Minnesota State Fair 2021: Scoring Free and Discounted Tickets

It’s a pretty widely accepted fact: If you plan to tote a family along for a day at the Minnesota State Fair, you’re going to come home with a considerably lighter wallet. The skewered foods are tempting, the Midway & Kidway are calling, the deals are hot and, oh yes, there are those admission tickets to consider. If you’ve been keeping up with the latest and greatest from the State Fair, you probably know that admission prices have been raised for 2021.

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2021 State Fair Ticket Prices

$16/adults (13-64)
$14/seniors (65+)
$14/kids (5-12)
Free/under 5

Did you purchase an advance ticket to the State Fair in 2020 (only to have your heart broken when it was cancelled for the first time since 1946?) Your 2020 gate admission ticket will be valid for the 2021 fair. Simply bring your ticket(s) with you and get it scanned at any Fair entrance gate.

Purchase your 2021 Minnesota State Fair tickets in advance for a discount

Now, the prices of food and whatnot are beyond our control. (Though I suppose you could vow to consume nothing at the Fair, but who does that?) (Hey – I do that! We always bring a well-planned, tasty picnic with us! – Joy) There are, however, some surefire ways to save more than a few bucks on admission tickets. I assure you I use every one of the strategies listed below as I’m now in possession of four paying kiddos at the gate:

Purchase pre-Fair discount admission tickets – $13/all ages. These are available in person at the State Fair ticket office through Aug 25, 2021 (1741 Como Avenue).  Tickets are also available participating Cub Foods locations through Aug 25, 2021. Discounted ride & game tickets, and Blue Ribbon Bargain Books are sold at these sites as well. Special note: the State Fair does not accept discount admission tickets to cover the cost of on-site parking. The charge to park this year is $16, cash only at the gate.

Take advantage of 2021 Minnesota State Fair Discount Days

If possible, plan to come on one of the following Promotional Days at the Minnesota State Fair to save a few dollars per ticket (which can quickly add up to significant dollars for families!):

  • Thursday, Aug 26: Opening Day – $14/adults & seniors, $11/kids, specials on ride tickets
  • Monday, Aug 30: Seniors Day – $11/seniors, others full price. Specials on ride tickets. Bring the grandparents!
  • Tuesday, Aug 31: Military Appreciation Day – $11/active or retired members plus their spouses and kids. Valid ID required. Early bird specials on ride tickets.
  • Wednesday, Sept 1: Kids Day – $11/kids, others full price, specials on ride tickets.
  • Thursday, Sept 2: Seniors Day – $11/seniors, others full price. Early bird specials on ride tickets.
  • Monday, Sept 6: Kids Day – $11/kids, others full price, specials on ride tickets.

Free Minnesota State Fair tickets – past library programs

2021: Ramsey County Library’s Bookawocky program historically earned kids ages 5 – 11 who completed a summer activity booklet a pack of prizes including one State Fair admission ticket. This program is not available in 2021 – we hope to see it return in the future as it was helpful for our family to save money attending the Minnesota State Fair.

Several other county libraries have participated in the Bookawocky program by entering your child’s name in a drawing to win prizes that may often Fair tickets. Be sure to check if your local library participates.

Volunteer at the Minnesota State Fair in exchange for free tickets


Volunteer at the Fair – at one of many fun locations and receive complimentary gate admission as thanks. No, it’s not always convenient (but it is possible!) to bring kids along to volunteer. Consider signing up for an early shift, then plan to have another caregiver bring the kids to join you in the afternoon. To practice what we preach, Family Fun Twin Cities helped out in the Alphabet Forest in 2014 and at Little Farm Hands in 2015. Click any of the following links to see how you can get involved.

Alphabet Forest

Our first crack at volunteering at the Fair with kids was at the Alphabet Forest exhibit in 2014. The kids enjoyed duties right alongside us promoting literacy activities and local authors.

Minnesota State Fair Discounts: Scoring Free & Discounted Ticke

Little Farm Hands 

FFTC invited Twin Cities-area families to come volunteer alongside us at the 2015 Fair. You do NOT, however, need to be with an organization to volunteer your time. Shifts are about 3 hours long and include guiding families through the mock farm exhibit. Once your shift has been completed, you are free to enjoy the Fair!

Minnesota State Fair Discounts: Scoring Free & Discounted Ticke

MN State Fair Foundation 

Anne was super excited to volunteer for the Minnesota State Fair Foundation for the first time in 2019 and will be returning in 2021. While this is NOT an opportunity fit for kids, she will earn a free admission ticket for each 4-hour shift served.

Other places to look into volunteering at the Minnesota State Fair:

Do YOU have any other tips or tricks for scoring Minnesota State Fair Discounts or FREE tickets? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.

For more State Fair 2021 planning, try our list of 50 Things To Do at the Minnesota State Fair.

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12 thoughts on “Minnesota State Fair 2021: Scoring Free and Discounted Tickets”

    1. Thanks for the idea, Lisa, it’s a very good one! I didn’t know for several years that my own husband could purchase discounted tickets through his work.

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    1. Yes! That one was fun, although I recall being worn out by the end of that day. You can guarantee your kids will sleep well.

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