The Cheap Bastard's Guide to the State Fair
The air is thick with the sweet smell of fried Pepcid. The Texas Star Ferris wheel beckons your sweaty butt to its benches. As you read this, a kid is puking up a Fletcher's corny dog on the Midway, just as a yellow-naped parrot bird-diarrheas onto audience heads at the Birds of the World bird show. And somewhere in the depths of this fair-ness, a grandma is flipping off her grandma competitors as she wins a blue ribbon for her jarred sweet pickles for the 10th straight year.
That's right: Fried Christmas is finally, officially here. And this year, you're determined to have a front-row seat as the new Big Tex rises like a Jesus-phoenix from the ashes of his Gus Fring-ed face. You will hug New Big Tex's big-as-Ron Perlman's-big-ass-face boots. That hole in your heart will heal upon his return. And you will immediately reopen that heart hole by shoving booze and fried everything into it.
But if you're not careful, the fair can drain your bank account faster than you can say, "Holy crap, how did I just spend $100 on balloon darts?" Admission is $17. Parking is $15. And all that deep-fried magic? It'll take as many dollars from your wallet as it will years off your life.
Fortunately, I'm a fair veteran and a noted cheap-ass, and I'm here to help you tame this beautiful beast without letting it punch you in the gut place, dry hump your wallet and put its creepy mustache on your bank account's privates. We're about to extreme-coupon the shit out of the fair, y'all. Hold onto your butts.
Yes, it is possible to spend zero total dollars at the State Fair of Texas without pretending you work there or holding it up with the help of your local militia ("I am not playing around here, people. LET ME THROW THIS BALL AT THAT FAKE MILK BOTTLE OR I WILL STEAL EVERY LAST DROP OF THE FRYER OIL IN THIS BITCH"). It also may be the most challenging and fun option (and by "fun" I mean "it'll earn you a fried case of chlamydia").
State Fair of Texas All will be revealed.
Here's how it works:
Parking Budget: $0
Park somewhere free -- your favorite hooker's apartment, say, or on the front lawn of some dude who's charging but not you because you showed him your good boob -- and walk to the fair. Considering the caloric damage you're about to do to your insides, the post-fair walk will be necessary anyway. That goes for your toddlers, too, whom you can regale with nostalgic tales of walking to school and back uphill both ways through eight feet of dog shit.
Or just have a friend drop you off. Or just cut the crap and teleport.
Admission Budget: $0
Ask around: Someone's work or school probably scores free tickets, assuming you have friends who work or school. Or bring any Cinemark movie ticket stub -- I'm bringing the stub from when I peed my pants at Blair Witch Project -- and get free admission to the fair on Thursdays. Or go on Dickies Day (October 3) wearing a clothing item with the Dickies logo. It doesn't say you can't print a Dickies logo on a loincloth and get in free, so do that. And immediately Instagrammit.
Food Budget: $0
If you've ever bought a water at the fair, punch yourself in the tit right now. Then open your brain for a second and remember this important informational shit: You can bring your own cooler full of food and drink. No glass bottles, drugs or booze, though, so fill a rolling cooler with a gallon of Goldfish, a 12-pack of Red Bull, some jerky, a stick of Rolos, a brick of Crisco, pita chips and hummus, and you're set for a totally free food day that'll jack your insides up just like a full fried fair day would, but for free-er.
What's that? Chugging a brick of Crisco isn't as romantic as eating fried butter? You desperately want to try Fried Thanksgiving, which just won the award for Most Creative at the 2013 Big Tex Choice Awards, and you want it for free? Hit on a stranger and prepare to pay dearly, possibly in the back of a Yukon in the Automobile Building (Crisco optional).
Rides Budget: $0
Obviously you could go to the fair and ride zero rides and really not miss out on anything (except the chance to vomit a fried-beer buffet on passersby, a cherished fair pastime). But if you're set on riding a ride and not paying for it, an alternative option to our Boning a Stranger for Free Stuff Technique (patent pending) is the oft-forgotten BYOMILF technique.
Step 1: Bring a MILF. If you don't know one, go to Fearing's, ask if anyone has change for a $100, beat the ugliest MILFs off of you (these are also known as just moms you'd like to dry hump, or MILDHs) and take the best one with you in your pocket to the fair.
Step 2: Once you are at the fair with your MILF, ride on her MILFy coattails as she gets free rides just for looking ILF-able. This technique does not -- I repeat, does not -- work with DILFs.