6 Ways To Stay Safe At Big Events

As a rule I avoid crowds and big venues but I make an exception for Canton Trade Days and the State Fair of Texas. Usually I go prepared for large events, but I flubbed this time and learned a lesson about winging it. (Don't.)

The State Fair of Texas has come and gone. They say it's the biggest fair in the US. Over two million people attended this year despite a couple of weeks of heavy rains.

Thanks to a dear friend who gave us tickets, we went twice. :)

After our first visit, I realized that we were ill prepared, so we upped our game and planned ahead for our second visit.

Here are six tips that really helped us stay safe.
  • Carry pre-moistened towelettes. We didn't have any the first time and we had to find a bathroom before eating our turkey legs so we could wash our hands. They were handy for after the turkey leg too.
  • Mark your position on your cell phone's GPS map. The fairgrounds for the Fair are HUGE. Beyond huge. The fairgrounds itself is 277 acres, but getting to the parking area is probably twice that if you didn't get a good parking spot. We got lost the first time because we thought we would remember our parking lot. We didn't. It took us 45 minutes to find our car.
  • Carry a bottle of water. Some places don't allow you to carry food or drink, but the fair did. Once our water was gone, I kept the bottle for a while and refilled it at a drinking fountain.
  • Know your spending limits. We got free tickets to enter, but everything else costs an arm and a leg.
  • Get a map of the layout of the venue. If there are no maps, give yourself some landmarks so you can get back to familiar ground. Can't remember your landmarks? Take a picture.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. I cannot stress this enough. Back when I used to go to writing or book conferences, I wore gym shoes regardless of what else I was wearing. Sure, the women in heels looked stylish, but I'll bet they were grumbling about their feet at the end of the day.
It doesn't matter if the event is a conference, a flea market, a fair, or a concert. If you're in an area that covers a lot of ground, stay hydrated and keep your hands clean to avoid illness.

We had a wonderful time at the fair. It's always great fun. For the first time, we went up on the Top o’ Texas Tower, 500 feet in the air. It gives you a 360 degree view of Dallas. Greg loved it, but I had butterflies in my stomach to be up so high.

Another neat attraction was the Midway Barker. You can't imagine all the things that went through my head when I saw him. I had to Google him, and no, he's not half a man. It's all an optical illusion and a darn good one.

How often do you deal with crowds? Have you gone to any big events this year?

Have you ever lost your car in a parking lot?


jacabur1 said…
Wow, Maria twice sounds like either a lot of fun or a lot of work but also worth the effort to get out and see new sights.

In answer to your queries: "How often do you deal with crowds?" Not often anymore, sensory overload plus inability to get out much due to either heat or past few months rain has curtailed trips for me for most of this summer.

"Have you gone to any big events this year?" Again the answer is No, really none around that interested me enough to try anyway.

"Have you ever lost your car in a parking lot?" Yes, and it was not pleasant because when did so was at a Mall in Austin years back. I walked out of a different part of the store came into the shopping areas and thought the car was stolen for awhile when could not find it for first 30 minutes or so. Then calmed down and on next try went outside correct door and it was right where I thought it should be, panic attack for nothing that time luckily.
Maria Zannini said…
Jackie: I don't blame you for panicking. I have nightmares that my car has been stolen. Fortunately, we drive only peasant vehicles now. LOL.

Re: a lot of work
Actually, we were so prepared the second time, it was a breeze. We knew where everything was and we focused on the things we didn't do the first time.

Amazingly, we had good weather both days. We probably picked the only two non-rainy days in the whole 3 weeks of the fair.
Sounds like fun - the second day, anyway. :)

I tend to struggle with finding the line between preparing and over-preparing, but I relax the more I know going into something. It's not always possible, but it helps, especially regarding crowds.
Stacy McKitrick said…
Big events or big places? Went to Busch Gardens, Universal Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Disney's Hollywood Studios (all separate days, of course). I about walked my poor feet to nubs (okay, not that bad, but they sure hurt!). No lost cars, though.

Although, back in the 70s I drove my little silver Subaru to Magic Mountain (now Six Flags). Seemed like EVERYONE owned a little silver car back then. Took us forever to find that thing. Now I like my cars to be memorable either in size or color! Plus, we now take a picture of where we parked the car. :)
Jenny Schwartz said…
Congrats on picking non-rainy days :) I can cope with crowds, but don't like wet crowds! I'm so short that if I used an umbrella I'd poke people's eyes out.
Maria Zannini said…
Madeline: Oh, the first day was great fun--up until we had to look for the car. LOL!
Maria Zannini said…
Stacy: We kept hitting the chime on the key fob to see if our car would answer. :D

We even made note of our landmarks, but man, it was a HUGE parking area that surrounded the entire 277 acres of the fair.
Maria Zannini said…
Jenny: I'm in the same boat! That's why I try to avoid crowds. There's not much air after the tall people block out the air circulation. :)
Michael Keyton said…
The last really big food event I went to in terms of American scale, was the Chicago Food Fair some decades ago. Things are on a much smaller scale here, so not much preparation is necessary, though I do have a tendency to wander towards the wrong car, much to Bernadette's amusement. Thought you might be interested in a Chrismas Food Fair we're going to in late Novermber/ December.

Maria Zannini said…
Mike: I have never been to a food event. I've wanted to, but the crowds always kept me away.

Although, I might make an exception if it were at a castle. :)