New York State Fair: On A Budget (2017)

It’s that time of the year again… the NY State Fair!



Spending a day (or more) at the Fair can be an expensive outing (on average, visitors spend about $121). As the goal of this blog is to help save you money, I’ve compiled a list of ways to have a good time at the Fair without breaking the bank:

Tickets / Admission

  • Advance sale tickets – Available through August 23, 2017 only – $6 for adults* (otherwise $10 at the gate)
    • A full list of locations where these are sold can be found here
  • *NEW* Preview Day/Governor’s Day – $1 admission on Wednesday, August 23
  • Six-Day Frequent Fairgoer Admission Pass – allows one person to attend six days at the Fair for $30
  • $3 admission Thursdays (August 24, August 31)
  • *NEW* Family Fishing Day (August 27)  – free admission for those who show a valid sporting license at the gate
  • Law Enforcement Day (August 28) – free admission to any active or retired law enforcement personnel or corrections personnel
  • Senior Citizen’s Day (August 28 and August 29) – free admission to senior citizens (60 years of age and older)
  • Fire & Rescue Day (August 29)free admission to any active or retired member of a fire department or emergency services organization
  • Armed Forces Day (August 31) – free admission to any active duty or veteran with military identification
  • Six Nations Day (September 1) – free admission for Native Americans
  • Student Day (September 1) – free admission to those 18 years old and under
  • Summer Send Off “Dollar Day” (September 4) – $1 admission on the last day of the fair
  • The Fair has sold $4 general admission tickets in the past few years, as well as $3 Cyber Monday tickets, and $3 tickets during the Solar Eclipse
  • *NEW* Groupon is currently offering 50% off general admission tickets

*Children 12 and under are admitted free every day of the Fair*


Save on gas and parking (and hassle, too) by taking the bus!

Centro will once again provide its popular direct service to the New York State Fair. The 12 Park-N-Ride locations and schedules can be found here. Centro Ride Passes and transfers are accepted. For most of the locations, it is a $2 fare for adults (ages 10-64) and children 5 and under are free.


PLEASE NOTE: Centro will NOT be running direct service from the Syracuse Transit Hub to the Amphitheater during the State Fair.

Park-N-Ride at Destiny USA

Looking for the closest, quickest, most convenient way to get to and from the New York State Fair? Destiny USA is your official Park-and-Ride location! Centro provides direct service to The great New York State Fair from Destiny USA. The Park-N-Ride Express departs every 10 minutes from the shelter located between Eastside Lots 2 & 3 on Solar St beginning at 10:00 am and continuing until midnight. Returning shuttles depart the State Fair Main Gate every 10 minutes beginning at 10:15 am and continuing until 12:15 am.

*NEW* Round-trip shuttle passes available for purchase at the Park-N-Ride location. Cash only. See Centro attendant at shuttle shelter for details.

Related: How to get to the New York State Fair without a car

What to know about taking Uber or Lyft to the New York State Fair


Money Saving Coupons

Head over here to check out and download the State Fair Money Saving Coupons! The coupons include discounts on a variety of things including food, wine, bull riding, and more. These easy print at home coupons are the perfect way to save a buck.



  • Wade Shows Midway Monday (August 28) – Special limited wristband offer, 10 rides for only $10.00.
  • Advance sale:
    • Midway Mega Pass Unlimited Ride Wristband Vouchers – $70.00 each for unlimited rides (all day, every day)
    • Midway One-Day Unlimited Ride Wristband Vouchers – $20 or $25 each (all day, any one day)

Chevy Court

Image result for fair chevy court

Perhaps the best FREE concert series in America, the Chevy Court stage will host 26 free concerts this year from artists like LeAnn Rimes, 3 Doors Down, Kansas and more.


For $2, you can visit the SkyRiver Butterfly Exhibit, where you can hold a butterfly on a q-tip.

There are dozens of other attractions at the New York State Fair that are displayed here, including free shows and exhibits.  Here are some new ones for 2017:


Food / Drink

  • Milk
    • Get a delicious 7 ounce cup of chocolate or white milk for 25 cents at the Rainbow Milk Bar (Dairy Building)
  • Baked Potato
    • Get a baked potato with toppings for only $1 at the Potato Booth (NE corner of Horticulture Building)
  • Hot Dogs
    • There are various food stands that offer $1 hot dogs (i.e. Emmi’s Hots)


  • Ice Cream
    • Utica Coffee Company offers $1 ice cream scoops
    • Several ice cream stands offer mini-cones for $1
    • Turkey Hill is handing out free carmel-peanut butter gelato cups this year
  • $3 to $5
    • $3.50 quarter-pounder hamburger – Horan’s
    • $4 sausage burger – Gianelli Sausage
    • $3 double cheese burger – Emmi’s
  • $2 and under choices
    • Las Delicias – Chicken Empanadas ($2 each)
    • Several stands sell 12-ounce cans of soda for a dollar
    • The apple fritters from The Cabin at the West End are three for $2
    • Chicken tenders – The Hofmann Hot Dogs/Twin Trees Restaurant stand offers tenders for $1 (Hot dogs and water, too)

Bonus tip: If you go on a hot day and/or tend to get thirsty often, plan on purchasing from a vendor who offers free refills. For example, you pay $10 upfront but get unlimited refills throughout the day.  If possible, never pay more than $1 for a bottle of water or a soda.

Food Finder & Interactive Map – there’s a dropdown option under Category where you can choose “(About a) Buck or Less”


Summer Send Off “Dollar Day”

  • Adult admission to the Fair will be $1.00 per person all day (September 4)
  • All of the rides in the Wade Shows Midway will be $1.00 per ride
  • Vendors will be offering $1.00 specials on food, drink, and merchandise
  • There will be also be a fireworks show after the Kool & The Gang concert


Latest Fair News


Do you know of any other ways to save money at the Fair? Please comment below 🙂

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