As the season draws to a close and school starts back up, many Alaskans look for their last hurrah of summer. For some, that means a trip to the Alaska State Fair.
Channel 2 will be at the fair Thursday, the official first day, but for those planning their trips and trying to decide which day to bring out the family, we have you covered.
The most important information to know about the fair, aside from where to buy deep-fried Oreos, is how and when to get there.
Fair veterans may have their own routes to to avoid the traffic and parking bottleneck at the fairgrounds, but newcomers need to find the fair first. The sprawling fairgrounds are located outside of Palmer at mile 40 on the Glenn Highway, specifically located at 2075 Glenn Hwy.
The fair will open on August 23 and run until September 3, the last day of the fair. Doors open at noon on Monday through Friday, and at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sunday, and Labor Day. It closes at 10 p.m. each day except Labor Day, which closes at 8 p.m.
The fair offers a number of sales and incentives to help people save some money. Full ticket prices are available on the fair website, and can be bought in advance to save a few dollars than at-the-gate purchases on the day you visit.
Aside from that, some days at the fair will get you or family members in for free or nearly free.
On Thursday, the first day of the fair, admission is just 2$ between noon and 2 p.m. Organizers are accepting two shelf-stable food items as a donation during that time, which is “encouraged,” according to the fair’s website.
Saturday, Aug. 25, is “Family Day” at the fair, where kids 12 and under get $2 off their ticket price with the suggested donation.
Friday Aug. 24 is a free day for kids 12 years old and under, making it a good bargain day for bigger families with multiple younger children in tow.
In addition to the special days, the fair is selling military discount tickets on base, and a Military Appreciation Day is scheduled for Sunday, Sep. 2, where tickets will be $5 for all military personnel and a number of their dependents.
A similar “appreciation day” will allow police, firefighters, and EMS personnel to get $5 admission on Sep. 3.
These deals and more, including bulk ticket pricing, can be found on the fair discounts page of its website.
For many, fair food isn’t just a bare necessity to fill you up and give you energy for the day, it’s a big highlight of the fair experience.
Whether you want something healthy (or almost aggressively unhealthy), locally grown, newly invented, or an old favorite, fair food has you covered.
The fair’s website has a specific section where you can narrow down your choices, including a filter for vegetarian and even vegan, gluten-free, and other dietary restricted options.
Planning your trip to the fair may also depend on whether there’s a specific performance you’re aiming to see, which may only be limited to one day.
Headliners this year for musical acts include Goo Goo Dolls and Three Dog Night, with other acts available throughout the fair period. Comedian Jim Gaffigan will also be returning to the fair this year.
Like the food, a full list of musicians and entertainers can be found
While those performers require separate tickets, other forms of entertainment at the fair do not. A list of attractions, ranging from the livestock showcase (and auction), petting zoo, produce weigh-off, and arts and crafts co-op are located on the fair site.
If shopping and animals aren’t your thing, and you’re looking for more high-octane entertainment like the monster truck rally or demolition derby, those can be found on the entertainment portal too.
For those interested in even more adrenaline than that, there are always the rides. The Alaska State Fair’s carnival rides have been assembled, and this year the special ride wristbands will be available for any selected day for a flat fee of $50.