I've discovered a strange phenomenon in the past few months as my parents unceremoniously shove me down the path of financial independence: when you're using your own money, you tend to be a lot more careful about how you spend it.
It's because of this new-found mindset that I quickly recognized the value of the Ohio State Fair after starting work here.
With a family of six, my parents have not always been able to swing week-long trips to places like the Bahamas or Hawaii. However, they have become masters in the art of the staycation.
The Ohio State Fair is truly the perfect place for a getaway. Not only are there a million things to do (I dare you to try them all in one day...really), but so many of the activities are cheap or, even better yet, free!
Obviously, getting in to the Fair is the most important part. Luckily, there are deals and discounts offered almost every day.
Once you're in, there are plenty of free activities:
Animals- Who doesn’t love cute puppies, or lambs, or baby calves? The Fair has all of these and more. My personal favorite: the baby cows and moms that reside by the Dairy Products building.
Agriculture Is Cool- Discover an assortment of hands-on activities that will define why “Ag is Cool.” Kids can milk a cow or even drive a simulated tractor. I never realized before working here how much of the Fair is about learning, and this program truly embodies the Fair’s educational spirit.
Live Shark Encounter- The Live Shark Encounter is a new attraction with shows and sharks that will entertain the whole family. I’ve never been a huge fan of things that can eat me but this show is too cool to miss.
Civil War Encampment- This is a real-life replica of a Civil War Union Encampment, along with live demonstrations of aspects of the soldiers’ daily lives (such as food preparation over a fire and what it is like to live in a tent). This is a good one for kids--they'll learn to appreciate simple things like running water!
Natural Resources Park- This beautifully landscaped area provides a shady respite from the blazing sun. All shows and displays are completely free. See retriever dogs in action, walk through the butterfly house, fish, kayak and say hello to the 14 ½-foot-tall Smokey Bear.
Not only is there an amazing variety of foods at the Fair--from Kripy Kreme Doughnut Burgers to Roast Beef Sundaes--there are a variety of prices. Visit D & M Concessions, which offers $1 menu items including shredded chicken, sloppy joes, and slider burgers. Check out the Fair's new Food Finder app by texting "FoodFind" to 86272.
What is your favorite food or attraction at the Fair?