to income. In addition to taking up a large slice of the budget pie, housing is a […]

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This announcement is for my readers in and near Monroe, Mich.: Hope’s Closet, 6370 Jay Dr., Monroe, Mich., will host its Walk in My Shoes: Back-To-School clothing and school supply giveaway for families in need from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday Aug. 15 and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday Aug. 16. Hope’s […]

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By Paula Wethington / Monroe on a Budget My grandmother got married during what was an incredibly difficult time to settle into a new household and start a family. Rationing of food in response to the wartime efforts started with sugar in early 1942. At the time, my grandmother was a senior in high school […]

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The Monroe on a Budget column runs Tuesdays in The Monroe News. Here is this week’s installment. One thing I never understood about back-to-school shopping involves the custom some parents follow of replacing a child’s entire wardrobe every summer. A new outfit for the “first day of school” pictures, school IDs or yearbook poses certainly […]

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The Downriver News-Herald is reporting that Southgate’s Kmart will close this fall.

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By Paula Wethington I haven’t told a scrapbooking story in awhile, but I ran into a dilemma for someone who prefers her paper crafting arrangements to be budget-friendly. What can you do when the available paper and embellishment collections don’t match your photo collection? Themes that could work well for photos of my husband and […]

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By Paula Wethington Today’s talker on social media in terms of poverty deals with a subject that I heard referred to a year ago as “Suburban Poverty.” That demographic are those families who at one time were middle class or at least financially self-sufficient … but were hit in multiple directions because of the spiraling […]

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The Monroe on a Budget column runs weekly in The Monroe News. Here is today’s piece or find it on monroenews.com – be sure to share this one with your friends! By Paula Wethington Do you want to hear a good song about money, or the lack of it? Get out your mp3 player, dust […]

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Registered dietitian Emily Bien will lead a Grocery Store Tour from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday July 30 at Kroger, 3462 W. Sterns Rd., Lambertville, Mich. The theme of this tour will be grocery shopping on a budget. Space is limited. To register for this event or others sponsored by the Live Well, Be Well […]

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The Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Workshop “Women and Money” will be presented at noon July 15 at Thrivent Financial, 19 Washington St., Monroe, Mich. This is a free workshop, and a light dinner will be provided. For information or registration, contact Griffith Crammond at griff.crammond@thrivent.com or (734) 384-8951.

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The Michigan Veterans Trust Fund is available to assist veterans and their dependent family members with emergency grants for a short-term financial crisis. There is a review process, and the fund cannot provide assistance for long-term problems or chronic financial difficulties. Those eligible for a grant must be a legal resident of the State of […]

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Tuition assistance has been restored for Michigan National Guard members. A previous program had ended in 2009 because of budget cuts. Details are at michigan.gov.

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Today’s shopping cart brag at Meijer might not be the best one can do with this week’s sale. But it is the the best mix of groceries I could get for $50 that fit my immediate needs. That’s what shopping tricks such as couponing, pricebooking and deal bundles are supposed to do – right? Here’s […]

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