A day at the Minnesota State Fair can be expensive, especially with some kids in tow.
As such, it's always worth taking advantage of the bevy of discount deals available to all fair-goers, which vary from day-to-day.
The State Fair on Thursday has released this year's list of discounts, special deal days and money-saving tips, and BMTN has picked out some of the best.
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Pre-booking your tickets
This is an absolute no-brainer as a cost-saver. If you book your fair tickets between now and 9 p.m. on Aug. 22 at mnstatefair.org, it'll only cost you $11.
This is $3 cheaper than adult tickets at the gates, and a $1 discount on senior and child (age 5-12) admission prices.
You can also pre-book your tickets for Midway and Kidway rides, getting a sheet of 25 for $15, instead of $25 for a sheet of 30 at the fair.
The deal days to look out for
If you don't pre-book your tickets, the first day of the fair, "Thrifty Thursday," will be the day you'll get the cheapest entrance tickets, when it's $12 for adults (13-64) and $9 for kids.
For seniors and kids, tickets will be $9 again on Monday, Aug. 27, while active military members and their families can get $9 tickets on Tuesday, Aug. 28.
Entry discounts are offered to those with valid public library cards on Read & Ride Day, Aug. 29, while Seniors Day will be on Thursday, Aug. 30 ($9 entry). Finally, kids tickets will also be $9 on Labor Day.
If you qualify for any of these discounts, there will also be many more deals available within the fairgrounds from various vendors, which will be listed in the "Deals, Drawings & Giveaways Guide" you can pick up at the information stalls.
The Blue Ribbon Bargain Book
If you're planning to spend more than a few hours at the fair, then it's definitely worth buying this coupon book for $5 to get access to its 150 coupons.
Just a couple of purchases will make you your money back, and this year's deals include:
– $2.50 off garlic fries and beer-battered onion rings at the Ball Park Cafe.
– $2.50 off crab cakes at Cafe Caribe.
– $1.50 off a milkshake at the Dairy Bar.
– $3.50 off a bean & beef burrito at El Sol Mexican Foods.
– $2 off a funnel cake at Funnel Cakes.
– Half price pizza slice from Green Mill ($2, usually $4).
– $2 off a gyro-on-a-stick (usually $6) from Holy Land Deli.
– $2.50 off all hand pies at Sara's Tipsy Pies.
There are also a number of discounts for gift stalls, as well as money off on Kidway and Midway rides.
You can find all Blue Ribbon book deals here.
You can spend a whole day at the fair without costing you a cent (provided you drink water and eat samples), particularly given the amount of free entertainment throughout the fairgrounds.
– The 2 p.m. daily parade.
– Free music and kids activities at the Family Fair.
– The dog agility show and K-9 demos at the Pet Pavilions.
– Watching 200 calves, lambs and piglets being born at the Miracle of Birth Center.
– Horticulture demonstrations at The Dirt in the Horticulture Building.
– The Great Big Sandbox for kids to the east of the Family Fair Stage.
– The lumberjack and stunt dog shows at the North Woods.
– Karaoke and live music at The Garden.
– The huge array of free concerts at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell and other stages. More info here.