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Not-so unfair Fair: Taking advantage of discounts
Posted Sept. 15, 2008

Between paying last minute tuition for fall semester, buying books and paying for parking permits, the beginning of the fall semester leaves students unwilling to part with extra cash. This presents a dilemma since one of the most anticipated annual phenomena of fun occurs this time of year: the Los Angeles County Fair.

The fair is in full swing from Sept. 5 through Sept. 28, and full price is an unfortunate $12 on weekdays and $17 on weekends. Exhibiting an excess of arcade games, rides and a selection of foods, the fair might lead one to believe that there is no way to make a thrifty outing.

Fortunately, with a little bit of effort, students can take advantage of the many discounts offered through various methods.

The first money-draining obstacle to get around is the $10 parking fee. University of La Verne boarders and commuters alike can take advantage of the Fairplex’s close proximity to campus and simply walk. Students can walk east on Arrow Highway from D Street, walk about 10 minutes and the parking lot, accompanied by heavy fair-goer traffic, is on the right.

Though the parking lot spans an impressive distance, which makes for an uncomfortable walk atop the sweltering asphalt on a hot California afternoon. Luckily there is a tram that runs every few minutes to pick up those who are unwilling or unable to walk. Simply hop aboard and you will find yourself at the ticket booth in no time.

Acquiring discount tickets is a matter of timing or perhaps an additional pick-up location depending on the method.

The easiest way for a college student to save on the fair is to embark on ‘College Days,’ which means showing up on a Thursday after 5 p.m. costs a mere $5 admission for students with college identification.

If you are not a student or want to go on a day other than Thursday, admission after 5 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays is only $5.

Don’t like time and day restrictions? For any-day admission, visit a local AT&T store and purchase $10 adult tickets (a $7 saving) and $6 child tickets (a $6 saving) for kids ages six through 12. Be careful though—don’t let those suave salespeople rope you into buying an iPhone. Remember your objective: you are here to save money!

Despite the lowered entrance fees, fair-goers should be aware that ride tickets come for an additional cost. One ride can require 3-9 tickets, which can be purchased at stands throughout the fair. But not to worry! After September 14, carnival tickets may be purchased online at lacountyfair.com to receive 10% more tickets than buying them at the fair. Carnival tickets will be sold online for $20 for 40, $50 for 100 and $100 for 200 tickets.

Do you fancy bundled deals? Visit a Ralph’s grocery store and pick up a bundle for $28 and receive two weekday admission tickets for Wednesday through Friday, two five-ride carnival tickets, two corn dogs and two 16 ounce soft drinks. Also included is a book of Ralph’s grocery coupons, for added incentive.

Have children, or know someone who does? Though fairs bring out the kid in all of us, but only those who are under 12 years old can receive child discounts. Every Friday, all kids are free with one full-price adult admission, which is $12 on a weekday.

Another option is to purchase a season pass online for $50 to receive the best bang for your buck. An online purchase is cheaper than buying a pass at the Fairplex.

As for the two days the fair is not open—Mondays and Tuesdays—do not fret! The fair still offers Monday Fan Appreciation Days! Though the bulk of the fair is recouping for the upcoming week, the horse track at Fairplex Park is open all day for free admission along with complimentary parking! Thank you, Los Angeles County Fair for the many ways you show appreciation for us loyal fair-goers.

Additional discounts and details can be found on the website, lacountyfair.com.

Lesley Michaels can be reached at: lesley.michaels@laverne.edu.