Pig races, live music, and fried foods are just some of the attractions offered annually at the Texas State Fair. This year, the fair was in operation from September 30th to October 23rd, resulting in a month of super-sized fun and food that can only be found at the biggest fair in Texas.
The fair, honestly, is a monster. If you were not aware of all the events and performances that are happening around the clock, you can be easily overwhelmed by the fair itself. Luckily, we took a few trips to the fair to work navigate through all that it had to offer.
The big question: Is it worth it?
The fair has many different events that don’t last forever. All musical artists only visit once, and attract a multitude of people. Add in college football, and you have a whole new crowd of people that you may not have anticipated. Understanding which days will be the least or most busy can help when deciding the best day and time to go.
Long lines, slow crowds, and tons of products that you probably won’t buy (And that’s just stuff on the inside).
Parking is a nightmare. Official parking is $15. The closer you park to the fair, the more difficult it will be to leave. Many restaurants and other buildings allow parking, but charge whatever they feel people will pay for. Ranging from $10-20, if it’s worth it or not would be up to you.
General admission is $18. There are certain days you can bring soda cans for a discount, or you can buy admission tickets online for cheaper prices. However, that doesn’t mean that these sales are proportional, or even near what you will want to spend for entry. Tickets, used for the rides and food in the fair, are worth $.50 and only sold in packs of 100 online. You’re better off setting your own budget for coupons, or nabbing a few spares from friends who have already gone. Considering that you have to spend anywhere from $28-40 just to have admission and park, we would vote against such a “deal.”
Food items range in price, but we suggest only going for novelty items, seeing that they cost as much as most of the meals you can purchase. Any of the fried foods can be from 12-16 tickets, which is around the same range for any burgers, fries, or any sort of meal. Only going for the standout items ensures that your get your money’s worth, as not all of the food is made exactly fresh. Drinks can be anywhere from 5-8 tickets as well, so hydrating pre-fair is key.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the fair is expensive. Food and games sold inside the fair can only be purchased with coupons. If you ignored the online deal for 100 coupons (which isn’t an honest sale) you can still purchase how ever many you want.
We used about 30 tickets, which would come out to $15. Combined with our running total, that brings us to about $43-55.
Rides in the fair were another story entirely. Some used coupons, while others required game cards that could, you guessed it, only be purchased separately. The rides were about 10 coupons, or more, per ride. Which means, you could be adding another $10-20 on to your running total, depending on if the rides and games were apart of your itinerary. Our running total gets another boost, ranging from $53-65 to $63-75.
The musical events and other events that happen inside of the fair are all free. The car show, musical performances, and exhibits are all cool ways to spend a day, and often times they are not too crowded. This trip, if planned, can still be an amazing time without dipping too far into your precious funds.
If you didn’t get to visit this year, no worries. The fair is an annual event, and next year will have a whole new theme, deals, and ways to experience the biggest fair in the state. What was your favorite part of the fair? What were your money-saving tricks? Let us know in the comments below.