The State Fair of Texas starts Friday, September 27, at Fair Park, which means that most of us will now be on the hunt for discount tickets. Ticket prices at the gate range from $17 for general admission and $13 for seniors and children under 48 inches tall. But with all of the different options for discounts, only a sucker would actually pay full price.
Buy your tickets in advance: The first discount opportunity is also the easiest. Just go to the State Fair site to buy your tickets — discounts are $1 for seniors and children under 48 inches tall, and $2 for everybody else. Unfortunately, you can't print tickets at home or have them reserved at will call, so you have to pay for shipping, which negates the actual discount part of it. You can also save a little by buying advance tickets at your local Kroger. General admission tickets there cost $15.50, but no senior or children discounts are available.
Season passes: If you're a State Fair fanatic, there's no better deal than the season pass. A pre-purchased pass for $39.95 will allow you to go as many times as your heart desires. Plus, it comes with a one-day-only guest ticket and a free ticket to use at any Cinemark theater. You can also get a season pass at Kroger for $34.95.
North Texas Food Bank deals: On opening day, anyone who brings in a full 20 ounce Coca-Cola product or Dasani water will get into the fair for $6. Also, NTFB has teamed up with Kroger for a special deal every Wednesday, where everybody who brings in at least three cans of food gets in for $3. Remember, each person must have the same donation to receive the discount; don't show up with just three cans of food and expect to get the discount for your whole brood.
It's good to be a senior: Sure, seniors — anyone 60 and over — already get a $4 discount from the regular price, but every Thursday during the State Fair is Senior Day, where those lucky folks can get in absolutely free.
McDonald's coupons: Eat at any area McDonald's, and you're likely to get a coupon for $3 off general admission, good for any day at the fair. They also have a coupon where a child can get in for half price when an adult pays full price, a discount of $6.50.
Dr Pepper deals: Make sure to save up those empty Dr Pepper cans, as each one is good for $5 admission on Tuesdays or $8 admission any day after 5 pm.
Coca-Cola Thursdays: In addition to the opening-day deal, every Thursday is Coca-Cola Thursday, where an empty 20-ounce bottle is good for $6 admission.
Dickies Day: Forget the Coke bottles on Thursday, October 3 — just make sure to wear any piece of clothing with a Dickies logo on it, and you'll get in for free.
Cinemark Thursdays: Movie lovers can trade one piece of entertainment for another on any Thursday, as a ticket stub from any Cinemark theater gets you in for free.
KISS-FM Fridays: Go to the KISS-FM site and print the coupon for $5 off general admission on any Friday. Make sure to print a coupon for every person in your group.
Discount on Midway rides: Saving on ticket prices is one thing, but everyone knows it's the rides and the food that really drive up the cost. If you go on any Tuesday, though, all rides except for thrill rides and the Texas Star are only six coupons, a savings of anywhere between two to six coupons (or $1-$3) per ride.
We've rounded up as many discount opportunities that we could find; if you know of any others, make sure to tell us about them in the comments.