It’s Time for the State Fair
By Patti Hermes — Perfect family fun.
22 state fairs are scheduled in the month of August, and 13 more to come in September, back-to-school time is synonymous with back to the State Fair all across the country
While the month of August signifies back to school for most families, there’s still more summer activity on the calendar. There’s a wide variety of edutainment opportunities for the whole family, and now is a great time to plan a trip. Whether you stay in your own state, or try something new with a road trip across the country, check out the myriad learning opportunities at the State Fair.
State Fair Family Fun
At the Alaska State Fair in Palmer, http://www.alaskastatefair.org/ everything in exhibits is educational: woodworking, fiber arts, farm exhibits, animal programs including reptiles and sea life (it’s more than cows and pigs here!). Activities for healthy living and garden tours, moose calling contests and more fill your day with both fun and education.
With a theme like Cream of the Crop, this year’s Illinois State Fair in our state capital of Springfield http://www.agr.state.il.us/isf/ is poised to educate kids about the agricultural heritage of Illinois. The wide variety of activities includes all the usual competitions, as well as the bench press/dead lift championships, a high dive show, elephants, tigers, and bears, and Disney Channel’s Selena Gomez and Mitchel Musso performing at the grandstand. Your day at the fair is sure to be packed full of unexpected surprises.
Admission to the Kentucky State Fair http://www.kystatefair.org/ is still under $10, free concerts included. There are also additional concerts scheduled, with regular concert-priced tickets, and school field trips are encouraged. The 4H and FFA exhibits range from History of Kentucky, horse shows, of course, agriculture, and a special Kids in the Kitchen nutrition program for kids.
The Bangor State Fair in Maine , http://www.bangorstatefair.com/ is encouraging families to attend with one all-inclusive admission fee, and segregating smoking areas away from the midway. They complement the standard agricultural competitions with the Swampmaster’s Gator Show, Dino Digs, racing ducks and a real human cannonball.
The Maryland State Fair, http://www.marylandstatefair.com/ is even offering a big name grandstand act aimed at the kids: Justin Bieber. There will also be bull riding, racing pigs and thoroughbred horse racing, as well as a birthing center where visitors can witness the miracle of birth of calves, litters of piglets and hatching chicks.
In addition to the grandstand entertainment, competition is the heart of the NY State Fair, in Syracuse http://www.nysfair.org/ with categories ranging from the usual cows and pigs to llamas and dogs in the animal divisions, Fine Art, Antique autos, home brews and amateur wines. Looks like there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy while learning.
The State Fair of West Virginia is offering Genuine Homegrown Fun http://www.wvstatefair.com/ with Motocross, Bengal tigers, and family-friendly musical talent that really is homegrown in West Virginia natives The Shaffer Family and Ernie Phillips.
The Wisconsin State Fair, http://www.wistatefair.com/ has an exhaustive list of activities aimed at children, both educational and entertaining. Kiddie tractor pulls, a natural resources park and veggie races are just a few of the fun events for families.
Other state fairs in August are scheduled in Fairbanks, Alaska; Boise, Idaho; Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon and Wyoming. Coming up in September are Washington, Virginia, Vermont, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, South Dakota, Oklahoma, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Kansas, and eastern Idaho. I found a complete listing here http://www.festivals-and-shows.com/state-fairs.html including active links to web sites where you can confirm your dates, ticket prices and the grandstand entertainment.
If you think State Fairs are a quaint reminder of the past, think again. Bring the whole family and see how much you can all learn and have fun together!
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Patti Hermes is living the dream with her high school sweetheart, raising their boys in the Midwest because it’s a good starting point for epic road trips. While writing, reading and homeschooling take up most of her time, she still blogs at http://writesforchocolate.blogspot.com.