Always Clean Up

Needless to say, State Fairs can get a little dirty.

I hope that this is sort of common sense for most people out there but I feel like it is a necessary story to tell for those who might not be as experienced as I am.

Animals Love Fairs as Much as Us!

As most of you probably know, there are usually quite a lot of animals at state fairs and these animals tend to attract other sorts of animals along with them. That being said, it is imperative that you wash up very thoroughly immediately when you get home from visiting any fair or carnival. I am sure that most of you do this already but it is pretty important that you take it seriously, especially with your kids.

Now I have personally not seen this happen, but a good friend of mine who has worked many fairs in her life has seen some real damage come from unwanted guests making new homes of her fair.

These little guests are called termites and they can do some real damage if you don’t catch them in time. So just like double checking everything for inspections like the barn story I told earlier, you should always double check everything as far as pests and other critters go as well and this is especially true if you are working with farm animals.

termi

So just like the guys I was working with who had to have their barn completely redone just days before our opening, my friend obviously had to hire professional help to take care of their problem as well. Now this wasn’t as preventable as the barn roof, but they weren’t planning on paying the tab for the exterminator cost found here and it was a huge pain. While they had the company there they made sure to have them inspecting for termite damage in every other stand that was there, getting rid of mice, and anything else that could have been an issue.

I don’t mean to scare anyone out of going to the fair with this post, but just something to keep in mind when you’re washing up afterwards 🙂

Double Check Everything

So I think the piece of advice that should be taken from yesterday would be make sure you double check everything and never try to cut any corners when it comes to preparing for a fair. The guys who were in charge of the barn incident should have known better than to try and squeak by the inspectors who are sticklers about everything. Instead of trying to pull a fast one like them, just make sure that you have everything completely done and ready to go as soon as you can.

Have Some Fun!

It is more than just convenient to have everything completely done in time when setting up for a fair. In addition to saving you tons of money as well, once everything is done you can have yourself some fun and take advantage of a completely empty fair!

This really should only be done if you are comfortable with the people who are in charge and others within the fair but for the most part, everyone is fun and in the same mindset that you are in. To me it is like being a kid in a toy store or a playground all to themselves and free to play or ride whatever they want with no lines. If everything is done in time you better believe that all of us employees took advantage and went around playing the games and having some adult fun before the crowd came the next day.

You probably wouldn’t be able to get away with this at the bigger ones like the World’s Fair so make sure to use common sense 🙂

Behind The Scenes

Yesterday I promised I would talk a little bit about my experiences with clean ups not going over as smoothly as hoped so here you go.

The Fateful Barn

So a few posts ago I was talking about how difficult it is to get all of the permits and paperwork in order before everything is ready to launch for a fair or any real big event for that matter. I saw first hand how difficult it can be and how much of a hassle everything can be if this isn’t done much before opening day.

Like most state fairs, we had a farm animal area with a big red barn to keep all of the animals in. Just 3 days before Springfest was going to be open, the building inspectors decided that this was the perfect time to tell us that the roof of our barn was not up to code and had to be completely refinished or else they would not allow people inside whatsoever.

barn

Now it wasn’t in as bad of shape as this picture, but just to give you an idea of what kind of building I am talking about. So the people in charge of this barn wanted to do the quick repairs themselves but the risk of not doing it properly or up to code was too great so they had no choice but to hire professional roofing contractors with experience like these to come out and take care of the problem on a moments notice, which obviously cost them some money that they were not planning on spending.

So instead of simply keeping up with roof cleaning and making sure everything was good to go like the rest of us had to do, the people who were in charge ended up spending well over a thousand dollars to handle the situation. Needless to say, this put a little bit of a damper on the barn exhibit before we opened and tensions were pretty high while the repairs were being done. Luckily for them it only took a day to find a company for replacing any types of roofs and everything was handled the day before we opened and they got the OK from the inspectors.

I hope everyone who does not have experience working any events like these can appreciate how much work and stress goes into them to some degree 🙂

Once It’s Over

So now that the fair is over for the year, how can one make their own fun until next season? By the way, this is assuming everything went smoothly and there wasn’t any extra clean up (which I will talk about tomorrow).

Make Your Own Fair!

What I love to do for my kids birthday or any family gathering is to try and create our own sort of fair to keep everyone entertained. Obviously I don’t mean to go crazy and spend thousands of dollars on games and pony rides, but if your kids are young enough you can do a ton of little things to bring the excitement of a fair right to your own home!

swing

One of my favorite things to do is allow my kids to come up with their own unique “fair food” for the day. I keep my kids on a pretty strict and healthy diet for the most part, so allowing them a few days out of the year to go crazy is enough to make their day. Not to mention their friends who come over are in disbelief when they see a mom allowing them to eat fried Twinkies and Oreos 🙂

In addition to the food, my husband is great at building our own carnival games for kids and make sure the prizes are something that the kids love.

For any parents out there needing some birthday ideas for their kids, creating your own sort of state fair at your house is something that will always get them excited 🙂 If you need some specific examples check out some of these Pinterest ideas.

Stay tuned tomorrow when I will get back to some stories of when everything didn’t go quite so smoothly once Springfest was over.

Clean Up

I don’t think I really have to be the one to tell you this but just in case, state fairs can get pretty messy and this is especially true by the end of the weekend. When I worked for Springfest, the end of the weekend was depressing to me because of more than just my love of state fairs. The clean up was always a mess and would take hours and hours of non stop cleaning and packing everything up.

There was really no time to waste either because every fair is on a strict time schedule and have to be packed and completely cleared, usually in under a day.

I Had it Good

Luckily for me, I never worked directly with any of the animals or agriculture and I really don’t have much room to be complaining compared to those who did. Plus being the lady that I am, most of the heavy duty lifting and clearing was left up to the men which is another reason I really shouldn’t be complaining 🙂

ferris

Even though I was working, it made me sad to see everything being packed away for the year and knowing that the season was coming to a close. But hey, at least I didn’t have to be a part of a World’s Fair clean up 🙂

One for the Ladies

Now that we got the fun stuff for the guys out of the way we can move on to the ladies 🙂

One of the more interesting things that I have seen at fairs before is agricultural shows or displays. They aren’t that common among fairs across the country but the ones that I have seen were fantastic!

Inspiration for the Home!

I have to give credit where credit is due. The majority of the garden that I have built at my home consists of flowers and plants that I have seen at an agricultural show. They brought out flowers and amazing potted plants that I had no idea even existed. Once I caught a glimpse of them I was immediately hooked and went straight to the store the next day to pick up my own. Now I have one of the most beautiful gardens (in my opinion) on my block.

pump

They bring out plants that look like they came from a different country and they are all amazing.

For the Kids!

So far this doesn’t really sound like anything that many men or children would find interesting but do not fear because there is more. Something that is more common than exotic plants are the enormous vegetables that local farmers grew. These are some of the biggest and coolest vegetables that you will ever see and won’t believe how massive some of these things can get!

Back To The Fun

Now that we got some of the boring stuff out of the way we can move on back to the fun and games!

Are Carnies Criminals?

There is a lot of general speculation out there that carnival games are all rigged and they are all designed to completely rob anyone who attempts to play them. Well coming from personal experience of working directly with carnies and seeing their games I can say that they are not all bad. The games that we had at Springfest although sometimes very difficult, were all completely legitimate and were definitely not made to scam people.

game

That being said…

I have definitely seen games on television shows and at certain fairs where they were rigged and next to impossible to win. Let me say that I think this is reprehensible and these people should honestly be arrested. Fairs aren’t designed for people to just make money off of unsuspecting and innocent people, but to bring people together for a great time for the whole family!

So just keep that in mind next time you are at a fair or carnival. I would like to think that most carnies out there are not bad people and are just employees running legitimate games, but there really is no sure fire way to tell if they are your friend or your worse enemy so be wary.

More Work Than You Think

Fairs aren’t all animals and games unfortunately…

Not many people out there really understand or appreciate what it really takes and how much work goes in to running a successful and exciting fair. Back in the days when I was a member of Springfest, I couldn’t believe how much work it actually took.

Permits and Licenses

Luckily for me, I was not very high up on the employee ladder and never really had to deal with any official paperwork involving permits and things of that nature, but I sure did work with the people that did. Now I understand that there is obviously going to be some work getting all of the permits and paperwork ready, but had no idea how difficult some things were to get.

ppl

The building and other inspectors that are in charge of making sure everything is up to code are nightmares to work with and please. One year I remember we had a building that looked like a farm come in for all of our animals and they were absolute hounds about the structure of the barn.

They did countless inspections over the coarse of a couple of weeks and 3 days before the fair, they decided that the roof on the barn was not up to code and had to be completely refinished before they would allow us to use it. I don’t know how much it had to have cost them to get the thing fixed in time but it was a nightmare to have to work around.

The Animals

Now that I am a grown adult, for the most part :), exploring the different food vendors would have to be my favorite part about going to the fair. When I was a kid though, I always looked the most forward to going to see all of the different animals that you could pet and sometimes even ride.

Where Else Can You See A Pig Race?

I sure can’t think of any other places besides a fair.

Well, maybe some sort of rodeo but you know what I mean 🙂

pig

If you have never seen a pig up close, especially a baby, let me be the one to tell you that they are absolutely adorable! The excitement that grows on my kids faces is absolutely hysterical whenever we see the pig pens and start walking over.

Another amazing thing that you can do for your kids is to let them ride and touch whatever they have. I remember one year when working at Springfest, we had actual camels come in and they were letting people take a lap around on the camel. Now these things are way bigger than you might think and even I was excited to ride one.

Something else that I have seen done at fairs but have never been brave enough to watch it happen is a mother cow giving birth. Now I am sure this is a beautiful thing in some peoples’ eyes but that is something I can do without 🙂

The Food… Mmmmm….

One of my absolute favorite things about going to the fair that I still look forward as an adult going with my children is the incredible, and sometimes bizarre, food. There is something about fairs that brings out the most creative of minds when it comes to cooking up the next hit at the fair and you will find meals cooked up that you have no chance of finding anywhere else.

Some of My Favorites

What I love about going to the fair is that you really never have any idea on what you might find. And there is absolutely no judgement when it comes to eating at these amazing places. You can find just about anything fried and the unhealthier it is usually means the tastier it is.

fairfood

This one is definitely a more common one that you might find around the country and I am a little embarrassed to admit, but fried twinkies are some of the most incredible things you could ever put in your mouth. I really am not into twinkies on their own either, but when you fry them up they are just a flavor explosion that is like nothing else.

One of the more crazy ones that I have seen was a cheeseburger with all of the normal toppings but there is a catch. They do not use a regular hamburger bun.

Can you guess what they could use?

If you said crispy cream doughnuts then you are correct. This might not sound like something that would go well with a burger but I am telling you it will change your life.