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Summertime State Fairs Traditions live on…

State Fairs are a favorite summertime tradition for millions of Americans each year. Starting back in the mid-1800’s as a way of promoting agriculture, livestock, and product unique to each state, the annual state fair has grown to what we know today with more than just cotton candy, carnival rides, and yes, still the not-so-humble pie competitions!

So, if you want to check out the country’s biggest and best State Fairs – have we got a list for you!

1.    Texas State Fair – Sept 28 – 31 Oct 2018

Address: 1945 Lagow Street, Dallas, TX 75210
Parking in official State Fair lots: $15
Public Transport: Use the DART, as Fair Park Station is at the front gate

Must Do’s:
– Get a photo with Big Tex – you’ll know him when you see him.
– Try the funnel cake (one of the best!) – hmmm, I can taste them now.
– Watch a concert or two with four stages to choose.
– Smell the roses at the Fall Garden Program.
– And of course, take a wander through the Big Tex Urban Farms.
Nearby Lodging:
– Guestwiser Apartments Butler Brothers Building – 9.0 rating, “excellent location, apartments with views & great facilities.”
– Home2 Suites By Hilton Baylor Scott & White Dallas – 9.0 rating, “great buffet breakfast, perfect location and great staff.”

2.    Minnesota State Fair – Aug 23 – 3 Sept 2018

Address: 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul, MN 55108
Parking in official State Fair lots: $14 (Cash Only)
Public Transport: Use the State Fair Express Buses – with over 20 locations it’s the perfect way to get there.

Must Do’s:
– Go to Sweet Martha’s to enjoy cookies and all you can drink milk.
– Check out the Grandstand for all your Shamwow/latest gym equipment shopping needs that’ll probably include the free steak knives.
– The animal attractions include everything from livestock to butterflies.
– The Bulls and Barrel Championship is always a thrill to watch.
– The parade runs a 14-block route and sets off at 2 pm daily.
Nearby Lodging:
– Como Lake Bed and Breakfast – “Pet-friendly, beautiful location with free parking.”
– Holiday Inn Express Roseville-St. Paul – 9.2 rating, “complimentary water bottles and comfortable beds with luxurious linen.”

3.    The Big E Fair – Aug 23 – 3 Sept 2018

Address: 1305 Memorial Ave, West Springfield, MA 01089
Parking in official State Fair lots: $10 (Cash Only) near gate 9
Public Transport: Shuttle Buses can be picked up from the Enfield Square Mall commuter lot.

Must Do’s:
– Drink some fantastic micro-brewery beers that are all around the fair.
– Devour the maple cotton candy – it’s unbelievably amazing!
– Watch the Budweiser Clydesdales parade and do not miss the Mardi Gras parade – it’s something else.
– The Butter sculpture is always fun to check out too.
– It’s notoriously known as having some of the best entertainment in New England too – with world-class performers & most of the concerts are free with your gate admission.
Nearby Lodging:
– Hampton Inn West Springfield – 8.4 rating, is “most popular for families and groups, with great service, good food, and clean rooms.”
– La Quinta Inn & Suites Springfield – 8.1 rating, “multilingual staff, great facilities and activities, including a laundry room which is handy when traveling and comfortable beds. ”

4.    Tulsa State Fair – Sept 27 – Oct 7, 2018

Address: 4145 E 21st St, Tulsa, OK 74114
Parking in official State Fair lots: $10
Public Transport: Fair Transit System operates a free shuttle service from Nathan Hale High School, OSU Tulsa, TPS Service Center and Tulsa Promenade Mall.

Must Do’s:
– Buy Dizzy’s Coupon Book for $5 at the nearest Ticket Booth or the Howdy Hut as it contains around 80+ coupons that can save you over $550 at the fair.
– With a convoy of carnival games, rides, shopping and food stall that stretch over 4 miles, make sure you wear so comfortable shoes!
– Take a wander through the Animal/Petting Zoo area to see some baby animals – some that are even born during the fair.
– Try the Pineapple Whip! It freshly made throughout the event and is worth it.
– Ford is one of the major sponsors, and they usually have some pretty terrific free activities that are well worthwhile to take part in too.
Nearby Lodging:
– The Campbell Hotel – 8.9 rating, “complimentary Wi-Fi, themed rooms also come complete with a refrigerator and microwave.”
– The Mayo Hotel – 8.7 rating, “terrific views from the rooftop terrace, ample parking, and large comfortable rooms.”

5.    Iowa State Fair – Aug 9-19, 2018

Address: 3000 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50317, USA
Parking in official State Fair lots: $10 in the North & Northeast lots include Blue Line Parking Shuttle for free.
Public Transport: There are 3 DART State Fair Park & Ride services with free parking – Center Street Park & Ride, Southeast Polk School, and State Capitol. Plus, if you show your advance Fair admission, you’ll receive half off the round-trip fare.

Must Do’s:
– Take a selfie with the Butter Cow.
– Enjoy a seriously tasty Pork Chop on a stick!
– You will be able to see one of the best views of the city at the farthest east gate (near the camping grounds) – you can usually get a table & chair to have some food and rest your feet a while.
– Hog Calling is a tradition and a competition that’s been running since 1926 – so it’s worth checking out too.
Nearby Lodging:
– Residence Inn by Marriott Des Moines Downtown – 9.0 rating, “large rooms, a great breakfast, and wonderful staff.”
– Econo Lodge Inn & Suites – 7.4 rating, with “clean rooms and it’s right near the fairgrounds, so there’s no need to worry about transport.”

* Please note: hotel ratings shown are based on actual reviews.

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