How to visit the fair on a budget

SAVINGS. A little advance planning goes a long way. Find free entertainment, discounted tickets, and more at this year’s New Jersey State Fair.

| 28 Jul 2023 | 12:00

At a time when prices for everything have gone up, the fair offers plenty of free entertainment and ticket discounts for a daylong visit. A little advance planning will help cut corners.


When tickets are purchased day-of at the gate, admission prices are $15 for ages 13-59, $10 for seniors 60 and up, and $5 for ages 6-12.

Admission for children 5 and under is always free.

Advance tickets purchased prior to Thursday, Aug. 3 are available at a discounted rate: $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for ages 6-12. They are available online at or in-person at Sussex County Fairgrounds Administrative Building, Yetter’s Diner, Dale’s Market, North Country Pharmacy and Lakeland Bank.

For those planning to come to the fair with a group or on multiple days, a VIP nine-day book of passes is available for $80. Each pass is valid to be used any day, but the book must be purchased prior to Aug. 3.

Special days at the fair offer special admission prices. Tuesday, Aug. 8 is Children’s Day with $4 admission at the gate for children 6-12. Thursday, Aug. 10 is Senior Day with $4 gate admission for seniors 60 and up. Wednesday, Aug. 9 is Celebrate America Day: gate admission is free for both veterans and first responders, $10 for adults, and $4 for children.


What’s a fair without rides? The carnival is open every day from noon to closing. Again, planning ahead will lead to discounts.

Megapasses, which include admission and carnival rides all day, can be purchased prior to Aug. 4. For those 13 and older, the Megapass is $30. For children 6-12, the Megapass is $25. They can be used any one day.

Rides will be $1 each on the opening evening of the Fair, Friday, Aug. 4 from 5 p.m. to close.

Carnival wristbands are available at the gate for $30 on Monday, Aug. 7 from noon to close, and do not include admission. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (Aug. 8-10), carnival wristbands are available at the gate from noon to 6 p.m. for $25 each and do not include admission.


What would a visit to the fair be without classic fair food? If you are planning on having a meal, the non-profit groups with food stands at the fairgrounds offer the best bang for your buck. Hot dogs, hamburgers, corn, fries, bratwurst and roast beef sandwiches are all available at local booths. The proceeds support the organizations and their charitable contributions.


There is plenty of free entertainment included with the price of admission. The Family Entertainment Area has a schedule of performances throughout the afternoon and evening. The Performing Arts Tent features music, including Thursday’s Polka Night. The Horse Show offers free bleacher seating.

Attendees can visit The Milking Parlor for free, where they can watch farmers milk dairy cows on a daily schedule.

There are also six barns full of animals to visit.

The Sussex County Fairgrounds is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It receives no funding from the county or state.