7 Tips for the 50th State Fair – 2014

From shows to bathrooms, we have seven tips for families heading to the 50th State Fair.

The view from the Ferris Wheel

I have one preschooler now. But I also have 10 nieces and nephews. So let’s just say I am anything but a 50th State Fair rookie. The annual event is much anticipated all year round by my entire family. And though the rides stay largely the same (I’m pretty certain I rode “Area 51” back in high school under the name “Gravitron”), every year there are new tips that can keep your trip to the fair as stress-free as possible.

Our group:

Eight kids, ages 4-12.

10 adults, ages 37 to unmentionable.

The day:

Saturday, June 15.

When you first drive in, don’t let the “50th State Fair” sign fool you. The stalls along the Salt Lake Boulevard are closer to the main entrance. It’s about a three-minute walk, a big deal when you’re dragging eight tired kids, their prizes, half-finished drinks and bags back to the car.

Parking is $5 a car.

We listed the fair’s party package as a Best of HONOLULU Family winner in the current issue and for good reason. Book a group of 10 and it will cost $32 per person, a savings of about $11 a person. You receive:

  • A 10-ride wristband ($35 value). This is huge since wristbands are only available four nights this year. In a package, you can get them any day.
  • Admission ($3-$5 value). Kids under 40” are free. We used the admission tickets on all the adults but gave the wristbands to the kids.
  • A voucher for a 16-ounce drink and a hamburger, hot dog or a slice of pizza (about $7 value). The vouchers are only good at specific stands.
  • Reserved tables for the evening. We got two tables under the food tent until closing. It became a good home base for lost kids and a parking spot for water bottles etc.
  • Birthday gifts, if it is a birthday. Both birthday kids, ages 10 and 4, were thrilled with their special prize. We won’t give it away, but we saved big bucks at the game booths.

I say this deal is even good for groups smaller than 10, if you have kids who love the rides. A wristband costs $35 alone, so purchase the pack and give the kids more wristbands. Give the adults the extra slice of pizza or hamburger.

At 4 p.m. the lines were non-existent, the sun wasn’t too brutal and there was enough time to see all the free shows. Note that admission increases from $3 to $5 at 6 p.m.

Restroom trailers are located just off the entrance and in the back by the Cobra Ejection Seat and food tents. The restroom near the entrance was usually less busy and a little cleaner.

There are no paper towels. There is also a hand sanitizer station just outside the petting zoo.

The stands fill up pretty quickly after that. Each show runs about 20 minutes.

The kids’ favorite was the Sea Lion Splash. The fast-paced program is entertaining and includes the always-adorable sight of sea lions waving at the crowd. Sea Lion Splash wraps up this weekend, June 22.

The 50th State Fair Circus includes a bow-and-arrow act, an aerialist who touches the ceiling of the not-so-big tent, a magician who erupts into flames and a contortionist that had even the older kids going “whoa!” Avoid the front row if you don’t want the magician using you as a prop.

If your kids aren’t into weapons and battle, you’ll probably walk out of The Dark Knights, a Jousting Tournament early. But if swords and watching guys knee each other in the stomach is their thing, you’re golden.

You can take photos with the circus and jousting performers after the show for free.

The longest: The Ferris Wheel.

The shortest: The Magic Maze, aka the fun house.

The most likely place to bonk your head: The mirrored hallways in the Magic Maze. Two of our group had to “shake it off”.

The 50th State Fair runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through July 6 at Aloha Stadium. Find more details at ekfernandez.com.