Monday, December 5, 2022 Dec 5, 2022
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Arts & Entertainment

How to Save Money at the State Fair of Texas: The 2022 Edition

This year, we will not go broke at the State Fair of Texas.
By Alice Laussade |
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Bret Redman

Big Tex has a talent for coaxing your dollars into his Texas-sized wallet. But we’re here to make sure that when you hop off the DART bus and head to the admission booth at the State Fair of Texas, you’re never paying full price.

Here’s your guide to saving money at the fair on everything from admission to corny dogs. (If you plan to put ketchup on your corny dog, don’t read the rest of this, because it’s not for you. You’re a monster.)

Opening Day

Peanut butter (no jelly) time: Opening day only, bring two jars of peanut butter to donate to the North Texas Food Bank and receive $10 admission at the gate. This discount is only available in person, at the gate, because donating peanut butter through your computer is incredibly messy.

Every Day

Get a fake ID that says you’re 2 years old or younger and get into the fair for free! The State Fair of Texas offers free admission every day of the fair for children ages 2 and younger. 

Find a friend who has a kid, because they probably got a free fair ticket at school. The State Fair of Texas gives away more than 2 million free student and teacher ticket vouchers every year. Surely you can find yourself one before it hits the dumpster.

Everyone pays kid’s admission price after 5 p.m. If you can wait until 5:01 p.m., you can get a ticket to the fair for the same price as your kid. Any night of the week, all visitors receive reduced general admission after 5 p.m., thanks to Oncor.

First responder discount: The State Fair is thanking first responders with a discount honoring 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.

Military appreciation discount: 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 servicemen and women with a valid military spouse ID and accompanying children under the age of 18 also receive discounted admission.

McDonald’s “hero” discount: Do you regularly eat Big Macs, like a real American? If you know the number of the combo you order by heart and ask for it with no substitutions, the State Fair is here to honor you with the same discount they’re giving first responders and veterans. 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).

Go with 24 friends, and you can get discounted group tickets for as low as $13 per person. The State Fair of Texas offers discounted group tickets starting for groups as small as 25.

Big Tex thinks that a season pass is cheaper than buying a day pass, but like your mom at Christmas, he assumes you’re planning to see him every single day for three weeks straight. 2022 season passes are now available for only $50, which includes 24-day admission as well as a variety of special VIP benefits.

Premium admission two-pack combo for $98: Yes, $98 is steep for tickets, but hear me out: if you want to stick to a budget, getting these premium admission one-day tickets that come with $50 in food and ride coupons can help you walk out of the fair only spending $98 for two people, which is cheaper than anyone else has ever made it out of the fair in all of American history. Plus, the benefit of the premium ticket is that it can be used on any one day of the fair you’d like. So, you don’t have to plan far in advance or create a spreadsheet to get yourself a good deal. Head to BigTex.com/Tickets for more information.

Big Tex Insider: Sign up to become a Big Tex Insider and get the latest ticket discounts emailed to you, including super-exclusive savings on tickets released each week of the fair. Insiders also receive first access to pre-sales, information on every show and State Fair attraction, discounted merchandise from the Big Tex store, and a special message from Big Tex on your birthday.

Monday-Thursday:

Monday through Thursday, adult daily one-day admission tickets are only $15, and child daily one-day admission tickets are only $10. (But keep reading, because this is a good deal for Mondays, but you’ll find better deals for Tuesday through Thursday below.)

Tuesdays:

Thrilling Tuesdays: Most rides are offered at a reduced price on Tuesdays, so you can barf up a fried charcuterie board for less. You’re welcome.

Tuesdays and Thursdays:

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.

Wednesdays:

$5 Wednesdays: Big Tex will let you in the door to his fried food wonderland for just $5 every Wednesday if you bring him five canned food items for the North Texas Food Bank. And don’t forget, every Wednesday morning at the fair is sensory-friendly.

Thursdays:

HEY, OLDS. Every Thursday, senior citizens 60 years and older receive half-price admission to the fair and get admission for only $5.

Thrifty Thursdays: Once you’re inside the fair, participating food vendors offer one of their signature menu items at a reduced price every Thursday, ranging from mini versions to regular-size items. This is also where some of the concessionaires will try out a new menu idea for next year to see if it sticks. Here’s a handy map and a list of 85 foods you can get at a discount on every Thrifty Thursday at the fair.

Other ways to save:

BYO food and (non-alcoholic) beverages. Do you have dietary restrictions? Or, would you pretend you have dietary restrictions in order to save yourself from having to spend $40 on a Big Tex-branded bottle of water? You can bring your own food. It’s totally fine. You can even bring a cooler or an ice chest. Just don’t bring any alcohol, glass containers, or metal knives and forks. It’s the fair, not a seven-course dinner.

Take the DART. For the love of everything holy, take the DART to the fair and save yourself a ton of money and time.

Ride your bike! Bicycle racks are located inside Gates 5, 6, and 11.

Make your mom park at the fair. She’ll pay at least $20 and will have to walk forever miles, but you ride free!

Hit the ATM before you arrive. Sure, the fair has ATMs, but the service fees are as high as the ones at The Lodge. Nobody makes that mistake twice. Get your cash out before you show up. (Personal checks cannot be cashed on the fairgrounds, Grandma.)

Enjoy the fair, y’all. We hope you make out with a corny dog and smile whilst puking on the tilt-a-whirl, just like you always dreamed.

Author

Alice Laussade

Alice Laussade

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