You're at the state fair gates at the crack of dawn Sunday, you get your armband at 8, and now you've got nine-plus hours to while away until you and 11,999 of your new best friends get in to see Justin Bieber (or until your daughter's ready to come home). Here are five things not to miss while counting down the minutes until Hurricane Justin hits Timonium.
Midway rides There's a brand new roller coaster, the Riptide, and old favorites like the bumper cars (regrettably uncomfortable for anyone over 6 feet) and the funhouse, complete with rotating cylinder. But best of all is the Waveswinger, a giant circular swing that sends riders flying out over the fair parallel to the ground. Added fun: everything on the ride is written in German, so you'll probably have no idea what you're riding.
Footsie Wootsie Scattered throughout the fairgrounds, these colorful gizmos provide foot massages for only a quarter. After a few hours on your feet, you'll need several of these.
Bulk candy Inside the exhibition hall, there's any kind of candy you could want. Here's why it's so great: they've got saltwater taffy separated by flavors, so you can enjoy all the vanilla you want without having to throw away the peppermint. Available flavors include raspberry, banana, lemon, cotton candy, "cococnut" (OK, so spelling isn't their strong point) and maple.
Silly prizes. Spend lots of money on the midway skill games, in pursuit of dumb-looking prizes you'll never look at again. May we suggest the giant plush pigs, which can be won by breaking a beer bottle by throwing a ball. You get three tries, and need to break two. Only $5!
Soft crab sandwich. No disrespect to the hot dogs, cotton candy and stuff fried in ways that ought to be illegal, but here's the best food deal at the fair: a soft crab sandwich from the Maryland seafood stand. Two soft crabs, on a roll with tartar sauce, lettuce and tomato, for $8. That's celebrating Maryland.