Monroe County Fair on a Budget 2012
This is my annual Monroe County Fair on a Budget piece for The Monroe Evening News, updated for 2012!
By Paula Wethington
How much did you spend in previous years to get in the gate, buy some food or merchandise, attend an event or enjoy the attractions at the Monroe County Fair?
If you plan ahead, you might be able to cut 10 to 20 percent off those expenses. Here are some tips:
The gate price at the Monroe County Fair is family-friendly. Adults pay $5 admission, but children ages 6-12 are admitted for $2 and children ages 5 and younger are admitted free with parents.
There are special promotions can help cut the cost for adults and teens if you watch the times and days as listed in the fair schedule. They are Veteran’s Day on Monday, Kids’ Day on Tuesday, Senior Citizens Day on Wednesday, and Ladies Day on Thursday.
If you expect to be on the fairgrounds every day, a bonus passbook can be purchased for $30 that is good all week. That’s a savings of $5 as compared to seven consecutive day passes.
My tip on the cost of food is bring your own water bottles, but have enough money for each member of the family to pick at least one favorite food item from the midway. You can share bigger items such as a bucket of fries if you like.
My midway lunch at the Monroe County Fair in 2011 was a three-piece fish dinner for $8.25, and in 2010 I bought a large gyro for $7.
Another suggestion if you want cheap eats is the 4-H Activity Center cafeteria. It’s open to the public.
If the children or teens want to check out the amusement rides, pay attention to the deals of the day.
The “pay one price” wristbands are popular with the older kids, and those promotions will be available Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of fair week.
But because wristbands cost $20 per person and result in huge lines for the midway rides, I recommend families with small children instead plan on visiting the fair during the Dollar Day promotion on Wednesday of fair week. That way, you pay $1 each for only as many rides as the child’s attention span lasts. Remember that kids age 5 and younger don’t pay a gate fee in the first place.
After you handle the admission ticket, food and midway details, you can find a lot of free entertainment and things to see on the fairgrounds.
One of my favorite exhibits is the Eby Log Cabin. I’ve also found that the 4-H students enjoy answering questions from visitors about their projects and animals.
The fair schedule also lists several free events such as the 4-H fashion revue, the 4-H talent show and the Monroe Big Band performance.
There’s usually a mix of paid and free parking in the area. But interestingly enough, many of the free spaces are closer to the entry gates than the paid parking spaces. Save yourself some cash for rides or food, and look for the free spaces first.
What can you do for $5?
Here’s a video I did in 2011 that shows what one could get for $5 at the Monroe County Fair that year: