Many organizations around Wilson County serve as sponsors for a day at the fair. For example, Saturday is Ford Day at the fair, so anyone can get $2 off admission by bringing some kind of Ford merchandise such as a hat or key chain with the Ford logo. There is no discount on admission Friday.
The fair is the kind of event that takes some smart budgeting because there’s just so much to do and buy. Once you get in, there is plenty to do at no extra charge. Activities like the pig race, Fiddlers Grove demonstrations, demolition derby, stage shows, pageants, etc. are all included in the price of admission, but what can really hurt the wallet is spending time in the Midway section.
The easiest way to spend the whole bank on one thing is to play the carnival games. While it’s romantic and fun to win your date a prize, be careful to listen to exactly what the person running the game is asking you to pay for each try. I once had to help a friend pay all of $45 for a small stuffed animal at one of these games.
Rides can also get pricey, but it’s worth it if you do it right. If you only want to ride one or two rides, buy individual tickets for $1 each. Beware that most rides cost more than one ticket, so be sure you know how many you need before waiting in line to purchase ride tickets. The unlimited ride hand stamp costs $20. That’s probably the cheapest way to go if most of your time will be spent on the rides.
Food prices aren’t outrageous, but it will probably cost around $12 or more for one person get a good meal with a beverage. It is possible to get a corn dog and small lemonade for less than $10. Find food vendors that offer a refillable cup, but be advised that rides, including the ferris wheel, do not allow food or drink.
Check out the Wilson Bank & Trust table in Fiddlers Grove for free cups of lemonade.
Find friendly people near entrance gates or information tables for free hand fans.
Visit Highland Heights for free balloons.
Free popsicles are available in Building B behind the Expo Center, also known as the Turner-Evans building.
Pet animals for free in the petting area next to the Midway. Cups of animal feed are available for $1 or a little more for a bigger cup.
Finally, many vendors hand out free samples of their stuff, like salsa, jelly, jalapeno butter and more. They can be found in white exhibitor tents around the fair.
As with most budgeting situations, planning ahead will benefit before entering the fair. My strategy is to take out as much cash as I want to spend and leave my debit card in the car. Be sure to factor in the $12 for admission separate from spending money in the fair. Admission is $6 for children up to 12 years old.
There is a lot to see and do included with admission, and many vendors worth buying from at the Wilson County Fair. Have fun and be sure to send your coolest fair pictures to email@example.com.
Sinclaire Sparkman is The Democrat’s news editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @wilsoncoreports.