The State Fair of Texas is in mid-whirl, and budget-minded fairgoers may be scrambling to find the cheapest deals and best days to save. Each year, local schoolchildren get free admission tickets to the fair, but that’s not the only cheap way to get inside the fairgrounds. Here are 10 other ways to get into the fair for cheap before it shuts down for the year Oct. 22.
First Responder’s Day
Friday, Oct. 13
Friday the 13th is be a lucky day for first responders at the State Fair of Texas. The fair is offering free admission for active and retired public law enforcement servants, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency service workers as a thanks for their service and dedication. Each first responder must present a valid badge or ID card at the gate for verification to gain free admission for him- or herself and up to three family members.
Friday, Oct. 13, and Friday, Oct. 20
Non-first responders can still save a few bucks Friday, Oct. 13, and Friday, Oct. 20, with a free, printable coupon good for $5 off general admission available on the 106.1 KISS-FM website. Regular-priced general admission tickets at the gate cost $18, and guests can present their coupons at the ticket booth to get in for $13. However, the KISS coupon is not good with other offers, meaning the savings can’t be stacked. Darn.
Cruz and the KISS-FM crew will broadcast live Oct. 13, and fairgoers are invited to stop by the KISS tent from 7-10 p.m. for a chance to win prizes, KISS-FM swag and more.
Dr Pepper Discounts
$6 admission Tuesday, Oct. 17; half-price admission any day
Dr Pepper drinkers can bring an empty Dr Pepper soda can to get $6 access to the state fair Tuesday, Oct. 17. The discount is limited to one can per person and cannot be stacked with other offers. But the savings continue with Tuesday discounts extending onto the Midway, where most rides, excluding the Texas Star and Thrillway, will be operating at reduced rates.
Not available Tuesday? Dr Pepper lovers can get in on the savings by bringing their empty Dr Pepper cans to the ticket booth after 5 p.m. any day of the fair for half-price admission.
North Texas Food Bank Drive
Wednesday’s visitors will get a fair deal because Kroger, KXAS-TV (NBC 5) and the State Fair of Texas have joined forces to offer a $4 entrance fee for thrill seekers who show up with four cans of food that can be donated to the North Texas Food Bank. In an effort to assist the food bank to end hunger in the region, the bargain price is available each Wednesday of the 2017 fair.
It’s a free-for-all Thursdays at the State Fair of Texas. That’s when seniors 60 and older get free admission to the fair, which makes qualifying for a senior citizen discount even sweeter.
Popping in for a Happy Meal on the way to the state fair has its perks. And we’re not just talking chicken nuggets and fries. McDonald’s customers can snag a paper tray liners with a coupon good for a half-price child’s ticket (with purchase of general admission), or they can opt for $5 off a general admission ticket. The coupon is valid any day. And we’re lovin’ it.
Coca-Cola Thrifty Thursdays
On Thursdays, guests who bring empty, 20-ounce Coke bottles to the State Fair of Texas can stroll along the Midway for $7. The special offer is limited to one discount per person and cannot be stacked with other offers, but the savings don't stop there. Other Coca-Cola discounts on foods such as cotton candy and funnel cakes are also available during Thrifty Thursdays from participating vendors throughout the fairgrounds. Fair foods typically cost between two and seven coupons.
State fairgoers can get double savings by using DART. Here’s how: First, tickets can be purchased from the DART GoPass app at the rates of $16 for general admission and $12 for children and seniors. Visitors can also buy DART passes to the fair from the app and save the $15 parking fee. A DART station is at the front gate of Fair Park, and another is near gate six. The DART pass and fair tickets are stored on a phone, where they're ready for getting into the fairground.
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NorthPark Center and the State Fair of Texas have joined forces to help the Hurricane Harvey relief effort by offering discounted general admission fair tickets. Proceeds will go to The Salvation Army Texas and the American Red Cross.
“NorthPark invites the Dallas-Fort Worth community to support South Texas by purchasing advanced tickets to the Fair for $15 ($3 off the price of admission at the gate),” the mall's website says. “Five dollars from each ticket will be given directly to relief efforts. Tickets are available now through Sunday, October 22, 2017, at the NorthPark Concierge, located on Level One near Neiman Marcus.”
Ordering in Advance and Online
Discounted tickets can also be purchased in advance and online. Those buying online can save $1.50 per ticket, which translates into more money for fair food. And they can skip the line and head straight for the corn dog. Kroger and Walgreens stores also offer a $1.50 discount, and tickets can be purchased at the checkout or the service desk.
For even deeper discounts, it pays to be a friend; groups of 20 or more are eligible for savings of up to 33 percent, and each State Fair of Texas season pass includes a bring-a-friend-free coupon.