After epic flooding canceled the event in 2011, the 2012 Bloomsburg Fair is tightening its hold on your wallet. The fair runs Saturday, September 22 through Saturday, September 29, 2012. Admission this year will be $8, up from $5 in 2010. Parking at the Bloomsburg fairgrounds will be $5, with free shuttles to the gates. Also, the previously free “pre-fair” night will now cost $3 for admission, with free parking that night only. Below are some tips from a Bloomsburg native, with twenty seven years of fair going experience, to help you save some money this year.
- While the fair doesn’t offer coupons, you can buy advanced admission tickets (available through September 15, 2012) for $7 each or 8 tickets for $48. These can be purchased at Giant Supermarkets or the Grandstand Ticket Office.
- Although it is no longer free, the “pre-fair” night on September 21, with $3 admission and free parking, is still the cheapest day to attend. Be aware, however, because the fair has not officially started, some vendors, exhibits and rides may not be open.
- Kids under twelve are always admitted free, so slip your thirteen or fourteen-year-old in by lying. I leave the moral issue to your conscience.
- Senior citizens (over 65 with ID) get in for free on Monday, September 24.
- Military personnel past and present (with military ID) get in free on Monday, September 24.
- Students aged 13-18 (with school ID) get in for free Tuesday, September 25 and Friday, September 28.
- Get there early, by eight in the morning, to find free parking on the street.
- Park at the Bloomsburg Memorial Elementary School (corner of 5th and Market streets). Parking was $3 in 2010, with proceeds benefiting student clubs. The lot is a short three block walk to the fairgrounds.
- Follow signs for local parking. Many people who live near the fairgrounds offer cheap parking in their backyards. While it is “park at your own risk” most homeowners stay at home the entire day, to ensure no one parks without paying, and thus keep a pretty good eye on the cars parked on their property.
- If you have favorite food stalls or vendors, subscribe to their Facebook pages. Many stands will offer coupons to their Facebook friends.
- Subscribe to the Bloomsburg Fair Facebook page, which sometimes offers coupons for vendors at the fair.
- Check Bloomsburg’s local newspaper, The Press Enterprise, for special deals and coupons.
- Attend with several other people and agree on who will buy what food, then share it amongst yourselves. You’ll get to taste more and spend less.
- If you absolutely can’t stomach the new admission prices, go to the Covered Bridge Festival at Knoebels Amusement Resort, October 4-7, 2012. Many of the same food vendors set up there, but there is no charge for admission or parking.
- Shop late in the week when many vendors put their items on sale.
- Don’t buy from the first vendor you see. Often, many stalls contain the same or similar products for wildly different prices. This works for the food vendors too.
- Ask yourself, “how much would this prize cost at Walmart?” before you slap down those dollars at the game stalls. Prizes, like those tiny goldfish in colored water, can be purchased for less than the cost of just one game.
- Go to the shows on the free stage. There will also be a free high dive show, dock dogs competition, and big cat encounter this year.
- Buy the bleacher seats for grandstand shows, that way when it rains (and it will) you aren’t down on the expensive track seats getting soaked.
- Don’t buy a ticket at all. Instead, hang around outside of the Grandstand. You’ll be able to hear all the concerts, and depending on where you stand, you may be able to see the jumbo screen.
For more information, including a schedule of the free shows, please go to the Bloomsburg Fair website.