Bring a DIY State Fair to Your Backyard


The Arizona State Fair is a tradition that over one million people enjoy each fall. With nearly 100 rides, tons of food, vendors, and booths, plus animals, competitions, and performances, there’s something for everyone. When the 2020 fair was postponed, I knew I wanted to come up with a DIY State Fair option to try to keep the tradition going.

DIY State Fair Food

One of the highlights of the state fair is the food. Whether you like everything deep fried or prefer the extra special sweet treats, Taste of Home has some DIY State Fair recipe options your family can try out – including corn dogs, deep fried pickles, funnel cakes, caramel apples, flavored lemonade, and much more.

Carnival Games

Even though your DIY State Fair may not be as bright and flashy as the actual fair, there are still ways to bring some of the fun home. Kids of all ages will enjoy the classic duck game, ring toss, bean bag tossknock downdartboard, and skee-ball games – all of which can be ordered on Amazon or are pretty easy to create with items you probably already have around your house. 

For more ideas, check out Carnival Savers. Their game pages include supply lists, set up instructions, and game play rules. 

To take your carnival games to the next level, you could even make or buy prizes tickets. Involve the whole family in making game signs to show how many tickets they could win.

Creating a DIY State Fair prize booth can be as elaborate as you want it to be. Kids love trinkets – here are some optionsLight up toys are always a crowd favorite as the fair transitions to dusk. Extra snuggly stuffed animals are popular prizes. Or, maybe you want to splurge on a giant stuffed animal


After filling your belly and playing some games, it’s time to enjoy the incredible experiences the state fair has to offer.


Maybe it’s because we moved to Arizona from the Midwest, but my family doesn’t leave the fair without stopping by the barns to see the animals. Finding a way to incorporate the barn experience at our DIY State Fair will take some creativity and planning.

My daughter always loves stopping at the Arizona Milk Producers’ table. Even though we can’t visit them in person, you can still learn about the life of a cow in Arizona or tour a dairy farm. Their website even has some fun activities for kids to learn more about dairy farms and foods.

If you’re looking for an in-person opportunity, depending on health conditions, Harmony Farm inside the Phoenix Zoo gives kids an opportunity to learn about cows, horses, chickens, turkeys, sheep, and goats. There are even tractors and equipment to explore.

Another great farm option, located in Mesa, is Superstition Farm. Depending on the health conditions, you may even be able to schedule a farm tour.

Cultural Stage

The Cultural Stage is always one of my family’s first stops. If you remember the names of some of your favorite groups from past visits, you may be able to find their website or a video of one of their performances online.

Face Paint

What’s a visit to the fair without face paint? If you have a child who loves face paint, ask what they wish they could have. A quick search will probably lead you to a tutorial on how to create the look yourself. This kit can help you get started. 


Creating rides at your backyard DIY State Fair may be a little tricky. There’s an option to rent or buy a giant inflatable slide, bounce house, or a backyard kiddie coaster.

If you’re looking for something a little less expensive, virtual rides may a great option. This Ferris wheel ride has a 360 view when you move your screen – pretty cool! There are also tons of virtual reality rides if you search for your carnival favorites.

Bringing a DIY State Fair Home

Whether you’re missing out on the Arizona State Fair or looking for something different to do this fall break, creating your own DIY State Fair can be a great way to spend fall break. Get the whole family involved in planning, creating, and playing!

Note: When you click on a product it’ll redirect you to Amazon using an affiliate link. If you make a purchase after clicking our link, it doesn’t charge you any extra money, but it does send a little commission to SMB as a thank you for referring traffic. This helps us bring you more great content for FREE!


  1. What an awesome idea! We love the fair and I’m so going to miss going this year – but this is fantastic! Thank you!

Comments are closed.