When I first moved to Ephrata, I had no idea what all the Ephrata Fair included. I knew about the street fair, but I was only just learning about everything else—the exhibits, the kiddie tent and petting zoo and even the baby parade.
I remember the first year I toured the fair building and the Firehall during the fair. I was amazed at all the exhibits. I loved seeing the various canned good items, arts and crafts, photography, flower arrangements and legos and models. It was even more exciting when I learned that you could actually earn money for winning, too! This inspired me to try something new the next year, and enter it in the fair!
The next year I entered my first exhibit—my very first jar of canned applesauce. And wouldn’t you know, I won first place!? My winnings paid for the apples I bought for that small batch of applesauce I made! I was ecstatic!!
So the next year, I worked with my three-year-old to make some crafts and artwork to enter in the fair. I also entered some photography, as did my husband. I think we made about $25 that year in our prize winnings.
And that’s when we had this brilliant idea! We’ll use our winnings each year to pay for our fair food!
We did have a young family, and we didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend on the fair, so this was the perfect solution for us. And when we told some of our friends about our idea, they were inspired to do the same!
Now that our kids are a little older, and earning more money for their entries, we revised the idea—and it worked perfect this year!
1. The kids prize money goes to their savings.
2. Mom and Dad MATCH their prize money, to pay for our fair food.
3. Whatever we don’t spend on food, is divided between the kids to spend on games, or rides, whichever they choose. (We advise them in how their dollar is best stretched, but let them make the final choice.)
4. Mom and Dad’s prize money is used to pay the kids for their fair food and games. We love this because it motivates my husband and I to try new things and enter crafts, art, canned goods, baked goods, nuts and veggies, and photos each year. The better we do, the less we have to spend out of pocket to reimburse the kids prize money! (Because its starting to add up!)
Here are some really unique exhibits we found that I just couldn’t NOT share with you! We love to look at the detail and consider the time spent on each item.
If you don’t live in Ephrata, visit the webpage for your local fair—here’s a listing of Lancaster County Fairs & Festivals—and find out what exhibits you and your family can enter!
What unique ideas does your family implement to pay for things that would normally be out of your budget? I’d love to hear your ideas!