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FREE County Fair tickets for best tips

By khulac
Thursday, June 19th, 2008 at 3:04 pm in Family Outings.

This weekend will mark our sixth (??!!) year of taking our kid (now kids) to the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton. We also like to bring (drag) along our Berkeley friends and their kid as well as kids in our local playgroups, etc. etc.Bullride at the Fair It’s just such quaint small-towny fun. We can’t help ourselves.

So I thought the fair would make a good blog topic. How do YOU make the most of the fair? There are sooo many things to do it can be exhausting just reading the daily program. (Tip No. 1–always get the free program at the entrance..things change daily and from year to year!).

If you don’t plan your time well, you’ll find yourself running from one end of the place to the other trying to figure it all out.

The fair can also get expensive. How do you take the whole family without breaking the bank?

I’ll share a few more tips here, but share yours too!!! The best ones will get free tickets to — where else — the fair!

2. Make sure to venture beyond the carnival rides. That’s where you’ll find your money disappears the fastest. The rides get more expensive every year. And there are many free attractions that kids will like equally as well.


3. Visit all the furry critters. I’m especially partial to the small animal buildings, home to bunnies of every color and other cute things.

3. Seek out indoor exhibits when it’s hot. Especially the garden displays. Ahhhh. Cool gurgling water.

4. Bring your own food! Yes, you are allowed to do this, and it gives the belly a nice break from those deep-fried Twinkies. (Tip 4. A. Try a deep-fried Twinky at least once in your life. Just to say you did it.) There are grassy areas and picnic tables.

5. Avoid the high parking fees. If you’re from out of town, take BART and then the fair shuttle (.85 cents for seniors/$1.75 for others; kids 6 & under free) from the station. If you live in town, there are a few sites nearby that charge less or some spots in various neighborhoods. Better yet, carpool with a friend. Or walk!

What are your fair tips???? Post ‘em here!

PS: I AM NOT SUGGESTING A BULLRIDE by including this pic. But ya gotta love a kid with guts to get on this thing. It actually makes snorty sounds. My kids are happy sitting in the bleachers with an ice cream cone watching others bite the dust, so to speak.

Note: This is a 2008 Alameda County Fair post. We’ve got 2009-specific tips and comments posted here.

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11 Responses to “FREE County Fair tickets for best tips”

  1. Matty Says:

    A money saving tip is to go on $2 Tuesdays, where every ticket is just $2. Or for families, go on Fridays when kids under 12 are free!

  2. Cathy Says:

    A good tip (also about food) is to bring healthy snacks like string cheese, fruit, water, etc in a soft-sided shoulder cooler and allow ONE fun treat to share at the fair. You’ll get the fair experience without breaking the bank or loosening your belt.

  3. Cathy Says:

    Oops, one more thing…bring a squirt bottle for those hot days. It feel great! :)

  4. Eric Says:

    - Bring insulated water bottles filled with ice and refill them at the water fountains.

    - Plan to go on a day that has a favorite musical act and then line up an hour early. Where else can you get front row seats for the admission price to the fair!

    - Go see the hillarious pig races and get there early to get a shady seat.

    - Listen to one of the kitchen demos in the commercial tent. Even if you don’t buy anything, these guys are hillarious and its a good place to rest from the heat.

    - Get up close to the fence during the horse races and watch the horses wizz past.

    - Wear sunblock & good shades

  5. Laura Says:

    For those persons wanting to save on parking and get some exercise, you can park beyond the “no parking” signs (about 1/2 mile from the fair) and walk in.

    When we first arrive, my husband and I head straight to the horse races and each place a bet–oftentimes one of us wins, and then we have $$ to spend for the rest of the day (no kidding!).

  6. Jennifer Says:

    Don’t forget your camera. It seems simple, but how many of us have seen a perfect picture opportunity and we reach for our camera to only realize we left it at home. Pictures of our kids petting the animals or those silly big races are memories that we won’t want to forget. So make sure to bring your camera. Don’t forget to make sure its charged and has film or extra space on your SD card.

  7. WILLIAM GOFF Says:

    I TAKE MY GRANDKIDS EVERYYEAR AND I MAKE IT A POINT TO PARK BY THE RIDES AND CARNIVAL SECTION. WE LIKE TO GET THERE FIRST THING IN THE MORNING BE ON OUR WAY HOME BEFORE THE MID AFTERNOON. WE GO TO RIDES FIRST AND THEY GET THAT OUT OF THEIR SYSTEM THEN WE HIT THE BATHROOMS AND GO TO THE EXHIBITS AND EAT OUR BAG LUNCHES AND I GET TO RELAX ON THE LAWN AREA AND WE EACH GET ONE SWEET TREAT. I MAKE SURE MY CAMERA IS READY AT ALL TIMES AND ON THE WAY OUT WE GO SEE THE ANIMALS. THEN HOME AND EVERYONE IS HAPPY.

  8. MAG PEREZ Says:

    I LIKE TO CHECK THE NEWSPAPERS AD FOR DISCOUNT TICKET SPECIALS AND ALWAYS CHECK ONLINE TO ORDER TICKETS IN ADVANCE AT A DISCOUNT PRICE. IF YOUR CHILDREN WANT TO RIDE THE RIDES GET THE DISCOUNT RIDE ALL DAY TICKET, INSTEAD OF BUYING A TICKET FOR EACH RIDE. GO ON RIDES BEFORE LUNCH SO NO ONE GETS AN UPSET STOMACH. ALWAYS TAKE EXTRA SUNSCREEN FOR THE KIDS. WRITE DOWN SECTION YOU PARKED IN BEFORE YOU GO IN FAIR SO YOU DON’T FORGET ON YOUR WAY OUT.

  9. Ann Smith Says:

    Make sure you where your sunscreen or a hat. Don’t want to burn being at the fair all day.

  10. Lindsay Says:

    My fiance and i always purchase the newspaper before entering the fair. It’s .50 cents and it will save you on admission, food and several other treats. It’s worth it, even if you just use it for admission.

  11. monique Says:

    If u have kids brimg a stroller or a wagaon so that they can rest and when they are ready to walk u can use it as a place to store things that u buy so that I don’t have to carry everything

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