State Fair on the Cheap

How to get every possible discount at the 2019 State Fair of Texas

How to get every possible discount at the 2019 State Fair of Texas

Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas
Big Tex offers discounts galore during the annual State Fair of Texas, taking place September 27-October 20. Photo by Jason Hays

The State Fair of Texas, which starts its 24-day run at Fair Park on September 27, is a fall tradition for many around the Lone Star State.

General admission tickets remain at $18 for adults and $14 for seniors and kids under 48 inches tall. However, you'd be a fool to pass up the multitude of discount ticket options available. With deals being offered by the State Fair and other entities, there's no reason you should ever pay full price.

Below are the many ways we've found for you to save money on tickets to State Fair of Texas:

The season pass
If you plan on going to the fair more than two times, individual season passes are the only way to go. Prices are $45 at the gate, but you can get them for $39.95 at participating Kroger stores or $39 for a digital season pass at BigTex.com. The upfront cost pays for itself on the third visit, which is good, but since everyone knows the two biggest reasons to attend are the food and the rides, you can still do better.

The $115 Season Pass 2-Pack Combo, which includes two season passes and 100 food/ride tickets (worth $50), is a much better deal. Not only will you have the food/ride tickets delivered early to your hot little hands, you're essentially getting a second season pass for only $20 (or two for $65, however you want to look at it). If you don't want the food/ride tickets, you can get two season passes for the $65 price, a huge savings in and of itself. Even better, you can also use the code 19MAPsp10 to get an extra $10 off the Season Pass 2-Pack Combo.

If you have a family of four (or three really good friends), the State Fair is also offering a Season Pass 4-Pack Combo, which includes four season passes and 200 food/drink coupons to share. All of these deals are available only at BigTex.com. (UPDATE: Sales for season pack combos were only available through September 16. Individual season passes are still available online or at the gate.)

The $115 Season Pass 2-Pack Combo, which includes two season passes and 100 food/ride tickets (worth $50), is a much better deal. Not only will you have the food/ride tickets delivered early to your hot little hands, you're essentially getting a second season pass for only $20 (or two for $65, however you want to look at it). If you don't want the food/ride tickets, you can get two season passes for the $65 price, a huge savings in and of itself. Even better, you can also use the code 19MAPsp10 to get an extra $10 off the Season Pass 2-Pack Combo.

If you have a family of four (or three really good friends), the State Fair is also offering a Season Pass 4-Pack Combo, which includes four season passes and 200 food/drink coupons to share. All of these deals are available only at BigTex.com.

All season passes come with extra perks: one bring-a-friend ticket; a State Fair of Texas Reusable Tote Bag; a Buy One Game, Get One Game free at the all-new Flip-a-Chick game; $5 off the 2019 State Fair of Texas Cookbook; and special discounts on official State Fair merchandise.

Buy your ticket in advance
If a season pass is not for you, you still have options to save. Tickets bought in advance through BigTex.com are $1.50 off — but we recommend waiting until DART's GoPass app starts selling tickets on September 10. At $2 off, you'll get an extra 50-cent savings on individual tickets, plus you can also pre-purchase DART tickets to get you to the Fair. The best part is that both the State Fair and DART tickets are right there on your phone, ready to be activated whenever you're ready to use them.

Similar to the season pass combo is a family deal for individual tickets. The Family Four-Pack gives you four one-time-only general admission tickets and 100 food/ride coupons for $105. That's a good savings over normal ticket prices, especially if your kids are already taller than 48 inches. Even better, you can get $10 off that price by using the code 19VALPAKfam10.

If you want more, there's also a $205 Ultimate Family Four-Pack that ups the food/ride coupon number to 300, giving you four tickets for just $55. If you want less, there's a $79 Big Tex 2-Pack that gets you two general admission tickets and 100 food/ride coupons. As a bonus, you can use the code 19MAPdate5 to save an extra $5 off the Big Tex 2-Pack.

You can also save by buying advance tickets at Kroger. General admission tickets there cost $16.50, but no senior or children discounts are available. Keep in mind that kids 2 and under do not require a ticket.

Opening day deals
The half-price deal on opening day continues, as anyone who brings in a full 20-ounce Dasani water or Coca-Cola product for donation to the North Texas Food Bank gets in for $9. No cheating: Every person in your group must have a bottle to get the discount.

Also continuing on opening day is Military Appreciation Day, which offers free admission for all active military, retired military, and veterans, as well as their spouses and children under 18. Both military members and spouses must present valid military IDs at the gate.

First Responders Day
On October 11, First Responders Day will honor various active and retired public law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency services agencies. All first responders, plus up to three family members, receive free admission to the Fair when they present a valid badge or ID card from their department or organization at the gate.

McDonald's coupons
The next time you eat at Mickey D's, make sure to check your tray liner or bag for State Fair coupons. You'll find ones for $5 off general admission any day, and ones that offer half-price tickets for kids when an adult pays full price. All coupons are only good for tickets purchased at the gate and cannot be combined with any other offer.

Dr Pepper Tuesdays
Don't toss your empty Dr Pepper cans. Save 'em up, as every person with one gets in for $9 all day on Tuesdays — October 1, 8, and 15 — or after 5 pm any day of the week.

North Texas Food Bank Wednesdays
One of the best deals continues to be North Texas Food Bank Wednesdays, as anyone who brings in at least four cans of food for the North Texas Food Bank on October 2, 9, or 16 gets in for just $4.

Senior steal
Guests age 60 and over had it made in the shade in past years, as they were able get a discount ticket every day. That deal is now gone, but they'll still have Senior Days every Thursday — October 3, 10, and 17 — when they get in for the low, low price of free.

Thrifty Thursdays
Thursdays have two ways to save. The first involves 20-ounce Coca-Cola products. If you drink them, hold on to your empties, as you can get in for $9 every Thursday — October 3, 10, and 17 — with an empty 20-ounce Coke bottle.

There are also special Thursday discounts on many popular food items. Those include State Fair classics like corny dogs, cotton candy, and funnel cakes. Participating food vendors also offer discounts on one of their signature menu items, ranging from mini versions to regular-size items. Most items range between 2-7 coupons ($1-$3.50); the State Fair will have a full list of vendors and foods on its site.

Group tickets
Not everyone can take advantage of this discount, but for anyone coming with a big group, you can rack up the savings. For groups of 25 or more, tickets are $12.50 each through September 15. From September 16 through the end of fair, tickets are $13.50 each. Back again are all-in-one group packages, which include admission tickets, $20 in food and ride coupons, and $10 Midway game cards. Call 214-565-2979 or go to bigtex.com/buy-tickets/group-tickets for more information.

KISS-FM Fridays at the Fair
KISS-FM will once again offer up a $5 off coupon good for every Friday during the fair (September 27 and October 4, 11, and 18). However instead of printing it off and presenting it at the gate, the coupon comes in the form of an online code - PARKERU - that you use at BigTex.com. You'll need to remember to your tickets on one of the designated Fridays in order to get the deal; otherwise you'll be paying more than you need to.

AdPages Giveaway
AdPages.com is once again giving away 500 tickets to the Fair in the form of family four-packs. To enter for a chance to win, fill out this form on its website. As with many giveaway contests, you can share your entry on Facebook to earn more entries.

Discounts on Midway rides
Now designated as Thrilling Tuesdays, that day of the week is a great time to go to the Fair. Not only can you get your $9 Dr Pepper ticket, you can save more inside, when all rides (except for thrill rides and the Texas Star) are discounted. If you buy a season pass combo and only go on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you've found the perfect way to save a bundle.