Jason Chiaruttini of Houston carries a stuffed animal won on the midway past Big Tex on a visit to the State Fair of Texas on the first weekend day of the fair, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Dallas.

Jason Chiaruttini of Houston carries a stuffed animal won on the midway past Big Tex on a visit to the State Fair of Texas on the first weekend day of the fair, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015, in Dallas.

Smiley N. Pool/Staff Photographer

Texans look forward to the State Fair nearly year-round, but they also need to save for just as long to get the most out of the event.

Consider that a general admission ticket costs $18 for adults and $14 for kids. That means mom, dad and little one are spending $50 to get in the gates. Grandma wants to come? That's another $14 for a senior ticket, and you haven't even indulged in a corny dog yet.

If the numbers feel discouraging, don't give up yet. We're here with ticket discounts attendees can take advantage of to make that dream of a selfie with Big Tex a reality. (Tickets go on sale Aug. 1.)

State Fair of Texas snags Kacey Musgraves and Nelly for free fall concerts

Save: Half-off admission

Fairgoers can grab tickets for half price ($9 for adults, $7 for kids) on opening day, Sept. 30, by bringing a 20-ounce bottle of Dasani water or a 20-ounce Coca-Cola product to the gate. Donations, which are exchanged for a coupon for half price admission, benefit the North Texas Food Bank.

Want to skip opening day crowds? Hit the State Fair for half-price any day after 5 p.m. by bringing an empty Dr Pepper can to the gate. 

4 essential State Fair of Texas foods

Save: Free admission for military

Opening day (Sept. 30) doubles as the the fair's Military Appreciation Day, which means free admission for all active and retired military personnel, including veterans. Bring a military ID as well as military spouse ID to gain free access to the event. The deal also covers children under age 18.

Save: Free admission for seniors

Every Thursday throughout the fair is senior day, which offers attendees 60 years old and up free entry.

My first time at State Fair of Texas: 'I thought Big Tex would be bigger'

Save: $2-$5 on tickets any day of the week

Those who buy in advance online or with DART's GoPass app will save $2 on fair tickets for any day of the week. If you purchase through the app, tickets will be paperless and scanned from your phone at the gate. With this discount, general admission tickets cost $16 and child/senior tickets cost $12.

Bonus: Those who purchase tickets online will also be able to print their tickets at home. 

Purchase a meal at McDonald's and receive a coupon; it will either be lining your tray or stuffed in your to-go bag. Coupons are good for $5 off GA tickets and half-price kids tickets, which can be redeemed any day of the fair.

Save: $3 (for a good cause!)

NorthPark Center in Dallas has launched a partnership with the State Fair that also benefits our local men and women in blue. Purchase a $15 ticket from the mall's concierge desk (first floor near Neiman Marcus) and a third of the proceeds goes to Assist the Officer Foundation, which provides financial assistance to officers facing loss of income from injury and illness. The deal is available through Oct. 23.

Save: Up to 66 percent on admission on select week days

The State Fair of Texas offers recurring deals on select week days. They include ...

  • Tuesdays: $5 entry fee when you bring an empty Dr Pepper can; Midway rides are also usually discounted this day
  • Wednesdays: $4 entry fee when you bring four canned food items, which will be donated to the North Texas Food Bank
  • Thursdays: $6 entry fee when you bring a 20-ounce bottle of any Coca-Cola product; select food items are also discounted this day through the fair's Thrifty Thursday program
  • Fridays: $13 for adult admission or $9 for children admission when you download a $5-off coupon from KissFM's website

Craving something fried already? Relive last year on GuideLive's State Fair of Texas hub page.

What's Happening on GuideLive