It’s (almost) fair time!


You know the California State Fair is “Big Fun”… here is the nitty gritty first:

August 21-September 7
Monday thru Thursday 12PM-10PM
Weekends and Labor Day 10AM-10PM
General Admission $12 ($10 by August 19th)
Children aged 5-12 $8 ($6 by August 19th)
Children aged 0-4 are *FREE*

Now then, for the good stuff! (The freebies… because you know at ESM we’re all over those…)

  • Kids 12 and under get in free on Tuesdays and all rides are $1 rides for the whole family!
  • On Tuesday, August 25, men and women who serve our country as First Responders and as members of the Armed Forces get *FREE* admission to the Fair (with proper identification) in or out of uniform.
  • Kids in grades K-8 can read 3 books and get 3 FREE carnival rides. Just fill out a Read to Ride report form and redeem it at Guest Services for free rides at the Fair.
  • Come by the Forest Center all 18 days of the Fair and pick up a FREE tree, courtesy of the California Forest Products Commission. Teach your children about sustainability and the benefits of planting that tree.
  • For FREE food samples, just visit the Save Mart Supermarkets California Foodstyle building, presented by Health Craft in Expo Center # 2, any day of the Fair. Or visit the Dirt to Dish Outdoor Cooking Demonstration at The Farm on Fridays, Saturdays & Labor Day.
  • Milk a cow or a goat and make butter for free at California Ranchland. How cool is that???
  • Opening Day, Friday, August 21 is News10 Red Day. Be one of the first 5,000 in line wearing News10 Red and receive a limited edition FREE News10/State Fair beverage tote bag, courtesy of News10 and the State Fair! Gates open at 10 AM. First come, first served.
  • On Kids Day, Tuesdays, August 25 and September 1, Hunter Douglas will give away Child Safety Cord Cleats to the first 5,000 fair guests.
  • Tuesday, September 1 is Save Our Water Day at the State Fair. Be one of the first 1,000 families through the gate and receive a free water shower timer and “Save Our Water” goodie bag, courtesy of the California Department of Water Resources & ACWA.
  • On Kids Day, Tuesday, September 1 the Youth Exhibits team will be giving away a free donated book to youth ages 3 – 18 in Expo Center #1, starting at 12 PM, while supplies last.

So that concludes the free “stuff”, now here is a summary of the free activities…

  • All State Fair concerts are free with Fair admission. But there are a limited number of FREE seats at the Golden1 Stage. To claim your free seat, come to the Golden1 Stage at 4 PM on the day of the concert to receive a concert wristband.
  • “Farm Games” create an opportunity for fairgoers to participate in a variety of competitions ranging from corn husking to watermelon eating. This is a great setting for fairgoers to learn about California Agriculture in a fun and competitive environment. Competitions will be held daily at 12:30, 3:30 & 6:30 daily.
  • You can be a News10 Sportscaster and get your picture taken doing it…. free! Every day in the News10 booth in the California Building.
  • You can be Weird, Wild or Wacky in these FREE 5” x 7” Green Screen pictures, courtesy of Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel and the California State Fair. In the Weird, Wild & Wacky Zone.
  • Defenders of Freedom California Chapter, surrounding VFW Posts and the United States Postal Service have joined forces to underwrite “Operation Postcard: Support Our Troops.” This program is to honor those who are deployed overseas. Come write a personal message on one of our large vinyl postcards that will be mailed to all the different military branches. Located across from Hussong’s Cantina.
  • The California Family Fitness Kids Craft & Fitness Area will provide fair guests with a taste of Kidz Klub activities that currently take place at California Family Fitness locations. Activities include ‘make & take’ crafts, physical activities and much more, all designed to help motivate and encourage children to become active through creative play.
  • Kids 12 and under can receive a stamp towards their “Golden Passport to Fire Prevention” and receive a FREE Smokey the Bear Award by completing all the fire prevention tasks. Every day in Camp Smokey.
  • Follow this map and you will have taken 10,000 steps, the minimum amount of daily exercise recommended by health professionals. Pick up your FREE Walking Map any day at any of the information booths at the Fair.

Whew, there you have it. If you park across the street from Cal Expo and walk to the fair instead of paying $10 for parking you can actually make it a reasonably-priced family outing. Stay for the fireworks at 10PM (if your kids aren’t falling-apart-crabby-exhausted-piles-of-mush by then) and you’ll have had a fun-filled, culturally rich, educational and memorable day at the California State Fair.

Do you have any fair family traditions? Favorite attractions? Helpful hints? We would love to hear them. Leave us a comment!

For more information click here or call 916.263.3000 and as a bonus, you can click here for even more savings with fair coupons! Enjoy, and we’ll see you there!


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