Note: This post has been updated to reflect 2018 discounts.
Like some of our favorite occasions, the State Fair of Texas comes just once a year. But between the tempting foods and classic rides, the annual festivities can burn a hole in your pocket.
Single-day tickets are $18 for adults at the gate. And then you have to pay actual money for state fair currency (coupons). And trying all of the new fried food isn’t cheap.
But there are ways to enjoy the spoils of the state fair while still saving money. Use these financially savvy tips to plan your trip.
- Buy tickets online instead of waiting in line. It saves time and money, $1.50 per ticket to be exact.
- Buy tickets from the DART app for a $2 discount on single-day tickets for adults, seniors and children.
- Buy tickets in advance at Kroger. General admission tickets are $16.50, and a season pass is $39.99 (regularly $45). Purchase them at checkout or the service desk.
- Get discount coupons at McDonald’s locations throughout North Texas on tray liners and bag stuffers. Bring your coupon to the gate and save $5 off general admission and half off for kids.
- Bring an empty can of Dr Pepper to the gate after 5 p.m. any day of the fair and receive half-price admission.
- Go to the fair in a large group, be it your family, friends or co-workers. The fair offers discounted tickets for groups as small as 20 people. Your group can attend the fair for as low as $10 per person. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214-565-2979.
- Sign up for the state fair’s newsletter to get the latest discounts as they’re announced. (Sign up at the bottom of the fair's homepage.)
- Opening Day, Sept. 28. Bring a full 20 oz. bottle of Dasani water or any 20 oz. Coca-Cola product to donate to the North Texas Food Bank. You’ll get into the fair for $9.
- Military Appreciation Day, Sept. 28. All active military, retired military and veterans receive free admission when they present valid documentation of military service at the gate. Spouses with a valid Military Spouse ID and their children under 18 also receive free admission.
- First Responders Day, Oct. 12. All active and retired public law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics and members of other emergency services agencies will go through the gate for free when they present a valid badge or ID card from their department or organization and get up to three admission tickets for their family members.
- Tuesdays in October. On Oct. 2, 9 and 16 bring an empty Dr Pepper can and receive $9 admission. Also, most rides in the Midway are reduced price on these Tuesdays.
- Wednesdays in October. On Oct. 3, 10 and 17, bring four cans of food to donate to the North Texas Food Bank and receive $4 admission. There’s a limit of one, four-can donation per person.
- Thursdays in October. On Oct. 4, 11 and 18, bring an empty 20 oz. bottle of any Coca-Cola product and receive $9 admission.
- Coca-Cola Thrifty Thursdays Program. Every Thursday of the fair, save on several food items, from corny dogs to cotton candy. Most items are between two and seven coupons.
- Senior Days. On Thursdays in October (Oct. 4, 11 and 18), senior citizens 60 years and older get into the fair for free.
The State Fair of Texas runs from Sept. 28 through Oct. 21. Pro tip: Save your coupons for the fair next year; they don't expire.
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