Tuesday, September 26, 2023 Sep 26, 2023
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Arts & Entertainment

A Guide to Extreme Couponing at the State Fair of Texas

Let us help you save as much money as you possibly can at Fair Park.
By Alice Laussade |
An image of Fair Park during the State Fair of Texas in 2018, with Big Tex in the center and fair-goers walking around.
Bret Redman

Big Tex clips a mean coupon. And so do we. We’re about to help you save money on tickets to the fair so you can spend it on the important State Fair of Texas attractions: food, beer, and dumb.

Before we get started, remember, the cheapest beer at the fair is $3 and you should be able to find that on the midway, and in Cotton Bowl Plaza. And take the DART or an Uber to avoid all that $20 parking.

Now, let’s find your perfect ticket discount. The State Fair kicks off today:

Opening Day:

Did you just find out your kid is allergic to peanut butter? Great! Well, actually not great. But the silver lining is that you can get into the State Fair of Texas if you bring that delicious, delicious poison to the gate and get a discount. One day only. That day is today. So hopefully, you’re reading this today. And not that late in the day. Also, the discount isn’t that big. Listen, there’s not a whole lot of silver lining to this allergy, bud. On Opening Day only, bring two jars of peanut butter to donate to the North Texas Food Bank for a special Opening Day promotional price of $10 admission at the gate. This discount is only available at the gate.

Every Day:

Military Appreciation Day is Every Day of the Fair. All active military, retired military, and veterans save $5 off on weekdays (Monday-Friday) and $7 off on weekends (Saturday-Sunday) when they present valid documentation of military service at the gate or online. Spouses of service men and women with a valid Military Spouse ID and accompanying children under the age of 18 also receive discounted admission.

First Responder discounts exist every single day of the fair. The State Fair would like to thank our country’s first responders by honoring our various active and retired public law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency services agencies. All first responders can save $5 off on weekdays (Monday-Friday) and $7 off on weekends (Saturday-Sunday) when they present a valid badge or ID card from their department or organization at the gate or online, plus up to three discounted admission tickets for their family members.

For every one of the rest of you Lazy McLazyfaces, the same dang discount is available every day of the fair. Only, you have to say, “I’m just lazy, not important,” when you use this discount so the person at the ticket counter doesn’t confuse you for someone who helped the world in any way, shape or form. Deal? Discount coupons are available at participating McDonald’s locations throughout North Texas on tray liners and inside their meal bags. With this coupon, any fairgoer can save $5 off on weekdays (Monday-Friday) and $7 off on weekends (Saturday-Sunday.) ONE COUPON PER PERSON. DISCOUNTS MAY NOT BE COMBINED WITH ANY OTHER OFFERS.

Buy your tickets at Kroger for a discount. Purchase in advance at your local Kroger and get $3 off premium one-day admission tickets or $5 off season passes. They may be purchased at the check-out counter or service desk from September 1, 2021, to October 17, 2021.

Any Weeknight:

This discount is called “Everyone Pays Child’s Price After 5 P.M.!” and to the State Fair of Texas, that means no matter your age, on a weeknight after 5 p.m., your ticket will cost you the same as the price of admission for a kid. To any parent, this phrase is familiar because they’ve been yelling it at 6 p.m. every day their kid skipped a nap since the dawn of time.


During the week, Monday through Thursday, adult daily one-day admission tickets are only $15 and child daily one-day admission tickets are only $10.

Tuesdays and Thursdays:

Chugging Dr Pepper isn’t weird. It’s fine. Dr Pepper Value Days are every Tuesday and Thursday during the Fair when you can purchase your admission ticket online for a reduced price of only $10. Only Big Tex Insiders receive the promotion code, so sign up now at BigTex.com/Insider.


Are you finally ready to share that doomsday prepper canned good stash you built up at the beginning of COVID? “There might be a beans shortage. WHAT IF THERE IS A BEANS SHORTAGE?!” Bring five canned food items any Wednesday during the fair for North Texas Food Bank’s Feed the Need Wednesdays and admission is only $5.


Are you Old AF? Congratulations! You can tell children lies about history and make up old-timey words that make you sound fun, even if you’re not! Also, on Thursdays during the Fair, “senior citizens 60 years and better” get into the Fair for only $5.

Do you have 24 friends? Discounted group tickets are available for groups as small as 25. Get your group through the gates for as low as $13 per person, a savings of more than 55 percent.

Season Passes exist on this earthly plane. Will you go to the fair a billion times? Or—better question—are you a parent who knows your toddler has the attention span of the goldfish crackers she eats? Which is to say, orange? Seeing and experiencing everything (or in your case, potentially anything) at the State Fair in one day is nearly impossible. What is the perfect solution? A State Fair of Texas season pass.  2021 season passes are now available for only $50, which includes 24-day admission as well as a variety of special VIP benefits. If you’re a parent, a season pass is the right answer. Because you know Sally is gonna crap the poop out of her adorable onesie. All the way up her back. And maybe even yours. It’s what they do. So, let’s not kid ourselves with a day pass that’s going to get burned in a hot-fart minute.

Speaking of your kid, if your kid is in school, their teacher gave them a free ticket to the fair. Don’t forget to find that thing and use that thing. And if your kid is 2 years old or younger, they get in free. This is the only recorded benefit of having a 2 year old.

SLIDE INTO BIG TEX’S DM’S AND sign up to become a Big Tex Insider for the latest ticket discounts emailed to you, including super-exclusive savings on tickets released each week of the Fair. “Plus, Big Tex will send you a special message on your birthday!” It’s like Cameo for Olds!

Food Coupons and Ride Coupons:

Thrilling Tuesdays: Most rides are offered at a reduced price on Tuesdays, so you can puke for cheaper. You’re welcome.

Thrifty Thursdays: Participating food vendors offer one of their signature menu items at a reduced price, ranging from mini versions to regular-size items.

Want a free sheet of food and ride coupons? Dallas County Residents are eligible to receive $20 in food and ride coupons from Dallas County if they get their vaccine at the Fair. So, if you’ve waited this long, but only because you’ve been waiting for someone to say “free sheet of coupons,” then YAHTZEE.

Stuff that can save you money and energy that’s allowed into the State Fair of Texas, according to their website:

“A wagon. Small children may be pulled in a wagon.” Is your kid in charge of you? Bring him in a wagon! Why make him walk all the way through the fair like children have done for decades when he can roll through the fair in comfort and style while you juggle a beer, a turkey leg and a Fried Reese’s in one hand. It’ll be character-building. For you.

Do you have dietary restrictions, or general self-respect when it comes to the food you allow into your body? You can bring your own food. It’s totally fine. “Tasting ‘Fair food’ is a big reason why people visit the State Fair of Texas, but if you have any dietary restrictions or other reasons for wanting to bring your own food or beverages, please do. Please note: Alcohol, glass containers, and metal knives and forks are prohibited.” No full throttle tablescapes allowed, so don’t go getting any ideas. Leave the Waterford at home, Janice.

Coolers or Ice Chests. Bring ’em. Not sure there’s any way having a rolling cooler at the fair makes for a more pleasant experience. Unless you fill it with ice and sit in it while drinking lots of fair-bought beers. That might be fun. “Your cooler will be searched as you enter the grounds; please do not bring metal knives, glass containers, or alcoholic beverages.” Again, stop bringing metal knives, people.

Enjoy your time at the fair. We hope you meet the fried food of your dreams and win a giant fluffy teddy bear with the greatest of ease.

The Pro-est of Tips: Your food and ride coupons don’t expire. Dearest reader, did you know that food and ride coupons do not expire? You can use the ones from forever ago, and it’s fine. And if you have extras this year, KEEP ‘EM. Don’t be kind and hand them to a happy fairgoer on your way out the gate. Sure, they’ll smile in the moment and you’ll get a jolt of happiness, too, and you’ll probably go to Heaven. But next year, you’ll be pissed all over again in that coupon line. Save Future You the pissedness. Be stingy.

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