Get the scoop on all the best Washington State Fair Discounts 2019, including ways to save on admission, concert tickets, rides, and more!
Washington State Fair Discounts 2019
It’s hard to believe, but summer is rapidly coming to an end and it’s almost time for the Washington State Fair to start (formerly and most commonly known at the Puyallup Fair). The dates of the Fair this year are Friday, August 30th through Sunday, September 22nd. Please note that while the dates of the Fair have been extended, it will now be closed on Tuesdays as well as September 4th. As usual, I like giving you a good heads up about discounts and other ways to save so you can plan in advance.
Saving on Admission
First, here’s the regular pricing for 2019 admission: adults $14; children 6-12 $11; seniors 62+ $12; children 5 & under FREE. In case you’re curious, the regular admission is unchanged from 2018. The students and senior pricing jumped $1 per ticket from 2018.
One other noteworthy change: the student ticket used to cover children ages 6-18; now it only covers children ages 6-12. Ages 13 and up now need to use an “adult” ticket.
Now, how to knock that price down a bit:
- Early Bird Online Pricing. By purchasing your tickets online, you’ll pay $11 per adult ticket and $10.50 per child & senior ticket. Early Bird pricing ends Thursday, August 29th (the day prior to opening day). These tickets are good for entrance on any day during the Fair’s operation. The adult tickets are the same price as last year, but the child & senior tickets are up $1 this year.
- FREE Gate Food Drive. On opening day (August 30th), gain FREE entrance at any gate between 10:30 am – 12:30 pm by bringing a suggested donation of a non-perishable food item. This is my absolute favorite way to save on fair admission, providing it works for your family’s schedule. You can find details at The Fair’s website.
- FREE Kids’ Weekend. Once again, BECU is sponsoring a free kids’ weekend, and this year no coupon is necessary. All kids 18 and under will receive FREE gate admission on Labor Day weekend (August 30th – September 2nd). Note that even though kids age 13+ now need to have an adult ticket, all kids 18 and under will get in free.
- FREE Gate School Supply Drive. Donate school supplies to the Community and Schools Supply Drive on Friday, September 6th from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm for FREE gate admission.
- Discount Ticket Locations. In addition to pre-purchasing your discounted tickets online, you can also go to select Safeway and Albertsons stores and the South Hill Mall between August 11th – September 22nd and get the same price as the early bird online pricing ($11 adult, $10.50 child/senior). While supplies last.
- Military Appreciation Days. On all three Mondays of the Fair (September 2nd, 9th, and 16th), active, retired, and reserve military and National Guard as well as disabled veterans can get FREE admission to the Fair. Make sure to bring valid Military ID at the gate.
- Fred Meyer Value Pack. Starting now and running through August 30th only, you can buy a “family value pack” at Fred Meyer stores for $38.95. The pack includes: (2) gate admissions, (10) food bucks, (6) rides – excluding Extreme Scream, and discount Lost World of Dragons coupon. It also includes two 50% off Fair parking coupons. This pricing is unchanged from 2018. The value of the package is $78.
- Corporate Discounts. Check with your employer to see if they offer corporate discounts on tickets. If your organization has a corporate password, you can get tickets for $10.50/adult and $9.50/senior or child, a $26 season pass, plus discounts on admission & ride bundles and the Dizzy Pass.
- Season Passes. If you plan on attending the Fair more than one day, you might save by purchasing a season pass, which is available online. If you purchase your season pass by August 29th, you’ll pay $34.50. After that, it’s $39.50. This is unchanged from last year. It gets you into the Fair all 20 days of operation. The season pass also comes with a few high-value coupons including half off parking, 20% off Fair merchandise, and more.
- Sounder Train/Admission Package. Purchase an adult ticket for $17 or child for $14 and that includes a ride on the Sounder Train (from South King County) and Fair admission. This is good for either Saturday, September 14th or Saturday, September 21st. This is a $0.50 price hike from 2018. They also have a North King County offer for $19.50 per adult or $15 per student.
- Thursday Discounts. If you’re able to go on a Thursday (September 5th, 12th, or 19th), you can print coupons to get 2-for-1 gate admission, 2-for-1 Grandstand concerts, and/or 6 samples of craft beer and cider for just $12. Plus, the first 1,000 guests each Thursday will receive a FREE commemorative pin. Note that these discounts are advertised to Pierce County residents, but I’m not seeing anything in the fine print that restricts it to just Pierce County residents.
- Free School Tickets. In the past, my son has come home with a free Fair ticket from school. You might inquire to see if your school will be participating in a similar program before purchasing tickets.
- Discount Tickets or Discount Concert Tickets. We’ve often seen discount tickets or discount concert tickets available for purchase via Groupon or Goldstar.
Any other ideas I’m missing for admission?
Saving on Concert Tickets
Update 8/29: These are no longer available.
Right now you can grab discount concert tickets to seven different shows via Groupon! Plus, each ticket includes admission to the Fair. Choose from the following shows:
Billy Idol – Friday, August 30th at 7:30 pm
$51 for One Ticket for Grandstand 5 or 6 Upper or Lower
Weezer – Sunday, September 1st at 7:30 pm
$51 for One Ticket for Seating in Grandstand Section 5 or 6 (Upper or Lower)
John Crist – Wednesday, September 11th at 7:30 pm
$23 for One Grandstand Sec. 5 or 6 Upper/Lower Ticket
Boyz II Men & 98 Degrees – Thursday, September 12th at 7:30 pm
$35 for One Ticket for Upper or Lower Grandstand Sections 5 or 6
Ciara – Friday, September 13th at 7 pm
$30 for One Ticket for Seating in Grandstand 5 or 6 (Upper or Lower)
Chris Tomlin – Monday, September 16th at 7:30 pm
$30 for One Grandstand 5 or 6 (Upper or Lower) Ticket
Charlie Wilson – Saturday, September 21st at 7:30 pm
One Ticket for Seating in Upper or Lower Grandstand 5 or 6
Saving on Parking & Transportation
There is no shortage of parking around the Fair, but it can be expensive. You can also download a parking map from TheFair.com. Here are a few ideas for saving on parking.
- Look for a non-Fair lot. You’ll find many private businesses (and even residences!) will offer cheaper rates. I’d say if you find anything $5 or less, you’re sitting pretty. Be wary of folks charging more than Fair lots too!
- Keep an eye on the Fair website. Sometimes the Fair will offer special coupons or $5 parking specials.
- Fair Express. Pierce Transit will be running to the Fair. The cost is $2 per adult one-way and $1 per child one-way (free for ages 5 and younger). See this page for details.
- Sounder Train. You can ride the Sounder to the Fair from King, Pierce, and Snohomish stations. Please see this page for details on saving on your admission when you ride the Sounder.
- Park far, far away… I’ll admit it. We’ve done this before when we’re feeling really cheap. We’ll park about 1/2 mile away and find street parking. This does exist, but be prepared for a serious hike. Last year we bummed a free parking spot off a friend of my husband’s who lives within walking distance of the Fair.
Whatever you do, do NOT park in the parking lot of a local business or something else that’s likely to get you towed! No good. Other ideas for saving on parking?
Saving on Rides
Probably the best way to save on rides is to not go on any. However, my kids would say no trip to the Fair would be complete without a few rides. From what I can see, prices in 2019 are mostly consistent with what we’ve seen the last couple of years. One sneaky thing I’ve observed is that the number of tickets required per ride has gone up over the years. They are often an “odd” number too – for instance, 7 tickets. This inevitably means you’ll be left with some wasted tickets if you don’t plan it just right.
- Ride & Admission Bundle. Pay $31.95 and receive 2 admission tickets and any 6 Funtastic rides. This is available for purchase online only through August 29th. This price is unchanged from 2018.
- Ride & Game FunCard. Pay $20 for 35 tickets for rides and games good at Funtastic or Sillyville. This price is unchanged from 2018, but you’ll only get 35 tickets where you used to get 40.
- Pre-purchase tickets. You can pre-purchase 120 ride tickets for $60 online (value: $72). For details, visit thefair.com. This is a $10 jump from 2018.
- Weekend Dizzy Pass. You can buy a bracelet that will give you unlimited rides in the Funtastic Midway and Sillyville for either September 7th or September 8th. If you buy online through September 1st, pay $40. The price will jump to $50 on September 2nd online or on-site at the Fair. The Dizzy Pass also includes two free games. This is unchanged from 2018.
- Mon – Friday Dizzy Pass. If you’re planning a trip to the Fair during the week, you might opt for the Mon-Fri Dizzy pass. Buy online through September 1st for $35 (unchanged from last year). The bracelet will get you on unlimited rides in the Funtastic Midway and Sillyville. The price will jump to $45 on September 2nd or on-site at the Fair. This is good for weekdays only starting September 2nd, and you can use it on Fridays. Again, this Dizzy Pass also includes two free games.
- *From 2018* Costco. Reader Yvonne shared that she found discount admission packages at her Costco: pay $49.99 for 2 FunCards – each FunCard has 75 ride or game tickets (good any day of the Fair).
If you have other ideas for saving on rides, I’d love to hear them!
Saving within the Fair
Even if you can manage to get into the Fair for free, and park for free…you can easily drop a couple hundred or more once you’re inside. Here are my best tips for saving in the Fair.
- Pack your own snacks. You can definitely bring your own food and drink into the Fair. Beverages must have a lid on them (such as a water bottle) and you may not bring alcoholic beverages.
- Eat in Sillyville. If you like fair food, consider eating in Sillyville (the little kiddie area). A couple years ago, I discovered they had a selection of kid-friendly food and CHEAP food by fair standards. I also noticed that there was no one in line at the scone stand there…and this was on a weekend! (But shhhhhhh…. don’t tell anyone, ‘k?)
- See the animals. There are lots of animal barns, a petting zoo, and even animal events you can take in for free. This is always a highlight for my kids and it costs nothing.
- Scope out the free attractions. Browse the website to see what is new in 2019.
- Eat some free treats. Yeah, I’ll admit it. I like trying all the free food! This is a fun way to eat some special treats without shelling out the dough. Here are a few of my favorite ideas: 1) hang around the Vitamix demo table for healthy smoothies and soups, 2) stop by the dairy barn for free samples of milk, chocolate milk and sometimes egg nog, 3) keep your eyes peeled in the expo halls for free samples of stuff like fudge, honey, and jams and 4) throughout the Fair are these water stations you can get a small cone of water from – I think it might be Mountain Mist.
- Get some free stuff. I swear my eyes close in on all the freebies at the Fair. From free food samples, to stickers for the kids – I’ve even gotten coloring books and flower seeds. Keep an eye out for what you can get for nada. Browse the FREE category on the website for some ideas.
- Get fair treats just outside the Fair. On one visit, our kids wanted cotton candy and we ended up saving a bundle by buying it from one of the stands just outside the fair. I want to say we paid about half (or less!) of what you’d pay for the same amount inside.
If you’re aware of any additional tips on free things to do at the fair or ways to save money, by all means, speak up!
You might also be interested to read…
- The time we spent too much money at the Puyallup Fair
- The time we did a better job of sticking to a budget at the Puyallup Fair