State Fair of Texas is BACK!
The State Fair of Texas is back after a one year hiatus filled with a Drive-Thru. The Fair you know and love is back in full swing which means I'm here to give you all the tips and tricks I've learned over the years and in my first two full days on the fairgrounds.
Let's get to the NEW things you need to know about the 2021 State Fair. First, you'll need to get in, which means you'll need a ticket. Tickets prices have changed this year to encourage people to come on weekdays rather than weekends this year. There is a Premium One-Day Ticket that is $24 that will get you in any day of the fair. (I personally don't see the benefit of this one outside of flexibility, yet.) I'd recommend the Daily Admission Ticket paired with a discount. Monday-Thursday tickets are $15 for an adult, $10 for a child/senior. Fridays are $20 for an adult and $15 for a child/senior. With the McDonald's Discount code, you can get $5 off those prices! As for weekends, you're going to pay a premium. Adults are $25, children and seniors are $18. However, the McDonald's discount will take $7 off Saturday and Sunday. And as a thank you for coming to the site: I'll give you the discount code: McDsave2021 After 5pm everyone can get in for the child price, so if you looking for even more savings, that's a good way to do it.
Once you're in, you'll probably want to buy things which will require coupons. If you've been to the fair before, you'll know those use to cost $.50 each. In order to reduce the amount of paper needed, they've increased the value of the coupons to $1 each. This increase in value also applies to any old fair coupons you may have purchased in years past for $.50! Just a fun fact if you didn't know- vendors get paid by the weight of their coupons, so this reduces the weight by half making everyone's payout day a little easier. Now when you look at a menu board, you'll know exactly how much it costs, which could be a good or bad thing. :)
Some extra tips for you as you attend the fair this year with the pandemic still hanging around, have your masks as they are "required" indoors. This is not being enforced, but please do your part when you are inside buildings such as the Hall of State, Auto Shows, or in shopping pavilions such as Go Texan or the Embarcadero. There is hand sanitizer all over the park, so that's good! If for some reason you haven't been vaccinated yet, there is a vaccine tent behind Big Tex. If you get vaccinated at the fair, you'll get $20 in coupons.
Also noteworthy, the fair crowds do seem to be a little lighter than your average opening weekend so far, so there may be something to those weekday ticket discounts!
Cheap drinks! Despite the coupon price increasing to a dollar, the old 2 coupon waters have remained 2 coupons. However, you can still find $1 water at the DAR house near the main gate where the DART trains are. Note: The DAR House closes at 5:00pm! Also, many people don't know you CAN bring your own food and water into the fair if you're so inclined. It's a great way to save a bit if you happen to have a cooler on wheels and don't mind pulling it around.
The Big Tex cups are $10 and you can get refills of tea or soda for $3 as well. A great deal if you're going to spend all day at the park (or go back multiple times). That cup is also good year after year, so keep it in a safe place and you can have large ice cold beverages for $3 anytime.
Adult beverages- head over to the Beer Barn in Cotton Bowl Plaza for a $3 Coors Banquet, your cheapest choice for beer at the fair. You might also enjoy a trip over to the Texas Wine Garden for wine tastings from local wineries!
Bathrooms- your best bet for bathrooms are in the Go Texan Pavilion or either of the two auto shows at the Esplanade. The fair crew is doing a great job keeping them cleaned and sanitized. The Go Texan Pavilion is also a little less busy, so a great place to get in and out quickly. Plus, you can snag yourself some free food samples while you're there!
Shows- The bird show Soar! is back and always a great time. If you're there on a showing on a bright sunny day, I'd recommend the 6:00pm show because the Band Shell is in the shade at that showing. Luckily the weather has been pretty mild so far! The Marionette show at the Amphitheater near the lagoon is cute. They have between 4-5 shows a day, so it's a nice little break in the shade under all the trees. And just a note, the All-Star Stunt Dog Show has moved this year to the Marine Corps Square near the Main Gate! The 4:30pm show is a good one to attend as the stands are shaded by trees. As always, the Illumination Sensation takes place at 8:00pm at the Esplanade, so if you're around at that time, be prepared for fireworks! I'll be updating this section soon with more recommendations.
The Hall of State Exhibit is also quite interesting this year. It details the history of the fair, so I'd recommend cooling down in the newly restored (post-ice storm) Hall of State. There's some really fun photos and artifacts. They also have some items on display from the Tom Landry family, so definitely worth a look if you're a Cowboys fan.
The Budweiser Clydesdales are also back at the fair this year. You can go see them in the stables behind the birthing barn. You can also watch them be prepped for the Starlight Parade including getting braided and hitched! The prep starts around 6:00pm with them brought out and hitched around 6:15pm. The Dalmatian loads up around 6:45pm and you can watch them take off for the parade up close!
Finally... Food! Check out this post for all things food including reviews and prices of all the Big Tex Choice Awards finalists.
If you have ANY questions at all, please send me a message. Also, you can always find me on Instagram @tips.by.brit.