Going to the State Fair can be costly. With $8.50 turkey legs, and $5 beverages, it's like attending a sporting event at an arena. But unlike many of those sports arenas, there are deals to be had at the fair. Here's how you can stretch your dollar this year.
The best deal on something to drink can be found at the Board of Waterworks booth near the fountain in the middle of the fairgrounds. At the booth you stop by and drink as much ice cold water as you want, absolutely free of charge. But if water just doesn't do it for you, you can always pick up a 32 oz. fresh squeezed lemonade from the booth right next to them for $5.
Sure, you can get a $5 lemonade from one of several vendors at the fair. Why do I single out that booth in particular? Because at that booth, you can refill your 32 oz. of lemonade as many times as you want all fair long, for just $2, a better refill rate than any other lemonade vendor at the fair.
And second runner up for best beverage deal is the 44 oz. soda found only at the Vineland Food Stand, for just $4. Sorry, no refills on this one.
Food For Kids
Speaking of the Vineland Food Stand, this is where you will find some of the best deals on food, especially for kids. Here a grilled cheese sandwich is going for $2.75. Meanwhile, on the other side of the fairgrounds at Primetime, you can pick up a kids pack for $4. Inside the pack you'll get a small turkey or ham sandwich, a bag of chips or cheddar goldfish, a bag of cookies, and a juice drink.
Food For Adults
You can save a good amount of money at the fair, if you're into sharing meals. In most cases the portions are big enough to do so. With this in mind, the two best deals at the fair for adult food are the Super Beef Nachos for $6.50 at the union sponsored mexican food stand in the middle of the grounds and the $8 teriyaki chicken on a stick with rice or lo-mein at Chan's Chicken on a Stick.
Other options you have are the 2lb. burger that could feed up to four people, for $18.75 ($21 with cheese), and the steak sandwich meal at the german food vendor near the fountain. The $13 dollar steak sandwich meal comes with a ribeye steak on a bun with condiments and two sides, easily filling up two grown adults.
Whether it's ice-cream, cookies, cotton candy, or candied apples parents have a lot of choices when it comes to sweets at the fair. One of the best deals we found when it comes to after-dinner treats, or just something to beat the heat, is the .49 cents per ounce frozen yogurt stand. Building it as big as you like, and paying by the ounce, gives flexibility to parents both on their wallets and on how much sugar they want their children to have.
Another good option is the $3 giant cookie at the Kookie Kookies and Kream vendor. This soft, fresh baked cookie comes with chocolate chips or M&Ms. For adults, a delectable cheesecake on a stick, dipped in chocolate might just hit the spot, but it will cost you $5.
Finally, there is only one vendor at the fair selling real frozen lemonade. For just $3.75 you can get 16 oz. of frozen lemonade that's just right, not too sweet and not too sour. If the fresh-squeezed lemonade just isn't what you're craving, Thelma's Frozen Lemonade might be what you're looking for.
Getting into the fair can be cheaper than usual too, if you know what day you're planning to attend. Be sure to check out the fair's website to see what the discount opportunities are for admission for all of the remaining days of the fair, by clicking the link below.
Many fairgoers recommend bringing between $100-$125 for a family of four, to cover food, admission, rides at the carnival, and maybe a souvenir or vendor item if you see something you like. Most of the food vendors only accept cash, but several do allow for credit card purchases. However, they are scarce and cash is king at the fair. If you don't bring enough cash though, don't worry. There are ATMs at the Loaf 'n Jug Store on the south central side of the fairgrounds.