My family and I visited the 2010 Utah State Fair for the first time on Sunday, September 12, 2010. We found the Fairgrounds with ease, despite the ongoing construction on North Temple in the city. Once we arrived, we found there was plenty of parking available, and we saved two dollars by parking on a private lot instead of parking at the Fairgrounds. Not only that, but the off-site parking was just as close to the Fair as the on-site parking, so it was a win-win situation all around.
The Fairgrounds were clean and welcoming from the minute we walked through the gate. When things got too hot outside, we strolled through air conditioned exhibit halls filled with beautiful photographs, crafts, statues, and more to cool off. There was a decent amount of shade outside as well, which helped make the day enjoyable.
As one would expect at a Fair, there were lots of vendor booths selling everything from hot tubs to belts to t-shirts, and pretty much everything in between. The local country music station had a booth and was giving away prizes, there was a large alligator that was available for viewing for a dollar per person, and of course there were dozens of rides to choose from. I thought that $25 for an unlimited-ride wristband was too pricey, but visitors can also purchase tickets for individual rides for more reasonable rates (cost varied depending upon which ride you wanted to go on).
The food was typical Fair food, including funnel cakes and corn dogs. This year visitors could indulge their sweet tooth by purchasing deep fried delights such as peanut butter and jelly, Twinkies, Snickers bars, Oreos, and new this year – deep fried chocolate covered bacon. I tried the Oreos and was pleasantly surprised; they were hot and not as greasy as I’d feared. There were massive turkey legs for eight dollars that made me feel like Fred Flintstone eating a dinosaur leg, and a steak sandwich that was the same price as the hamburgers but was much tastier. My friend ate some of the barbeque and said it was delicious, and the ice cream was reasonably priced at three dollars a scoop.
We had the delight of listening to the Salt Lake Letter Carrier Band, which played swing, waltz, and patriotic tunes, as well as the Public Domain String Band, which played Appalachian music with a bluegrass feel to it. Both bands were very good and interacted well with the audience, and we enjoyed the opportunity to sit down and eat in the shade with live entertainment.
My children enjoyed going through the agriculture barns, and I was pleased with the level of cleanliness that the exhibitors were maintaining for their exhibits. It’s not every day that my kids get to pet a baby pig or scratch a sheep behind the ears, and they were in awe at the large and well-groomed cows in the barns. I appreciated the hand sanitizer stations so the kids and I could clean up after petting the animals and before we accidentally touched our faces or ate something.
The Sea Lion Splash was very popular, and I recommend getting there at least thirty minutes ahead of time if you want to get a seat in the shade. We ended up sitting on the grass in the sun, but the show was spectacular. The sea lions were well trained and their human counterparts played up their natural sense of humor perfectly. My children talked about this show the entire ride home, and they have been to some of the biggest zoos in the country. It definitely left an impression on them!
We had a great day at the Fair. It was very busy, but the lines for everything were reasonable and we all had a good day. We may go back next weekend, but if not we’ll certainly be returning next year!