Photo courtesy Arizona State Fair Photo courtesy Arizona State Fair

The fried Twinkies and turkey legs are calling our names.

One of metro Phoenix’s most beloved fall traditions has returned: the Arizona State Fair is happening now through Oct. 30 from Thursdays through Sundays. If you’ve ever been, you know the state fair is truly a smorgasbord for the senses. 

General admission tickets cost $15 each. On Oct. 14, 21, and 28 from noon to 6 p.m., you can bring in 10 cans of non-perishable food to benefit St. Mary’s Food Bank and receive free admission. Ride and game tickets are available for a separate fee.

Here’s what to see, do and eat at the fair. 

Order a Cinnamon Toast funnel cake—and other classic fair foods

Image via Arizona State Fair

One of the main attractions that keeps people returning to the fair time and time again is classic fair food. The fair’s website even proclaims that it’s “Now open for fried fun on a stick.”

Dive into funnel cake dusted with powdered sugar, fried Twinkies, turkey legs, deep-fried Snickers, and hot dogs galore. 

A few food highlights include: a colossal eight-inch plate-sized donut at Texas Donut. Another novelty at this year’s fair is the Cinnamon Toast funnel cake. If you want to go high-end, there’s an option for you. Piggly’s Seafood is serving a lobster roll and lobster fries. 

And because fair food is typically known for its enormous portion sizes, you may want to check out Taste of the Fair Fridays. For just $3 each, you can sample small sizes of Fair Favorites from noon to 6 p.m. Every fair stand will offer at least one $3 food item. 

Be enamored by a circus performance

Image via Arizona State Fair

From Sept. 29 to Oct. 9, watch a vibrant performance of the Omnium Circus’ “I’m Possible.”

In this show, a young boy dreams of joining the circus. Expect aerial artistry, flying hula hoops, a free-standing ladder, and other circus tricks.

Keep in Mind: This is a separate ticket. Purchase of a circus ticket includes admission to the fair. 

Get up close and personal with a miniature donkey

Image via Arizona State Fair

The fair is home to the Great American Petting Zoo, which takes place at the Agricultural Center. Look forward to getting up close to a variety of (mostly) farm animals. You might see cows, ducks, donkeys, goats, donkeys, sheep, billy goats, chickens, colorful birds, llamas, pigs, and more.

Pro Tip: The fair is also known for its Oasis Camel Dairy where you can milk camels. Yes! 

Experience zero gravity and more thrills on carnival rides 

Image via Arizona State Fair

Kids—or kids at heart—will delight in riding on various carnival rides. They can take a spin on the carousel, enjoy the mini bumper cars, stand in a zero gravity machine, ride two different Ferris wheels, or slide down the colorful 42-inch Euroslide. Take in a bird’s eye view of the entire fairgrounds if you take the Skyride chairlift. 

Learn more about individual rides here. Ride tickets are sold separately. Guests can purchase wristbands for $50 and get unlimited rides on Thursdays. 

Free Ride: Additionally, kids can get up to three free rides for reading books. One book read equals one free ride. A parent, teacher, or guardian will need to sign the Official Red and Ride Report available here to score this deal. 

Listen to live music

Photo courtesy Arizona State Fair

Included with admission is the Backyard Concert Series. Fair-goers can enjoy live music from tribute bands like Super Diamond, a tribute to Neil Diamond, on Oct. 27, and Green Today, a tribute to Green Day, on Oct. 28. 

Here’s a complete list of artists slated to perform. All of the tribute bands perform at the Backyard Stage. 

Be astounded at a magic show and other live entertainment

Image via Arizona State Fair

The fair hosts an array of dynamic entertainers. From Oct. 20 to Oct. 30, see Godfrey the Magician at the Carnival Stage. Watch ventriloquist Joe Gandelman perform on the Carnival Stage and around the fairgrounds on Oct. 30. Attendees can even watch a Paradise Perch Bird Show. 

Get your holiday shopping done early

Fair-goers can also shop for products from a variety of vendors at a few places on the grounds. Find shoes, leather goods, homemade fudge, mattresses, patio furniture, holiday gifts, and more at the Shopping Pavilion and the Hangout, both on the south side of the grounds. You can also find more vendors under the Grandstand at the Mercado. 

Bonus: The Hangout also features a bar and even arm wrestling contests.

Chat up some creators about their artwork

Photo courtesy Arizona State Fair

Head inside the Coliseum to see a variety of artwork from artists competing for ribbons. See sculptures, quilts, fine art wood carvings, chalk art, painting, and photography displayed throughout.

You also can watch demos here. See chef whip up baked good—and maybe even sample some—or learn how to knit and crochet. 

Scream your support for the entertainers willing to brave monster trucks and bull-riding

Image courtesy Arizona State Fair

On the closing weekend of the fair, you can watch Monster Trucks tear it up at the Grandstand from Oct. 28 to 30. On Oct. 22, watch Xtreme Arizona Bull Riding. See the rodeo on Oct. 7, 14, Oct. 15, and Oct. 21. These events are included with the price of admission, and all take place at the Grandstand. 

Visit azstatefair.com for more information and to purchase tickets. 

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