Buying Smart at the State Fair

We’ve waited patiently all summer, and the state fairs in Alaska, Oregon and Washington are almost here!  Cotton candy anyone?  Whether you’re looking forward to the cute farm animalsFerris Wheel for Blog, exciting rides, or the delicious food, the state fair is arguably one of the best parts of summer.  And who could forget the live concerts featuring names such as Jason Derulo and Keith Urban?  My personal favorite at the fair are the elephant ears!  The fair offers something for everyone, especially shoppers looking to snag some great deals from local vendors.

Many of us will make an entire day out of the fair.  With so much to see and do, how could you fit it all in a few hours?  You might find yourself in the commercial vendors section of the fair, where you will see an overwhelming amount of products to purchase.  Before you make any purchases at the fair, keep these smart buying tips in mind:

  • Do your research. With a smart phone, look up a company’s BBB Business Review on
  • Make sure you know the company’s refund and exchange policy before you buy. If possible, get the policy in writing.
  • Know where the company is located.  Ask for the company’s physical location and telephone number, in case you need to return or exchange an item after the fair.
  • If time allows, shop around first so you can compare prices. Keep in mind that the least expensive item may not always be the best value.
  • Don’t be pressured to buy on the spot. After the demonstration or sales pitch, take some time to think about whether or not you are getting a good deal and if the purchase is necessary.
  • Ask the vendor if a sale price will be honored after the fair or event. If so, you will not feel pressured to purchase the item “on the spot.”
  • Be familiar with the limits of the “cooling-off rule.” It’s important to note that the FTC’s “Cooling-off Rule,” which allows people three days to cancel a purchase, does not apply to the following purchases at fairs: Purchases under $25, insurance, securities, real estate, motor vehicles, or arts and crafts.

Be sure to check out our Facebook and Instagram pages for the latest updates and consumer alerts. If you see a vendor at the fair displaying their BBB Accreditation seal, take a picture and send it to us at to be featured on our Facebook page for Find the Seal Friday (#FTSF).

Here are the state fair dates:

  • Alaska: Aug. 27 – Sept. 7
  • Oregon: Aug. 28 – Sept. 7
    Washington: Sept. 11 – Sept. 27

Enjoy the fair and stay safe!