Money Savers: State Fair on a family budget
Make no bones about it, fun at the fair can often hit your wallet hard.

"The fair is expensive, but it is a lot of fun," says Gianna Kordatzky, one of the authors behind the Family Fun Twin Cities website. "You really do need a game plan."

Want to have a good fair experience without breaking the bank? A few ideas:

-Stick to the northern end of the fairgrounds: Home to the Baldwin Park Family Fair, kids and their parents can play in Alphabet Forest, the Giant Sandbox, or the Math on a Stick area. They can learn from exhibits in the Eco Experience, climb on National Guard equipment, see a Northwoods Dog show, or go on the Boy Scouts ropes course. All of these activities are free.

-Go on a scavenger hunt: Many of the exhibit buildings, like the Fine Arts building, offer a game or scavenger hunt to engage children.

-Go early: Not only can you beat the crowds, but often there are early bird discounts on the Mighty Kidway.

-Make a list and stick to it: Like with any financial decision, make a list of what is most important and then let your priorities guide you.

"I have a list full of things I want to try this year," says Kordatzky. "When I look around and see something has a fee to it, I’m like there are other free things I don’t need to do that."

Shannon Slatton, reporting
on Twitter: @sslatton



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