I’d considered writing about a different topic today, but a recent comment made me rethink my situation.
Now I’m wondering, how is your community doing with providing cheaper activities to the families in your area? Have you seen a change in this, or are things remaining the same?
I have to say, I miss California in some respects, particularly when it comes to weekend activities and events.
Where we lived, the community really provided wonderful and free activities to the residents – and if they weren’t free, they were affordable. The city put on things like movies and music in the park and festivals that you could attend for free.
In our new location in the southeast, this just isn’t the case – and it is kind of a surprise, considering our town is smaller and there are a high number of residents here living closer to the poverty level than did in our last community in California.
Take a recent festival. I took the kids up on Sunday so my husband could spend some quiet time working at home, and when I arrived was surprised to see a sign announcing an admittance fee. Luckily the fee was only for Friday and Saturday, so we didn’t have to pay, but the cost was what I considered a lot – $5 for each person – for just walking around and looking at a few booths, testing some ice cream or snow cones, and then paying more money for the kids to slide down a slide or ride the swings. There were not entertainment venues set up, so nothing that I could really understand paying to see. The booths themselves were okay, some featured handmade crafts and jewelry, but there weren’t many booths. Had I paid $15 to get in, I would have been highly disappointed. For a family of four, $20 is a lot – not to mention the extra money for the tickets and treats. This was not a big event, either. In terms of festivals, it was quite small.
This weekend the town is putting on a great music on the water program. Two hours long, and the charge – another whopping $10! Back in California we went to these events for free. It’s tough to believe that a family of four will spend $40 to hear music for two hours. To me, it’s not worth the money.
So it made me wonder what other communities are doing to keep activities going and families busy while not breaking the bank. If we were to attend that festival last weekend and we had to pay admittance and then this music on Sunday, we’d be spending close to one hundred dollars for just two days – about 5 hours – of activities!
I know I’m frugal, but I’m guessing that even those of you who do spend a bit more money without flinching would find that fee high.
If you are involved with supporting or planning activities for families in your community, how are you cutting the costs so everyone can enjoy a day out?
If you are attending events in your community, are they charging a fee? If so, do you feel the fee is reasonable and how do you determine what you will attend and what you will pass on for next time?
The good news: Our beaches here – free – while in California we had to pay for parking.
Our park here – free – so we spend quite a bit of time there.
Library – has added a great story time – another free event we enjoy each week.
Picnics are, of course, always free (minus the cost of the food), as is hiking, biking, walking, and tossing a frisbee in the park.