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