When you add up the cost of admission, food, rides and games, a trip to the State Fair of Texas (Friday-Oct. 22) can end up being a pricey experience.
Thankfully, there are several ways to score discounts at the fair and put money back in your pocket for more important things (like an extra order of Tater Twisters). Although most promotions involve admission ($14-$18 per person at the gate), there are also a few ways to save on food and rides.
Opening Day discounts
If you’re willing to brave the throngs of eager North Texans who turn out each year for the first day of the fair, you can score discounts.
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Military Appreciation Day
This year’s opening-day festivities of the State Fair will coincide with Texas Military Appreciation Day. On Sept. 29, all active military, retired military, and veterans will receive free admission when they present valid documentation of military service at the gate. So will spouses of service men and women with a valid Military Spouse ID and accompanying children under the age of 18.
Fairgoers who bring a full 20-ounce bottle of Dasani water (or any 20-ounce Coca-Cola product) to donate to the North Texas Food Bank will receive $10 admission on opening day. Limit one donation per person. Discount may not be combined with any other offers.
Special Day Discounts
Skip the weekend crowds and plan a weekday trip to the fair to take advantage of multiple discount opportunities.
Dr Pepper Tuesdays
The next time your drinking a can of Dr Pepper, don’t trash it. Keep it. Fairgoers who bring an empty can of Dr Pepper on Tuesdays receive $6 admission. Limit one can per person. Discount may not be combined with any other offers.
North Texas Food Bank Wednesdays
Want to donate to a good cause, while also scoring a major discount on fair admission? All you have to do is bring four cans of food to donate to the North Texas Food Bank on Wednesdays and in return you’ll receive $4 admission. Limit one donation (4 cans) per person. Discount may not be combined with any other offers.
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Similar to the Dr Pepper Tuesdays promotion, fairgoers who bring an empty 20-ounce bottle of any Coca-Cola product on Thursdays will receive $7 admission. Limit one bottle per person. Discount may not be combined with any other offers.
Senior citizens (age 60 and older) who stop by the fair on Thursdays will receive free admission. Discount may not be combined with any other offers.
First Responders Day
On Oct. 13, a Friday, the State Fair of Texas will honor all current and retired first responders (including public law enforcement officers, firefighters, paramedics and employees of other emergency services agencies) with free admission when they a present a valid badge or ID card from their department or organization.
The promotion also extends to first responder family members (limit three people). Valid documentation must be presented at the gate.
Score promotions and discounts no matter which day of the week you visit the fair.
Download the DART GOPass to buy discounted general admission ($16) and child/senior tickets ($12). Tickets are then scanned off your mobile device at the gate.
Stop by your local Kroger to purchase discounted general admission tickets ($16.50) and season passes ($34.95). Tickets can be purchased at the checkout counter or at the service desk. Each season pass includes one single-day, bring-a-friend ticket (good for use Monday-Friday). To find a Kroger near you, visit www.kroger.com.
McDonald’s locations across North Texas will be handing out discount coupons on tray liners and bag stuffers. Coupons can be redeemed for $5 off a general admission ticket or half off a children’s ticket (with purchase of a general admission ticket). Limit one coupon per person. Discount may not be combined with any other offers.
Ride and Food Discounts
Get your thrills at a discount Tuesdays when the price of most midway rides is reduced. The promotion excludes the Thrillway and the Texas Star.
Eat to your heart’s content Thursdays when the fair offers special pricing on select food items, including fair classics like corny dogs, cotton candy and funnel cakes. Participating food vendors also will be offering discounts on a signature menu items, ranging from mini versions to regular-size items.
You know it's State Fair of Texas time when Big Tex is set into position at the north end of the Midway in Dallas. The Fair opens Friday, September 29. Paul Moseleypmoseley@star-telegram.com