Dos and Don’ts of Street Fairs with Kids

 In Travel Tips

Food is the driving force that gets me out the door and to just about any street fair, carnival, neighborhood block party or festival. I can’t really say the same for my kids. Ty sleeps through everything still. Dek just wants to run around. He hasn’t quite grasped the concept that summer fairs mean fried food, which is a delicious and sought after thing.

Don’t worry. He’ll learn. I am his mother after all.

As I continue along the same vein as last week’s International Festival post I thought I would pull together a few things to remember when it comes to attending a street fair with your kids. Our backdrop will be the Ballard Seafood Fest that I attended while my sister and her family were in town. Some are common sense, others I had a little fun with.


  • Invite your friends and family to join you
  • Bring cash for food and trinkets. Not everyone has one of those nifty iPhone credit card scanners.
  • Pack a stroller for when little legs get tired. After eating a corn dog you will not want to lift your child.
  • Have plenty of water on hand
  • Taste as much fair food as possible. I recommend the fried Twinkie for your yearly cardiac clogging treat (check back tomorrow for my report on my first taste.)

    BBQ salmon, beignets, corn dog and a fried Twinkie

  • Take pictures with goofy props
  • Stop and watch a few street performers
  • Split your time between adult interests (arts and craft shopping) and kid fun (bubbles and bouncy houses) wisely. No one needs to be bored at a street festival
  • Find the main stage, grab your kid(s) and dance.
  • Throw a change of clothes in the car. Lots of sticky food, grass, dirt and paint will make a mess of your car. If there is a water activity, or even a fountain, forget it, you will have a soaked kid in no time.
  • Locate the nearest bathroom if you have kids, especially ones who are potty training, or you are pregnant.


  • Don’t expect too much from your excursion. Just go and have fun no matter how much you get to see and do.
  • Don’t anticipate riding every carnival ride with toddlers and babies in tow. If one parent has to ride the roller coaster that just came off the back of a truck then park the other parent with a funnel cake on a bench with the kids.
  • Don’t stand next to the speakers at the main stage, especially if you are holding your baby. Not good for those little ears. Plus it wakes them up from their nap. Yes, I’ve made that mistake.
  • Don’t worry if the kids get dirty. It’s OK to get dirty. That’s what being a kid is all about.
  • Don’t eat too much fried food. Just trust me on this one. It won’t end well.

What are YOUR dos and don’ts when at a local fair?

Festivals and street fairs really are better with great family and friends

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Showing 13 comments
  • Andi at The Particular Traveler

    Hooray for street fair food and goofy props. My personal favorite is the deep fried Mars bar…so good and yet so bad! 🙂 Dek is ADORABLE in these photos!

  • Allison

    As I was reading this, I realized it’s been awhile since we have attended a street fair. It’s on the list now. They are a lot of fun.

    One thought to add: it’s easy to lose your child at a crowded event. I lost my 2-year-old at the State Fair once and it was terrifying. He was trying to get back to the Lego tent, and thankfully, the police helped us find him quickly. Take photos of kids in the morning so you can show others what they look like, put your contact info in their pockets, and talk with older children about what to do if they get lost.

    • © Keryn Means/ walkingon travels

      Great advice and something I will be taking to Europe with me Allison. We are definitely at the age where Dek loves to wander off and find a new family. Not a fun prospect at home and especially when abroad.

  • Lisa Wood

    Love your tips for Street Fairs. We call them “Festival’s” over here! Recently we went to a Wine and Food Festival ~ and like you say “turn up and have a good time” was what attitude works the best.
    And yep there was lots of yummy food, and lots of great things to do for kids as well as adults. It was so good to chill out, listening to music, while our two boys were making a free kite!

  • Kate

    Love the black and white. Nice contrast. What a big fish Dek has!

  • Tonya @ The Traveling Praters

    We haven’t been to a street fair or festival for awhile. I think we’re due.

    Greasy fair food is always the best. 🙂 Not sure I’m interested in the deep fried Twinkie though, I tend to stay with the classics, french fries smothered in vinegar, onion rings, boring, I know. 🙂 My husband does want to try a deep fried pickle though so who knows, maybe I’ll discover a new favorite?

  • Kate

    Great tips! Especially about expectations. That has been one important lesson my husband and I have both learned as we try to continue our adventures now with a baby. Now I always make sure we are on the same page! I love the photo of Dek in the mouth of the fish.

  • 365ThingsToDoInBright

    My tip for going to festivals with young children? If you want to see the fireworks, don’t go until early evening. Otherwise the kids will get bored and cranky before the fireworks are anywhere near ready to begin.

  • Cathy

    Looks like heaps of fun! I don’t tend to go to places like that with my kids in tow…maybe I should rethink?

  • Drivelology

    Stunning photos. And fantastic tips! It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a street fair.

  • Theresa

    I love street fairs! You took some great shots. The food looks soooo good!

  • Steve

    I’m not so sure about getting on a roller coaster that was just unloaded from the back of a truck, but the rest of these ideas seem pretty solid. Great to see Dek having such a good time too. Does he sample the fair food at all yet?

  • Paula J

    Fair food is the best! I’ve never tried I fried Twinkie, but I can imagine how wonderful it is!!

    Happy WW and thanks for linking up!

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