The Indiana Insider Blog

State Fair Discounts and Freebies (#INStateFair)

Are you headed to the fair this year? If so, you need to be aware of some cost-saving tips before you leave … and remember it is the year of the Dairy Cow so you’ll be seeing plenty of “Buttercup” all over the grounds!

Admission. We all know it went up a bit this year to $10. It’s really a non-issue for me. Why? Because if you plan your visit in advance at all, you can get in for the same cost as last year or free. Here are some your options (for a complete list, visit the State Fair’s website):

  • Pre-sale: Plan ahead and stop by any Indiana CVS Pharmacy, Indiana Walmart, Indiana Farm Bureau or the Marten House Hotel.
  • Multi-Day Admission Pass: Good for three days at only $18 this is a steal. Purchase from any of the pre-sale locations.
  • Free Days: On Monday, August 6 there will be a free ticket in the Indianapolis Star good for either Wednesday, August 8 or Thursday, August 9.
  • $2 Tuesdays: Get in the gates for only $2 if you print off this voucher from Turkey Hill. Good on either Tuesday, August 7 or Tuesday, August 14.
  • IPL Carload Day: Pack your car and only pay $15 for everyone inside! Again a voucher is needed and can be printed here.
  • BMV Discount Day: Get in for half price ($5) on Wednesday, August 15 if you take this voucher with you.
  • AAA Day: On Thursday, August 16 all Hoosier AAA members get in free. Just show your card at the door!

I hear a lot of people talk about how expensive the fair is once you get there. I typically go four to five times each year and rarely spend much money. Here is what I would recommend for those of you worried about the hit on your wallet:

  • Take advantage of the State Fair Shuttle. You can park at Glendale Mall’s Rural Street lot (just south of 62nd Street and Rural) and can ride the Indiana State Fair shuttle for FREE! The shuttle runs every 20 minutes from 10 am to 10 pm each day of the fair.
  • Pack a lunch/snacks/water. You can take food into the fairgrounds. Pack yourself some lunch and a few snacks. Allot each person a certain amount that day to spend on whatever their favorites are (especially a great deal on $2 Tuesdays when vendors have smaller sizes for just $2!)
  • Check the program’s daily list of free activities. I will post more later on some of my favorites, but with the all the various events and free stage entertainment going around you may find you just don’t have as much time to spend at the Midway or grazing the many food options.
  • Embrace the theme of the year. This year is the Dairy Cow. With the theme comes many extra exhibits and programs … not to mention typically a theme of decorations across the fair. This is a picture from three years back when it was Year of the Tomatoes. The gazebo is always decked out for the theme.

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Written by : Living in Indianapolis for over 10 years now, Carrie is no stranger to traveling throughout the state. She has worked at Conner Prairie and at the Indiana Office of Tourism. Now being at home with her four-year-old daughter, Carrie has even more opportunities to take advantage of Indiana's many attractions. Carrie receives compensation from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development for blogging. For more information, see our FTC Disclosure page.