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Delaware State Fair: What to know about tickets, parking and more

Thursday, July 23 to Saturday, Aug. 1

Emily Lytle
Dover Post
The Delaware State Fairgrounds are on Route 13 just south of Harrington

Melt-in-your mouth carnival food, a rainbow of swirling lights and the sounds of farm animals mixing with the excited chatter of a summer night. These things might have you counting down the days to the Delaware State Fair. As the tradition continues this year, we compiled a few things you might want to know.

Getting there

The fairgrounds are just south of Harrington on Route 13. The address is 18500 S. DuPont Highway Harrington, DE 19952.

Hours and tickets

The fair is open every day between Thursday, July 23 and Saturday, Aug. 1, weather permitting. Gates open at noon July 23 and close at 11 p.m. Every other day the gates open at 8 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. 

The price for entering the fairgrounds depends on the time people pass through the gates. People can buy one-day tickets for a specific time frame on the website. There is a 50-cent online fee.

  • 8-11 a.m.: Free (no ticket needed)
  • 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Discounted ($4.50 for ages 13 and up; $2 for ages 6-12; free for ages 5 and under)
  • 4 p.m. to close: Full price ($9 for ages 13 and up; $4 for ages 6-12; free for ages 5 and under)

Tickets are available at the gate, but online ticketholders will likely get through more quickly. Another option is a five-day ticket ($30 for ages 13 and up), which allows entrance for one adult per day. 

For group tickets, call the box office at 302-398-5020. Groups of 20 or more can save $2 off each adult ticket.

Parking

Parking is free, unless you want to reserve a VIP spot. For a 10-day VIP parking pass, register online and pay $100 per parking spot. Reserving a parking spot for a single day costs $20 for a pass with a $1 online fee. These spots are close to the front gate and make for a quicker exit onto Route 13. 

While VIP spots are often quickly sold out, the cancellation of the fair’s big concerts means there are still some left, said Danny Aguilar, assistant general manager and director of marketing for the Delaware State Fair.

Agricultural exhibits and contests are a staple of the Delaware State Fair

Special days

Food Lion Hunger Relief Day: Monday, July 27

Anyone who brings in five Food Lion brand nonperishable food items will get free gate admission. All canned goods benefit the local Food Bank of Delaware.

Aguilar said this day is less about free admission and more about helping the community, especially this year as the pandemic has placed greater demand on food banks.

“It’s more of a food drive to help the Food Bank of Delaware, to help them replenish and restock the shelves,” he said. In its best year, the fair collected 25,000 pounds of food in one day. 

Governor’s Day: Thursday, July 30

Gov. John Carney will visit the fair with Ms. Delaware and other local celebrities. There is a special list of activities for this day. 

Some other special discount days are not happening to simplify this year. While Aguilar said seniors will likely come earlier for discounted admission, the organizers did not want to host discounted Senior Days, which might provide an extra incentive for people who might otherwise decide to stay home. 

Rides 

Carnival rides open at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 23 and every other day at 1 p.m. Opening and closing times could depend on weather and extreme heat. 

An unlimited ride pass for a weekday is $20 and can be used Thursday, July 23 or Monday, July 27 through Thursday, July 30. An unlimited ride pass for any day is $25.

For more early bird specials, visit https://delawarestatefair.com/10-days-fair/carnival.

Plan ahead

While the large-venue concerts have been canceled, there are still many activities and shows on the fairgrounds. 

Aguilar recommended people reserve seats online for the Circus Hollywood, Disc-Connected K-9s, Hollywood Racing Pigs and the camel show. There is no cost for this reservation, and it will help people avoid waiting in lines and ensure a seat in shows that may limit attendees due to social distancing.

Most of the shows have been shortened slightly to allow for multiple performances throughout the day, with a goal of smaller crowds.

For more, visit https://delawarestatefair.com.