Thursday, September 19, 2013

Your Country Living Fair Survival Guide


Here are my top 11 tips for making the most of your Country Living Fair Experience:

1. Dress in layers. Last year, I wore a long-sleeved navy dress and leggings and melted the entire day. This year, I dressed for warmer weather and froze my tush off most of the time, especially in the morning when the fair opened. I'd recommend leggings, jeans, or a long skirt, a lightweight scarf, a short-sleeved T or dress under a sweater, and some Chucks or cowboy boots. With that combo, you should fit right in.

If this mannequin from Stash Style had on a top and some boots,
it would be perfect. Looks like the top got blown off after the fembot boobs discharged. 
2. Carry cash. And lots of it. Many vendors don't take credit, and the ATM in the venue asks you to relinquish your first born before it will give you any money out of your account.

3. Explore every nook and cranny. Leave no booth unturned. For instance, my mom, digging through one booth I had skipped over, discovered a sugar jar exactly like the one I have at home, which I purchased at Goodwill for our first apartment when I was 25 for $1.00. Turns out, one of the vendors was selling said sugar jar (which actually looks like someone's project from pottery class, if you ask me) for $120!! Thank goodness I didn't send it back to Goodwill like I had planned.

Yes, I have two sugar jars. The little one is for the brown sugar we put in our coffee.
If you don't do this, you are thoroughly missing out. 
4. Spend the night and explore the city. Columbus has an awesome food scene, with some really quaint areas in the city worth your time. Eat, drink, and explore. Shopping with a hangover is awesome.

5. Buy a Ya Ya Cart. With a cute liner. Then, bring a friend who doesn't really like to shop or your husband and have that person mosey along with the cart while you duck in and out of the booths (maneuvering a cart through the booths, especially on Saturday, is like trying to drive a 1975 Caprice Classic station wagon in New York City during rush hour).

Via Modern June
6. Start in the antique section, and then make your way over to the crafts/housewares/jewelry/etc. The craft vendors, located in the market field, tend to have a decent amount of stock. If you miss your Holy Grail in the antique section, you miss it forever. That said, I like to browse before I make my purchase decisions. Unless, that is, I know I will wither away and die without a particular item.

7. If you have to choose a day, go on Sunday. Much less crowded than Saturdays (some shoppers on Saturday were absolute jerks, seriously. It never fails to amaze me how some people believe they don't have to wait in line like everybody else). Sunday is much more laid-back and relaxed, and you can actually get into the majority of the booths to look around without being trampled upon.

8. Eat from the quirky food trucks and skip the regular humdrum fair fare. The Sweet Carrot truck at this year's fair had the most delicious food I have tasted in a long while. The smoky brisket on sweet corncake, topped with an acidic slaw and corn salsa that cut through the mellower flavors, was out of this world (top it with Sriracha sauce, which they provide in abundance). Also, you must, must, must try Jeni's Ice Cream, especially the Salty Caramel and the Lemon Blueberry frozen yogurt. Get to Sweet Carrot early and Jeni's late (btw, Jeni's has a flavor you can order online right now called "Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk." What the what?!?!! That sounds sooooo good).


9. Park in the back lot, on the side farthest from the Ohio History Center. Otherwise, you should bring hiking boots, a sherpa, and a canteen.

10. Wheel and deal. Especially late on Sunday. Almost everything is marked down then (they really don't want to pack it all back up. Some vendors even sell their display racks, tables, etc. for a steal). Pillows that were $40 sell for $20. You get the idea.

11. Finally, stay until 4:00 on Sunday. When they begin to dismantle the Country Living displays, all of the plants are sold off at bargain basement prices. Three mums for $5.00! Corn stalks galore. You could outfit your entire estate for the harvest season with very little extra cash.

Put this event on your 2014 bucket list. You won't be disappointed.
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