Have fun making the fair affordable
As a parent of three children who have attended and competed in every Nevada County Fair for 17 years, I believe I can address the issues of concern to many in our community regarding the cost of attending the fair.
The parking issue is easy; take the free shuttle bus offered every year from the high school. It’s free, runs every half hour and no hassles.
The admission price is lower than any other fair I have seen this year. I judge at six to eight fairs each year around the state, and admission costs seem to be $6-$8. Adult admission to the state fair is $10 this year.
There are many ways to reduce the cost of attending: Plan ahead and purchase a multipack of discount admissions; take the kids on Kids Day (free); take seniors on Senior Day ($2); on Friday, honor roll students get in for free.
You can volunteer as a friend of the fair or even get a summer job there (free admission and you earn money).
If you enter the special cooking contests, you get in for free, and you might win $100!
Unless you have small children, you don’t really need to ride the rides or play the carnival games. I never even set foot in the carnival this year.
If you do have small children, go on Thursday (Kids Day, free). This is a good time to teach them to budget some entertainment money for the games. If they are into the carnival rides in a big way, put out the cash for a wristband – seven hours of entertainment for the kids will cost less than a movie with popcorn and a soda. If they only ride a few rides, buy discount ride tickets from the Boy Scouts the two weeks prior to the fair. They are in front of most grocery stores.
Food is again an easy option: Bring a picnic lunch. In case folks do not know, the food concessionaires are our local nonprofit agencies (I hope you don’t buy the food offered by the carnival operators, shudder …). You can buy pasties, salads, Mexican food, tempura, potatoes and the famous Job’s Daughters corn dogs. The best buy on the grounds is the Frosty Freeze by the 49er Fire District – $1 for a huge cone!
The best part of the fair is what you get for the admission price. You can see an extensive quilt show, knitting to rival the most expensive garments offered in stores, the best work from our local craftsmen from woodworking to beading (did you see the beaded roller skates?), preserved foods and giant cookies. We watched chicks, ducks and quail hatch. Your kids can make crafts for free throughout the day.
There are bonsai and garden plots, a stunning fine arts show and beautiful flower arrangements. A trip through the Kids Building will assure you that the majority of our youth here in Nevada County are on the right track.
There are lots of horses, including draft-horses, and skilled-dog demonstrations. There are more kinds of music than I could keep track of, along with jugglers and entertainers of all sorts. There are wild activities for the teenagers, climbing walls, videos and laser tag.
You can compete in silly contests, chat with friends, people-watch, and let your kids run around on the lawns in a safe environment.
To fully appreciate the magic of the fair, enter something in one of the contests. Everyone does something, and I can guarantee you there is a category for it. Take a picture; have your kids make a sculpture. Do you carve wood or bake bread? Enter your collection. Or your garden tomatoes, a dozen eggs from your chickens, or great grandma’s quilt. You might win a prize! You can even watch most of the judging as it is taking place. Spectators will tell you that it is a very educational experience.
So for next year, plan ahead, prepare the kids so they don’t expect you to shell out the big bucks for their entertainment, and have a great time being part of Nevada County as it shows off its accomplishments for the year.
Lorena Ferchaud is a resident of Rough and Ready.
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