Dakota County Fair

We just returned from our annual trip to the Dakota County Fair, which runs through Sunday. It's always a fun time!

I've blogged before about the advantages of a county fair for preschoolers: smaller crowds, greater access, friendly 4-H kids and plenty of fried food. 

Another plus: the cheaper cost. Kids 5 and under are free. Kids 6-12 are just $2. And adults are $5. There is ample parking right on the fairgrounds for $5. 

All that makes for a lower-stakes trip and an easier getaway if your toddler is nearing a meltdown. 

We feasted, as usual. Don't miss the 4-H malt shop at the southern end of Food Alley, near the livestock buildings -- $5 well spent! 

Then it was time for the $5 pony rides, a highlight for the girls. The girls got a nice long ride. 

This was the first year Jane declared her independence: She didn't want any parent hovering nearby. 

We strolled through the arts & craft building and took in the livestock. 

Of course, we never pet an animal without getting the owner's permission first. The 4-H kids are always so nice and patient with fielding preschoolers' questions.

We spent the most time moseying around Heritage Village, which brought to life the "Little House on the Prairie" series we are reading.  

The girls loved the 1902 one-room schoolhouse.

Maria asked if the teacher was actually from "the olden days." She was legit. And, it turns out, she was a student in that exact school back in the day. 

Maria said her favorite part of the fair was spending time with the blacksmith Gordon, who teaches blacksmithing to kids. 

The girls each found a stick and start playing with them in the dirt -- nary an iPad in sight. It almost felt like we were retreating back in time. 

All in all, a great outing! 



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 Christina Ries is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and three young children in Inver Grove Heights. Write her at christina@mnparent.com.