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I Spy Discounts! How To Fair On A Budget


I don’t consider myself thrifty or frugal, but I AM selective with how I spend my hard earned cash.  I definitely appreciate the finer things in life and place tremendous value on great experiences and amazing, good times. There are definitely things that must be added into this equation like bills, groceries, braces for the kids, car maintenance, home repairs and vet bills (for the dog that eats EVERYTHING), which affect an ever-diminishing budget.  I know I’m not alone. Your expenses might look a little different, but I’m guessing we have a lot in common.  So how can you afford those finer things and amazing good times when you don’t have unlimited funds?  GO TO THE FAIR.


Let’s start at the beginning.  You have to get here, right?  If you’re driving yourself, get discounted parking when you pre-purchase BEFORE the first day of Fair. I know I know, we’re two weeks in already.  Plan to save. Next year, remember to jump on the Fair website before the first day to take advantage of that discount.  Don’t worry, you can thank me in 2020.

If you’re a public transit guru, you’re saving already.  But did you know that the Fair partners with Wheels Bus to provide direct service from BART to the Fairgrounds?  You can also get 2 for 1 admission tickets on all buses and at the Downtown Livermore Transit Center.  Look at you, saving time and money!


Speaking of admission, there are so many discounted admission promotions that it’s hard to keep track.  Get to the Fair before 5pm on certain days and get discounted or even FREE admission.  Some days you can even score discounts on carnival rides.  Wednesdays are “drive” days.  From food drives to clothing drives, bring a little and get a lot.  Not only are you helping others but it’s good for the soul, and your pocketbook.

There is a special promo on July 4th where all First Responders get in free and for all you Veterans out there, you guys are free every day! You can check out discounted and free admission promos here: Or, follow the Alameda County Fair on Facebook for special offers and giveaways, get deals on Groupon, LocalGruv or join the Fair newsletter for notices on discounts.

candy apple

The top reason ya’ll visit the Fair is for the food.  Bigger, better, crazy, deep-fried, funky goodness.  You know you love it and you look forward to it from the time the Fair moves out of Pleasanton until it returns the following year.  If you consider yourself a foodie, have yourself a Costco style sample sesh by checking out the $2 Tastes on Thursdays. Why limit yourself to one pterodactyl size turkey leg when you can cram in a whole smorgasbord of scrumptiousness? Can’t make it on Thursday?  Walk the aisles of the retail shopping buildings and sample the dips, salsas, nuts, etc.  You can satisfy that after dinner sweet tooth with a huge piece of cake from the 4-H Cake Booth in Building A for only $2.75 and wash it down with a carton of milk for only $2.00 more. Score.


Looking for some top-notch entertainment at a great price?  Aside from all of the fantastic programming the Fair has to offer, such as competitive exhibits, animal showcases, Esports, STEAM education, roaming grounds acts, stage performances, food eating contests (say it with me…more free food), action sports, horse racing (etc., etc.), you can catch some phenomenal concerts for next to nothing.  Purchase a full price, reserved seat for as little as $15 and your admission is included (make sure you do this before hitting the admission gates), plus you get to see a great show! Word on the street is that if you show up to the Amphitheater early you might have a chance at winning some free swag or lower level seats. After the concert there is more entertainment, a short, heartwarming video dedicated to our wonderful community (Psst, that’s you guys) and a mini firework show nightly.

No matter what strikes your fancy or floats your boat, there is something at the Fair for YOU. There are many places you can spend your money this summer, but at the Fair you’ll get a lot more bang for your buck.  Plus, you’ll walk away with some great experiences and an amazing good time.