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The Best Ways to Get Admission to the New York State Fair

NYSF MidwayNew York State does a lot of things well – and the state fair is no different. Every year I count down the days to the New York State Fair. It’s nearly two weeks worth of food, music, animals, performances, and all-around fun. I live for my 25-cent milk and fresh fried dough from Villa. The only year I missed going was when I lived in Australia – and for obvious reasons.

So here is what you need to know before you go:

  • You can buy tickets in advance. Wegmans sells tickets for $6, but only BEFORE the fair begins. At the gate, tickets are $10.
  • Plan what days you are going to go. A few years ago, the fair implemented $3 Thursdays and $1 entry on Labor Day. If you’re going on those days, it’s cheaper to purchase tickets at the door! See the list of discount days for 2017 here.
  • Check the fair schedule to see if you qualify for any free admission days – military, students, seniors, and more each have a day for FREE admission. Also, kids 12 and under are always free.
  • If you have any leftover presale tickets from 2017, you can save them for 2018!
  • Check the schedule for the FREE concerts to see which one(s) you’d like to attend. That will help you decide on which day(s) to go.
  • You have to pay to park at the fair – $5 for cars, $3 for motorcycles, $10 for buses and RVs. It costs a little more to park your car close to the main gate, but the money will benefit the Red Cross. You can also park at one of several park-n-ride locations and take a bus to the fair.
  • All fair buildings are open 10am to 10pm, but you can enter the fair beginning at 7am (some restaurants serve breakfast!) and the midway is open until 11 or 12 every night.
  • If you have any special talents to produce art, raise animals, grow plants, or something similar, enter your work into one of the several competitions that the fair has every year. Pay careful attention to the deadlines (which are usually earlier in the summer). There is usually an entry fee for the contest, but then you get a pair of tickets to the fair – a reasonable trade! The best chosen works get put on display for the duration of the fair.
  • If you have tickets to a concert at the Lakeview Amphitheater while the fair is in town, you can use that ticket for FREE entry into the state fair.
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  • Lastly, check the weather and plan appropriately. The fair gets really crowded, and a hot summer day feels even hotter. Also check for rain. The fair can get a little miserable on a rainy day with so many activities located outside. But, because other people feel the same way, crowds are a lot smaller and you can check off all of the indoor attractions! And ALWAYS wear sneakers. Your feet will thank you for it.

Be sure to check out the next post which gives you ideas of how to best spend your time and money during a day at the fair!

Another fun thing to remember: the fairgrounds hosts more than just the New York State Fair! The grounds are home to events all year long. Brewfests, wine & chocolate festivals, horse shows, craft shows, holiday markets, boat and RV shows, car shows, haunted houses at Halloween, and lots of other fun things! Check it out when the state fair isn’t going on too!

Happy travels!

New York State Fair - Wanderlust on a Budget - travel tips - www.wanderlust-onabudget.com

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