I went to a a large curriculum fair today, for the second time in my life. Here are a few tips I have learned, some from others, some the hard way.
If possible, preview the vendors and a map online before the event. Have at least a general idea of items your family will need in the upcoming months and years. Spend some time reviewing the vendor list and familiarizing yourself with their products. Spend a little time looking online at prices so you can recognize a good bargain when you see one.
Bring a friend (or two). It's nice to have someone to chat with on the drive. It's nice to have a sounding board for ideas, or a second opinion. It's nice to have a second pair of eyes looking for that one item you cannot miss. I like to leave the kids at home.
Bring pre-printed mailing labels with your name and address on them. It's nice to have these to stick on forms for mailing lists, instead of writing out all your information over and over.
Know your budget. Bring some cash. If you use a debit card, and you are traveling to the fair, give your bank a call so they don't freeze your card for suspicious activity. Bring a backup credit card or checkbook.
Bring a tote bag or backpack, or rolling crate. You will need something in which to carry all your purchases. If possible, carry some outside to the car sporadically.
Always peruse the used book stalls and ask vendors about scratch and dent books. Ask about bundling. Haggle. Those folks want to carry home as little as possible.
If you can't get what you want at the fair, ask about any deals for ordering at the fair. You may get a hefty discount, or free shipping.
Take your time and have fun!