Ways to Save Money at Iowa State Fair


Iowa State Fair. (WHO-HD)

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DES MOINES, Iowa – Some Iowa State Fair attendees don’t worry about the cost of their fun day at the fair, while others have a budget to stick to during their visit.

If you are planning on setting a budget there are some great tips to save money.

For example, the State Fair lets people bring in a water bottle and they can find filling stations scattered throughout the fairgrounds. There is a filling station located on the Grand Concourse, and in all the new buildings.

On average a group of three will be at the fair for 7.5 hours and spend $126.

Fairgoer Steve Kois said his family saves money on parking.

“You park three blocks off of the campus and that is another $5 saving per parking. You walk around and then you splurge where you can on food but kids are free so we save money here and there,” Kois said.

Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority is giving half-priced round-trip tickets if someone purchases tickets on its app “myDART.”

Round-trip tickets on the app include:

  • $1 for adults (11-64)
  • $0.50 for children (6-10), adults 65+, Medicare card holders, person with diabilities
  • FREE children 5 and under

Michael Ciaccio said he is visiting out of state, “We aren’t here to save money. We are here to have fun.”

People can use the Sky Glider and get a one-way ticket for $4.00 plus a lift to the other side of the fairgrounds.

The “Best New Deal” at the state fair comes from “Eat It’s Chicken City” located on the south side of the Susan Knapp Amphitheater. For $3 you can enjoy one Smoked Chicken Leg.

Fairgoer Pat Wubbena said, “The three dollar price was a big issue, because that is very doable. You can eat it at once and not have a lot left over. We share things so we don’t spend a lot of money here.”

Wubbena said her budget for one day at the fair is around $30 after the cost of admission.

“We came here with a budget in mind, but whenever you start walking around and the food smells kind of fills your nose and then you splurge. But, we have a fixed budget we like to stick to for our trip,” Kois said.

There is a list of $4 and under food options scattered throughout the fairgrounds on the state fair’s website.

People can find free entertainment throughout the fairgrounds here.

Monday-Thursday from 5-10 p.m. adults can get in for $9 and children $5.

Active or former members of the United States military and their spouse get in for $9 on August 13th.

Fairgoers 60 and over can get in for $9 on August 15.

Extreme Sunday is August 19th. Adults get in for $9 and children $5. If you bring in three cans of non-perishable food adults can get in for $6.


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