11 Tips on How to Properly Visit a County Fair

I have been visiting county and state fairs my whole life. County and state fair season is my favorite time of the year.  I still get giddy the day before our county fair starts. Today (Monday), you can come out to the Dakota County Fair and see some of our calves and heifers on display. We will be there until Tuesday evening.  Our boys are competing in the Dairy Show and we have a 4Her who is leasing some heifers from us as well.

Here are my 11 tips on how to properly visit a county fair:

1. Do stop at the fair information booth. This booth is usually run by a fair veteran. They are usually SUPER friendly and will clue you in on events, deals and things worth seeing at the fair.

2. Do bring a child with you. Children have not lost their sense of wonder and everything old looks new again in a child’s eyes.

fair, minnesota, child, photo, organic family farm

Jonnie at his first Dakota County fair in 2009

3.  Do check out the livestock barns. How often do you really get to see farm animals?

4. Do ask a 4Her or farmer a question. This is your chance to get your farm questions answered. Many 4Hers have been trained in answering visitors questions. If you visit us, we will let you pet one of our calves (Great photo opportunity for the kids). Don’t know what to ask? Check out my fair scavenger hunt.

5. Don’t pet without asking. Every year I witness parents taking their tiny babies right up to a 1500 pound cow. PLEASE ask before you pet. While these animals are usually docile, new places, lots of people and the stress of being showed, sometimes makes these animal jumpy. Also, cows cannot see very well directly in front of them. A stroller is very scary. Just ask, most often it is okay.

sam, hannah, dakota county fair, calves, 2011

Sam introduces Hannah to the calves at her first Dakota County Fair last year. We will gladly let you pet one of our calves if you ask.

6. Don’t eat in the barns. I know those cheese curds are no good cold, but finish them before you go in the livestock barns. Just like humans, livestock carry germs. While most of these germs are not harmful to healthy people, if you have never been exposed to them, you can get ill if you touch an animal and then touch your food.

7. Do wash your hands after visiting the barns. Refer to tip 6. Just a good idea to keep healthy.

8. Do see a 4H show. At Dakota County Fair you can see a 4H theatrical performance each night. The talent always amazes me!


This photo is used with permission from my friend Melissa. It is from her days in 4H. “Prize” to anyone who can name the stage they are on. 

9. Do bring a bag for your free stuff. If you walk through the commercial buildings you are bound to pick up a magnet, a fly swatter or a hundred other free items. Bring a bag to carry all your loot home in.

10. Do try a new food. Deep fried PB&J? Forget about counting calories. You will burn them off walking around the fair.

11. Do HAVE FUN!

There are my top 11 tips to help you make the most out of visiting a county or state fair. We hope to see you at the fair!


4 thoughts on “11 Tips on How to Properly Visit a County Fair

  1. Anna Wagner

    Love the tips! The stage looks like the Harkness Players Stage at the MN State Fair. It’s changed over the years so I could be mistaken though. I was on state arts-in and performed on that stage 3-4 times a day during the state fair for 2 years. Absolutely loved it.

  2. Kayleen (Dirks) Stallings

    Hello, I am a distant relative of you Zweber’s! My Great Grandparents are from there, the Nick Saurer’s, they moved to Hinton, Ok. after my grandmother was born. She married my grandfather, and moved to Nazareth, Tx.
    Looking forward to your newsletters.
    Kay (Dirks) Stallings