The 2015 State Fair of Texas starts its 24-day run at Fair Park on Friday, September 25. Smart fairgoers are on the hunt for any discounts or deals they can find to save a little cash.
Luckily there is no shortage of bargains to be had. Below are the myriad ways in which you can save money on State Fair of Texas tickets, which normally run $18 for general admission and $14 for seniors and kids under 48 inches tall.
If you plan on going to the State Fair multiple times, you owe it to yourself to buy a season pass this year more than ever. That's because this is the first time they are offering a combo pack that includes discounts on ride and food tickets. For just $99, you get two season passes and 120 coupons, a grouping which would normally cost $140. This deal is only available online at BigTex.com.
Of course, the normal season pass price of $39.95 is no slouch, because it allows you to romp around Fair Park as much as you like. Buying at your local Kroger saves you $5, as the season pass is only $34.95 there, and Sonic is running a special for $10 off; check your receipt through September 15. You can also get $10 off by using the code "BIGTEX" at BigTex.com, but because it costs $8.95 for them to ship it to you, it's almost not worth the trouble.
The pass comes with a collectible State Fair themed-art season pass hard card, a one-day-only guest ticket, a reusable bag, a free medium slush from Sonic, a commemorative Big Tex photo, exclusive season pass holder events, a season pass perks party, guided photo tour, and 10 percent off all State Fair gear at official merchandise stores.
Buy your tickets in advance
If a season pass is not for you, you still have multiple options to save. Back for the second year is DART's GoPass app. Starting on September 14, you can save $2 on individual tickets and pre-buy DART tickets to get you to the fair. The best part is your tickets are right there on your phone, ready to be activated whenever you want to use them.
Similar to the season pass combo are three new deals for individual tickets. Package A gives you four general admission tickets and 100 food/ride coupons for $99, package B gives you four general admission tickets and 320 coupons for $199, and package C gives you two general admission tickets and 100 coupons for $69. All offer between 15-20 percent savings over the normal price, and all are only available online at BigTex.com.
You can also save a little 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.
North Texas Food Bank deals
Once again, there are multiple opportunities for you to get a discount while doing some good. Anyone who brings in a full 20-ounce Dasani water or Coca-Cola product on opening day gets in for half price. No cheating: Every person in your group must have a bottle to get the discount.
For an even better deal, every person who brings in at least four cans of food on Wednesdays — September 30, October 7, or October 14 — gets in for $4. All food and drinks will be donated to the North Texas Food Bank.
Seniors 60 and over have it made in the shade — or the sun, more likely — as they can get into the fair for $4 off every single day. But nothing can beat the deal they get every Thursday on Senior Day — October 1, 8, and 15 — as those lucky ducks get in for free.
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 good for ticket purchases at the gate.
Dr Pepper deals
Don't recycle those empty Dr Pepper cans. Save 'em up, as every person with one gets $5 admission on Tuesdays — September 29, October 6, and October 13 — or half-price tickets after 5 pm any day of the week.
Coca-Cola repeats its opening-day deal every Thursday, except this one gives you a $6 admission price for any empty 20-ounce bottle. You can combine that with a new deal for 2015 where various food vendors will offer discounted prices on certain popular items on Thursdays. Among the goodies you can get cheaper are Frito pie, funnel cake, tornado taters, and a Fletcher's Bird Dog; check the State Fair site for a full list of vendors and foods.
You can get $5 off general admission on Fridays — October 2, October 9, and October 16 — simply by going to the KISS-FM website and printing a coupon for every member of your group. Discount does not apply to senior or children's tickets.
Free parking for pickups
If you own a pickup truck - and since this is Texas, who doesn't? - pay attention, as Nissan is offering free parking to all pickup trucks every day of the fair to promote their new 2016 Nissan Titan XD. It doesn't matter if you own a Nissan, Ford, Chevy, or other type of pickup; all you need to do is go to the parking lot at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Ash Lane (enter off of Ash) and you can park for free.
This isn't an option for everyone, but if you're bringing a big group, you can rack up the savings. Groups of 20 or more get adult tickets for $13.50 each; $11 for seniors and kids. If your group is between 100-249 people, that price drops to $12 and $10. And if you're bringing a whopping 250 or more, it's only $11 and $9, respectively.
The great deal where you could wear a piece of Dickies clothing on a specific day and get in for free appears be gone for good. However, if you're in the market for Dickies clothing, you can still get a deal, as anyone who purchases $75 or more worth of goods at the Dickies retail store in Fort Worth September 13 through October 11 will receive two free tickets to the fair.
Discount on Midway rides
Tuesdays are another great day to go to the fair, as you can get your $5 Dr Pepper ticket and then save more inside, where all rides except for thrill rides and the Texas Star are only six coupons. If you buy a season pass combo and only go on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you've found the perfect way to save a bundle.