On the Town Survival Guide: Fairs and Festivals

On the Town Survival Guide: Fairs and Festivals

- in Things to do

My “On the Town Survival Guides” are designed to help maximize your fun and minimize your stress while you’re out and about with your kids. I’ve tackled everything from fine dining to Cedar Point to theater to baseball games.

As summer fairs and festivals are heating up, I wanted to share some tips and tricks from an avid fair and festival goer. I love how many fairs and festivals pop up around town and how each one uniquely celebrates a neighborhood, a heritage, a food group, or an interest. So, how do you take advantage of these fun festivals with your kids, while maximizing fun and minimizing stress?

Choose your Carnival

There are multitudes of fair, festival, and carnival options this time of year. Decide what your family’s thing is and go for it. Do you love food? Games? Rides? Renaissance culture? Animals? Or do you desperately want to avoid any and all of those things?

Trust me, whatever your thing is (or isn’t), there’s a festival for you. My favorite resource, written by a blogger friend of mine named Kristian, is Ohio Festivals. His website lists fairs and festivals by date, with a link to the festival’s site if available, as well as link to his review of the festival if he’s attended.

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So, do your homework before you go, lest you end up surrounded by farm animals with a child who recently developed a phobia of goats.

Come Prepared

I like to joke that the Taste of Tremont, one of my must-attend festivals, inevitably takes place on the hottest day of the year. It truly has to be a verifiable weather phenomenon in Cleveland. Point being, you need to be prepared to maximize your fun and minimize your stress.

For any festival outing, a sippy cup of water, snacks in case your child doesn’t love fried everything as much as you do, a clip fan, and sunscreen are the basics that will power you through your day with comfort.

Also in the preparation category, I suggest having parking game plans in place. Particularly for neighborhood festivals where streets are shut down (a la Taste of Tremont and the Feast of the Assumption), it’s best to have some idea of your options, lest you spend the entire time driving in circles with your child asking why you never learned to properly parallel park.

Embrace Your Inner Child

Your child is going to want to spend way too much money trying to win a goldfish of questionable lifespan. They are going to beg to go on rides that will make you turn green. They are going to likely eat nothing that even closely resembles healthy food while there. This is the beauty of fairs and festivals and the true reason I love them so much. You can just be a kid again.

So, minimize your own stress by letting go (within reason, obviously). I’m not suggesting you blow your monthly budget on games or let your child go on a ride that makes you feel unsafe. But relaxing a bit and embracing the fun that these festivals offer will make for some amazing memories for everyone!

I hope you have a great summer, living it up on the fair and festival circuit! Let me know if you have any favorites we should check out!

From Cleveland that I Love,


Editor’s note: For a lineup of area fairs and festivals happening in June, click here.

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