How to Enjoy Festivals & Fairs with a Toddler

At the end of every July, Newberg holds its annual Newberg Old Fashioned Festival. This year, it celebrated its 37th year & it was Scarlett’s second year attending. Matt & I have gone four years now & each year, the festival becomes more fun, entertaining & special to us as a family.

It makes our very small town feel big & it always brings the community together. With vendors, parades, carnival rides, food galore & people, it can get a bit busy. We knew coming into this year, we wanted to be prepared with Scarlett so we could all enjoy it. She was only 10 months last summer & wasn’t walking yet, so this year would be different.

We are planning on going to a few fairs this summer, including the Oregon State Fair next month. The festival this past weekend allowed us to see what will be the best way to enjoy our day & what to expect. Our State Fair is a blast, but it is way bigger & crazier than the Newberg Festival, so planning will be important.

I started this list before our excursions this weekend, hoping to add onto it as we enjoyed it with Scarlett. As the weekend went on, we learned not everything always works out as planned. We had so much fun from the festival to the pancake breakfast.

Here are a few ways you can enjoy festivals & fairs in your town with your little ones in tow!

festivals and fairs tickled scarlett

*I did receive a product in this post in exchange for my posting, social media posts & review. My opinions are 100% my own.*

Research Ahead of Time

The city always has a website full of details, schedules & a calendar of all the events that are happening the weekend of the festival. It started off this year on a Thursday night with the Kids Parade, so we knew we had to start with that.

I pulled up the route of the parade while at home, found good parking only a few blocks away & brought something for us to sit on. Once I arrived, I called Matt right away with our cross streets so he could sit & watch it with us! Next year, we will walk it with her.

Since we had been to the festival a few years in a row, we already had a general idea of the activities we wanted to have Scarlett enjoy, such as the pancake breakfast.

They offered it two different mornings, but at different times. You could also purchase tickets in advanced so you didn’t have to wait in line. We had forgot to buy tickets, but as we were standing in line to purchase them that morning, a kind gentleman came over and gave us his two extra tickets.

Find Age-Appropriate Rides & Games

The in-laws gave us a date night on one of the festival nights, so Matt & I went together and enjoyed dinner, music & some games. That allowed use to also scope out the area & what we thought Scarlett would love.

She is still little for almost all the rides & attractions, but they had a few for the children. Parents could stand right there on the carousel, so no need to worry about her going on her own. It was her first carnival ride!

We ended up using our BOB stroller for this outing, but would have carried her in a LILLEbaby in a heartbeat if we weren’t up & down on the rides. I would say a carrier is essential for any festival outing.

I wanted her to be able to walk around & see everything when she wanted to as well, so this go around, we left it. When we go to the State Fair, there is no doubt we will have it with us.

Pack Light & Prepared

The festival was less than a five-minute drive from our house so there wasn’t any need for us to be packing for a day trip. With that in mind, we kept things light & made sure we had just a few things like a book and her water bottle.

You know I love my Ju-Ju-Be B.F.F., but I was recently gifted a Ju-Ju-Be Super Be in the newest print tokidoki print Sea Punk from my owner at Cute as Button Baby Boutique. Let me say, I love this bag so far. It is a tote style bag, but it is big & fits just what you need to go out quick or it is great for day at the park.

I threw my messenger strap on it for a bit to carry the heavy water bottles & loved having that feature. I will be looking for a matching strap ASAP! Here is one my most recent posts on the Ju-Ju-Be B.F.F & why it is one of our favorite “growing” products.

Don’t Make Solid Plans

Parents know that plans can change any minute, no matter what. A day at the festival is no exception. We had things we wanted to do, but understand that Scarlett’s needs are always first.

For instance, as much fun as we had at the pancake breakfast that morning, not even 10 minutes later, little miss was not having it anymore. We had planned on heading over to the car show after breakfast, where they had tons & tons of old cars & fire trucks on display.

By the time we got to the cars, she was already upset & tired from the long morning. We wanted to walk around some, but sometimes you just have to step away & head on home.

She needed her rest…she napped for two hours that afternoon.

park festival and fairs tickled scarlett

With a toddler, we have learned to always keep things fluid & to never make set plans because things always change.

Use Every Moment as a Learning Opportunity

From standing in line while waiting to get onto a ride to ordering food, everything we did was a learning opportunity with Scarlett. Her vocabulary has been exploding lately, so we talked about everything from the colors on the rides to the crazy movements that they did.

It was also a chance to teach her about patience & what waiting in line is, just like we do at the grocery stores. There were lots of kids, so for her to see them waiting patiently for the rides, enjoying them & then going again was a neat experience. She loved the pink slide so we went twice.

 

The festival turned out to be just what we wanted it to be; a fun-filled family experience. Quality time is my primary love language after all. It was great because we made sure to plan for events we wanted to go to, find activities that were appropriate for Scarlett and we made sure we were prepared for whatever came up during our outing.

Are you planning any attending festival or fair trips this summer season with your littles? I would love to her your trips & tricks that make the day go by without a hitch. Enjoy the rest of this beautiful summer weather.

Take Care,

katie tickled scarlett signature for blog

  • Madina Lawlis

    I love exploring and doing new thing S with our children! I know that some people think that having babies means being stuck inside not being able to have fun, but becoming parents has been a joy and most fun we have ever had! Thank you for encouraging that and giving info on how to make it easier ❤️❤️

    • Thank you for the kind words & for taking a moment to do so! We love being able to share these kinds of experiences with her & little ones do make it fun don’t they?!?

    • We use to always get the comment that you won’t be able to do much with a child. Yes there are a few things, but we still love & enjoy our time together. Thank you for the comment 🙂

  • Prachi Datar Pendurkar

    I usually prefer a ring sling for such outings, as its very easy to get the baby in and out and also compact!

    • This is a GREAT idea! I will have to borrow a sling for our next outing. I think she is pushing over 30 pounds now, so it will need to be a higher weight one 🙂

  • Jaymi

    Such great tips! We’ve been debating whether or not to head to the fair with our kids, but this may top the scales. Looks like so much fun!

    • You got it! Just plan ahead & research the event online first 🙂

  • Shell

    Great tips for an outing with a little one 🙂 looks like you all had a great day!

    • Thank you for reading! We had a great time & hope my tips help.

  • Firenze McCowald

    We’ve gone to my hometown fair (even though it’s a day’s drive each way for us now) since my girls – now 7 and 5 – were 1 and 3. Having the double stroller when they were that little (and later, backpacks with leashes) was a godsend – that was about the only time we used either, but they were fabulous! Otherwise I’d say your tips are spot-on!

    • I love how you still make this a family trip each year. Those are some great memories they will hold on to forever. Thank goodness for double strollers!

  • Toni Pearce

    Some great tips there! It looks like you had fun. We haven’t braved any festivals yet but you have made me.excited for when we do

    • Thank you Toni for reading. We had a really nice time and felt prepared for our outing. Plan ahead and you got it!

    • Thank you Toni! You got it…just pack light & prepared, while being loose with your plans. Have fun!

  • Mary Smith

    As this is my first summer with a toddler these a great tips. We will only get one fair in since she has been walking and it will be a big one! I appreciate the tips to ensure there are minimal issues!

    • Thank you Mary for your comment & how exciting! I am glad to hear some of my tips will help out. Isn’t it amazing how much changes once they are mobile 🙂

  • Line To Marie

    For me the only way is take a lot of food in the backpack , including lots of bananas. lol I will try your tips.

    • What a great tip!! We love food that is easy on the go, thank you for this!

  • Hi Amanda! Thank you for the comment & glad to hear this can be “universal” for any outing were attractions & fun are. DIsneyland sounds like a blast…you can do it Mama!

  • Cassie Trin

    What a great post! I have a toddler but haven’t attempted a fair yet. These tips will be great to remember, I think especially the go with the flow. When they are done they’re done lol.

    • Thank you for your reading. Yes…they let us know when it is time to go! We went to a small town fair first, which I think made a difference versus going to a huge one right off the bat. Let me know how it goes if you venture on out!

  • Erin Fuller

    Great post. Going with the flow is so important when our little one is experiencing new things! Hard to do sometimes, but I agree that making everything a learning experience is a great challenge for them and us.

    • Thank you Erin for taking a moment to comment. New things are always fun, but can become overwhelming. We let her call the shots! Take care 🙂

  • I loved that you made everything a “learning experience” for them. This is sometimes easier said than then done these days. I liked that you had prepared well beforehand, some really useful tips there. With all little ones when they are tired, they will let you know when its time to go home!

    • Thank you for the kind words & comment! Preparing & taking an extra moment before heading out the door is always important & setting a short time frame. Take care 🙂

  • This is a great post as we come up to the time of year of Fall Fairs! And exactly how I approach just about everything with my toddler. Plans out the window, pack light and just do it.

    • Yes those three tips right there is the short version 🙂 I can’t WAIT for fall time. I guess you don’t capitalize seasons??, but i do for the Fall!

  • Our two toddlers haven’t handled a festival well yet. I love your idea of scoping out the area ahead of time. Narrowing down the area in advance would def solve some of the issues we usually have!

    • Oh I’m sorry to hear it hasn’t gone well! I hope my tips help so you can venture out again soon 😊

    • Thank you for the comment. Yes, a bit of planning always helps & I look for Facebook Events or a website for all the details I can find. Packing lots of goodies like a few light books & snacks always helps. Let us know what we can do to help!

  • Never making solid plans and always being prepared are pretty much the best advice ever for toddler life festival or not 😂 Thanks so much for this wonderful piece- we have a fair coming up and I have two toddlers! Not sure I’m ready but I’m at least more so now that I read this!

    • You can do it Mama! Plan LOTS of good snacks & a few light books that they enjoy/you can carry 🙂 If you babywear, that always helps. Let us know how it goes!

  • Angela Milnes

    What an Interesting post and I love to read more about this, I have a toddler but I didn’t try to attend in a fair like this

    • I appreciate you reading Angela! You could use this for any outing really…being prepared & planning in advance are always a good idea 🙂

  • Tina

    These are great tips for an outing like this with a toddler. You are so right about not making solid plans! It’s great to be prepared for the day (your scoping out ahead of time is an awesome idea!), but sometimes you can’t do anything about a worn out toddler but leave. 🙂

    • Thank you Tina for the kind words and taking a moment to comment. Lately, we set a time roughly & then just go with it 🙂 I am such a planner, but have learned to let loose a bit now.

  • April Kitchens

    I take my little to festivals pretty often. Depending on the festival, I’ll use my stroller or carrier. A carrier is a must because even at 3, they get tired of walking pretty fast.

    • Great tip April! We love our carriers & look forward to bring one to the big fair! Enjoy the rest of the beautiful summer.

  • I LOVE our state fair! From the food to the rides and shows. My kiddos love it too but its usually very crowded. You made great points like researching ahead of time.

    • We can’t wait! I didn’t splurge really on the food at the festival this time, so I will there 🙂 I hope I can get some tips from local Mamas on their State Fair excursions!

  • Cindy Hemming

    Sounds like you guys had a great time! We took our toddler to our Cananda Day Block Party this summer and she loved it too. These are great tips! Very helpful post!

    • That sounds like so much fun! I am glad you all had a good time. Thank you for the kind words Cindy.

  • Tayler DiGiacomo

    I love this!! Sounds like you guys had such a great time! Can’t wait to use these tips next time we go to the fair!

    • I hope some of my tips help! Enjoy the rest of the summer 🌞

    • Thank you for the kind words Tayler! We had a blast & she loved it…hope my tips can help out on any new outing!

  • Darlene Dee

    This is such good advice. I have taken the toddler on lots of trips and outings but all-day festivals are next level. I’m not sure if I am ready. 😬

    • You got it Mama! Thank you for commenting and enjoy the rest of the summer events!

  • The Salty Mamas

    Great tips! We just hit up the County Fair with our three the other day and had a great time! Hope you continue to make awesome memories with yours <3

    • How fun! Any tips?! We are really looking forward to it…my MIL already bought tickets 😂

  • Thomas N Brittany Marshall

    I just realized we haven’t been to a fair or festival since our eldest was born…almost 8 years ago! The closest we’ve come is the zoo. I think being in such crowded places has lost it’s appeal with 4 kids in tow. We love going to the zoo though. Especially during the week when there’s no one there =)

  • Kaity Johnson

    Not making solid plans is such a huge key when it comes to braving fairs and festivals…or any event, really…with the little ones. The more you try to stick to the plan, the more your stress level rises. Love all of these tips! 🙂

  • Sara DeLoe

    Thanks for the great tips! The only festival we’ve gone to with our daughter is when she was still a baby so couldn’t really do much, just take turns watching her as we went on rides. Hopefully now that she’s older it will be more fun the next time we go!