The San Diego County Fair is back in business this year. While you're thinking about the Ferris wheel, fried food and demonstrations you've missed, don't overlook these 6 essential items for a safe and healthy day on the midway.
1. Hygiene essentials
The fair may be back, but COVID-19 never left. Be sure to bring a face covering for crowded indoor areas and hand sanitizer for when you aren't able to wash your hands.
2. Comfortable shoes
You're going to do a lot of walking. Comfortable, close-fitting shoes with a cushion sole and good arch protection are a safe bet - flip-flops are not. Even with the best footwear, your feet may be sore at the end of the day. Treat them as you would after working out.
3. Sun protection
Even on overcast days, sun protection is a must. Dr. Catherine Sundsmo, a family medicine doctor with Sharp Rees-Stealy Del Mar, recommends that you bring sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and reapply it often to exposed parts of your body, including the back of the neck, arms, legs and tops of the feet. Wearing a broad-brimmed hat can protect the top of your head and provide shade on your face as you are walking around the fair.
All of that walking, snacking and fair fun can leave you dehydrated, especially on a warm sunny day. Bring a reusable water bottle for each person in your group, and refill it throughout the day.
5. Healthy snacks (even if you plan to splurge)
Fair food is notoriously less-than-healthy. A deep-fried splurge once a year isn't terrible, but think about some healthier choices, too. Pack granola bars or small snack items that don't need refrigeration to keep you satisfied throughout the long day.
"When you do eat at the fair, strive to make healthy choices," says Dr. Sundsmo. "Choose corn on the cob or grilled meat instead of the deep-fried foods or heavily sugary treats. If you do want to indulge, have a small treat, such as an ice-cream cone, or split something bigger with a friend."
6. Comfort items
A long day at the fair can be exhausting, but especially for small children and those who have not been in crowded public areas for many months. Be sure to build quiet time and rest breaks into your day. The sights, smells and sounds can also be a distraction for children with sensory processing disorders. Pack a small comfort blanket, stuffed animal or toy that is familiar and can be easily carried to soothe a tired and cranky tyke.
The rules of the fair this year are understandably different, and by following them, we can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Admission tickets and parking passes are limited and need to be purchased online in advance. No ticket sales will be available at the event. Learn more on the San Diego County Fair website.