10 Reasons County Fairs are Better than Disneyland


in Frugality

Photo by jcandeli @ Flickr

Photo by jcandeli @ Flickr

There’s a lot of focus these days on staycations and frugal activities with the family. Your in luck it’s County Fair Time! Here’s a little encouragement to bolster the idea that there’s no place like home for some good old fashioned carnival entertainment.  I’ll show you the happiest place on earth. If you are in my neck of the woods you have plenty to choose from like the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe WA, the Puyallup Fair, in Puyallup WA, The King County Fair in Enumclaw WA and The Northwest Washington Fair in Lynden WA.  We don’t have one big state fair, this way you have multiple Corn Dog eating opportunities.  We prefer the Evergreen State Fair as it’s a little less croweded and as one of my Tweeps pointed out there’s a much higher Mullet to Ride ratio.

Alright I present to you the Top 10 reasons why you should save your money and hit the local fair, carnival or festival.

10.  Deep Fried Anything. Where else are you going to find deep fried dough, deep fried funnel cakes, deep fried donuts, deep fried snickers bars, deep fried Crisco sticks?  Top it all off with 2 lbs of curly fries.

9.  Spend a Dollar Win Some Crap! You certainly can’t walk the gauntlet of carnival games at Disneyworld.  Spend $3 to shoot out a tiny red star with a bb gun that’s been sighted in by a punch drunk rodeo clown for a fantastic inflatable ninja sword.

8.  Doodah Birds. What’s a doodah bird you say?  Get to the fair and find out, you can get a custom distorted coke bottle that you can fill with any color sand you want, cap it, glue some googly eyes, some feathers and a funny hat and you’ve got a doodah bird!  Eat that Mickey.

7.  Rides of Terror! That’s right Nancy head on over to Six Flags if you want to ride one of their “safe” and “certified” rides.  If you really want to prove your worth you’ll head on over to the tilt-A-Whirl that’s been travelling from town to town for 2 years without a lick of maintenance.

6.  Livestock. Oh you can be sure that Walt’s not going to let you witness the sights, sounds and smells of genuine cows, pigs, goats, pygmy horses, wallaby’s, and flying squirrels that are on display at the fair.  And who doesn’t love the shining faces of those teenage 4-H kids laying down on a bale of hay behind their llama pen.

5.  Lumberjack Shows. If the words Axe Throwing and Modified Chainsaw Races don’t get your juices going your time may be better spent visiting the worlds largest frying pan.   When you get home your kids will be begging you for their own log rolling spikes.

4.  Butt Rock. If there is ever a venue that will prove to you that 80’s Hair Bands still have a place in this world, walk the fairgrounds.  Guaranteed you’ll hear the likes of Poison, Motley Crue, Cinderella, Whitesnake and for the truly discriminating carnival operation Winger.

3. Obscure Animal Races. Are you going to see potbelly pigs running for all their worth down a figure eight track at the Great Wolf Lodge?  I don’t think so.  Man can those wiener dogs run or what?

2.  The Shamwow. This is one of your few opportunities to see the Shamwow and it’s cousins in their native environment, if your lucky you might even see Vince.  Maybe you need a knife that can cut a hammer and then slice a tomato like butter.  Or perhaps you didn’t even know that you could slice vegetables in the shape of an albatross at the fraction of the time you currently spend with your outmoded paring knife.

And the Top Reason that County Fairs are better than Disneyland:  Carnies. Who is that mystery man behind the control panel of the Gravitron.  Does he really know how to operate the ride?  Is he inebriated?  Would he know what to do if the ride malfunctions?  Would he care?  Has he showered this week?  The enigmatic carnie merely adds that final certain something to complete your carnival experience.

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Kosmo @ The Casual Observer 2009/08/13 at 7:48 am

I have been impressed (if that’s the word for it) at the ability of some carnies to defraud, particular when multiple items are purchased. If you pay close attention when you’re standing in line, you can catch a lot of creative math.
.-= Kosmo @ The Casual Observer´s last blog ..NASCAR or Opera =-.

Kyle 2009/08/13 at 7:31 pm

You actually can play carnival type games in Disney World at the Animal Kingdom Theme Park in the dinosaur area. You definitely don’t get that Carnie vibe though and without the smell of a funnel cake it just isn’t the same. I think the best thing about the local/county fairs is just plain old people watching. It takes all types to make a county fair, and some of them never cease to amaze me.
.-= Kyle´s last blog ..Managing a Checking Account =-.

paul 2009/08/13 at 8:40 pm

The Dinosaur area? The only dinosaur you’ll see at the state fair is the one you’ve won after throwing 89 softballs at the wicker basket. Hehe.

Kosmo @ The Casual Observer 2009/08/14 at 6:30 am

Dinosaurs seriously rock.

I bough a T-Rex and a Brachiosaurus yesterday, to join the other animals (tigers, bears, squirrel, hedgehog) on my cubicle ledge.

Yeah, I’m an actual adult with a dozen years of IT experience for a huge company … but I still like wild animals of the distant past and distant present 🙂
.-= Kosmo @ The Casual Observer´s last blog ..Warm Feet =-.

[email protected] 2009/08/15 at 10:30 am

Paul, you left off the biggest reason of all, you can stay longer and come more often because it’s so much cheaper!

That’s no small point when you have small kids. Kids don’t comprehend a lot of what’s going on at Disney, but they can interact with farm animals or go on small rides and know exactly what’s happening. They know funnel cake taste good, and ice cream works as well at the county fair as it does at Disney.

We’ve tested the two side by side (Disney and the county fairs) and our verdict is that the kids liked both about the same. And since the fairs are only a fraction of the price, guess which one wins with Mom and Dad?

Alas, that was years ago, now it’s bigger kids, bigger expenses!

mrbrown 2009/08/20 at 3:20 pm

i noticed 3 out of 4 ads for disneyland in the google ads section.
and one for NY. but i live in WA.
very interesting site tho:)

paul 2009/08/20 at 3:30 pm

Yes Adsense doesn’t make the most intelligent decisions on ads to present if I could filter all the Debt Reduction snake oil ads I would certainly do that but I’m somewhat limited if I want to be able to monetize my site at all. Glad you liked my site, be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed or you can sign up for email delivery in the top right sidebar.

Tom 2010/02/09 at 3:59 pm

The best reasons of all is that it’s totally local and totally unique.
.-= Tom´s last blog ..Ten Great Reasons To Buy A Home =-.

xrumer 5.0 warez 2010/06/30 at 2:07 pm

I want to start blogging too, what do you think, which blog cms is good for beginner?

London Accountants Lady 2015/10/15 at 9:44 am

Great post, I agree with the point about livestock!

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