I love the Central Washington State Fair. The food, the concerts, the people watching - everything about it makes me look forward to it each year. Over the years of attending, I always have those thoughts of "Oh, I wish I would've done brought this" or "I forgot to do this." Here's a quick survival guide for the fair that you can take advantage of if you wish.

  • Avoid the Heat

    Although our fair is conveniently timed to be at the end of September through early October, there can still be some very hot days involved. First and foremost, bring sunscreen. Don't just bring some, put some on before you leave the house so it has time to set in before you sweat it off. Consider the shoes you'll be wearing, too. You'll be doing a lot of walking on hot, dry pavement so those cheap flip-flops may not hold out. Sunburns on your feet are also the worst so consider some tennis shoes. Might want to bring a hat. If you don't have one, there are plenty of hats you can buy at the fair.

    Flickr, bredgur
  • Eat Well and Stay Hydrated

    Eat breakfast before you leave the house. Even if it's a bowl of corn flakes. You'll need that energy at the fair with all of the moving around you'll be doing. Sure, they have food their, too, but most of that food is fried and not quite supposed to give you the nutrients your body needs. You can eat corn dogs and cotton candy, too - just make sure you eat well as well. You'll also need to stay hydrated. Have at least one bottle of water on you. That way, when the water runs out you can fill it back up with tap water. Yes, tap water. It's free and it's safe. It may not taste as good as bottled water, but it will keep you hydrated. If you have the extra money to shell out for bottled water, go right ahead. So long as you're drinking water.

    sxc, nazreth
  • Be Organized

    Before you leave the house, make sure you have anything you may need especially if you're packing for a family like diapers, a fully-charged cell phone, change of clothes - just in case. Once you're at the fair, leaving requires you'll have to pay for parking again. The fair is a great place to get lost in with all of the activities going on at any given time. As soon as you get there, have a designated location so if anyone gets lots, you beeline for area. Consider somewhere inside the Sundome to keep out of the heat for too long, perhaps. The Ferris wheel or any tall location that you can see from anywhere will also work. Another good idea is to bring some ziplock baggies if the weather calls for rain. That way you can keep your phone or other supplies dry.

    Facebook, CWSF
  • Bring Cash

    Even if you have the mindset of going just to look around and not buy anything, chances are the smell of fair food will entice you over the edge. Or if you happen to see a great gift for someone that you can only find at the fair, it's a good idea to bring some cash. You'll need to pay for parking, unless you take the bus or walk to the fairgrounds anyways. Doesn't have to be much, even $20. They do have ATMs at the fair, but they charge a ridiculous fee - as high as $5 I've seen in some places. Bring a few bucks.

    Flickr, Public Domain
  • Be Polite

    To many, this is the hardest one to stay on top of. With the pushing and the crowding - tensions can rise. If it's really hot outside, people can get generally cranky as well. A simple "excuse me" can go along way to break through a crowd. All the basics - "thank you", "please", "sorry" can make an enjoyable experience for everyone. These simple words are free to say so use them often like they're going out of style. Don't forget to say "Thank You" to the fair staff, carnival operators, food vendors and other employees when you see them. They are the reason you got out of the house that morning to do something fun so should a touch of appreciation, if you would.

    Facebook, CWSF