Minnesota State Fair deals: Cutting costs at the Great Minnesota Get-Together

The Minnesota State Fair is just around the corner. The fair kicks off on August 24 and runs through Labor Day on September 4.

Going to the fair can get expensive quickly – and with cost-of-living increases in recent years, most families are looking to save a buck where they can. FOX 9 has put together a guide we hope can save you a few dollars when you head out to the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

Get your tickets at a discount

The Minnesota State Fair offers a pre-fair discount on tickets. Up until the day before the fair, August 23, you can buy tickets at the fair box office, most metro Cub locations, other grocery stores in greater Minnesota or western Wisconsin, and online for $15 per ticket (versus $18 at regular price).

You can buy up to 12 tickets per order and a maximum of 24 tickets per household (by mailing address). You can also pick up ride tickets at a discount (more info below).

Pre-bought tickets can be used on any day. Also, a reminder, children under the age of 5 are allowed into the fair for free.

Take advantage of discount days

In most cases, if you are going on busier days, the pre-fair discount tickets will be your best option. But if you have some flexibility on which days you can go to the fair, you can save more money with discount days.

Opening Day (Thursday, Aug. 24): General admission tickets are $16, but children (ages 5 to 12) and seniors (ages 65 and older) can get in for $13.

Seniors Day (Monday, Aug. 28 + Thursday, Aug. 31): Tickets for seniors are $13.

Military Appreciation Day (Tuesday, Aug. 29): Active military members, their spouses, and their children pay $13. Retired military members and their spouses get the same deal. You need documentation of your service to get the discount.

Kids Day (Wednesday, Aug. 30 + Monday, Sept. 4): $13 for kids ages 5 to 12.

Midway and Kidway discounts

Discounts days for rides and games are offered on:

  • Thursday, Aug. 24
  • Tuesday, Aug. 29
  • Wednesday, Aug. 30
  • Monday, Sept. 4

In addition, there are early bird (before 1 p.m.) rides and games discounts on these days:

  • Friday, Aug. 25
  • Monday, Aug. 28
  • Thursday, Aug. 31
  • Friday, Sept. 1

Like admission tickets, you can also buy ride tickets ahead of time at a discount: 25 tickets for $20 (80 cents per ticket). At fair time, tickets run $1 per individual ticket or you can buy bundles of 33 for $30 (91 cents per ticket) or 70 for $60 (86 cents per ticket). Not massive savings but every little bit counts.

Find deals

The fair offers a "Deals, Drawings and Giveaways" guide at information booths on the fairgrounds. Make sure to stop by. It will guide you to bargains, best values, and where you can pick up some free stuff.

On the fair's final day, Labor Day, information booths will also carry fliers with deals on food and merchandise.

The fair also offers a $5 bargain book filled with coupons. You can pick this up at fair pre-sale ticket spots and at State FairWear Gift Shops or Bargain Book carts at the fair. For someone who enjoys fair treats, they will quickly make their $5 back. But, for those looking to keep on a budget, the bargain book could encourage you to spend more than you intend. It is probably a better investment for those looking to experience all the fair has to offer or people going multiple days or nice to have if a friend shares their spare coupons with you.

For a look at the deal available in the bargain book, you can click here.

Enjoy the free events

From free concerts to exhibits and animals, there's plenty to check out at the Minnesota State Fair that won't cost you anything besides your fair admission ticket.

For a list of events and exhibits you can check out, you can click here.