INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Some people call the Indiana State Fair the best 17 days of summer. Those days have arrived as the fairground opened its gates Friday morning for games, food, rides and fun.
"We're going to try to do everything we can at least until we get tired and sunburned,” said Indianapolis resident Mike Cardwell.
Cardwell has friends visiting from Belgium. He says the fair is the best way to show them what central Indiana is all about.
But there are some who come for free items and deals which can make your money go a long way, especially if you have a big family.
"Well, we buy tickets ahead of time and wristbands ahead of time. With food and stuff maybe a couple of hundred a piece per family,” said Ingalls resident Jaymee Ayers.
Ayers says her family of 12 has attended the fair for the last 15 years. She says they brought four generations and usually spend about $400 to $500 in tickets and wristbands.
Troy Mason from Taswell agreed, while his party of six enjoyed a few turkey legs.
"I'd say on an average we'll eat lunch here and it probably cost us 35 to 40 bucks for three of us," said Mason.
For those who are looking to save a little bit more, there are 100 FREE THINGS you can do. Those include a DNR Kids Fishing Pond, Animal Town, Putt-Putt, and even a meet and greet with your favorite superhero or Marvel character. There’s a lot more, but there are also deals.
"There are many discount days. $2 Tuesday is always popular every Tuesday during the fair. Admission is $2, parking is $2, food is $2. It's a great deal," said Sharon Smith, Director Of Communications for the Indiana State Fair Commission.
And there’s a free concert daily at 7:30 p.m.
Mason has some advice for big families traveling to the fair this year.
"Take advantage of the discount days. If you can find some stands that have some free things, take advantage of them. Stay away from the high-priced food,” said Mason.
Early purchase options are no longer available. Tickets are $13 and kids 5 and under are free. Next week the Indiana State Fair will have discounted days for military, veterans, and first responders.
Everything you need to know about free activities and promotional days can be found here.