The Pima County Fair is one of Southern Arizona’s largest and most anticipated annual events with nearly 250,000 visitors over an 11 day period.
People from all over the county come to see wacky and wonderful shows, to sing along with their favorite bands, to squeal with laughter on carnival rides, and to eat the kind of greasy and sugary fare that only comes around once per year.
Mark your calendars for April 19-29 – and read on to find out what to expect and how to save money at the 2018 fair.
What are the dates for the 2018 Pima County Fair?
Thursday, April 19, 2018 through Sunday, April 29, 2018
What is the location of the Pima County Fair?
Pima County Fairgrounds, 11300 S. Houghton Rd., Tucson
What are the hours?
Main Gate Hours:
- Monday-Friday: 1:00pm – close (approximately 11:00pm)
- Sat-Sunday: 10:00am – close (approximately midnight)
- Monday-Friday: 3:00pm -close (approximately 11:00pm)
- Sat-Sunday: 11:00am – close (approximately midnight)
Why would I go to the Pima County Fair?
- To ride the 60+ rides – ferris wheels, roller coasters, giant slides, flying swings
- To see your favorite bands and musicians in concert
- To wander through the livestock barns with the kids
- To admire the artwork, culinary creations, and sewing projects of local Tucsonans
- To munch on Indian fry bread, pizza on a stick, onion rings, funnel cake, cotton candy, and other fare
What shows are on the agenda for the 2018 Pima County Fair?
- Amazing World of Birds
- Bengal Tiger Exhibit
- Blacksmith Shop
- Budweiser Clydsedales
- Camel Questions
- Fables of the West
- High Country Carving
- NASA Space Exhibits
- Pig Races
- Sea Lion Encounters
- Washboard Willy
- Wild Life Experience Show
- Great American Pony Rides
What bands/musicians will be performing at the 2018 Pima County Fair?
- Ludacris 4/19
- Everclear and Anthrax 4/20
- Randy Houser 4/21
- I Love The 90’s 4/22
- Jefferson Starship 4/23
- MercyMe 4/25
- Ja Rule and Ashanti 4/26
- Reo Speedwagon 4/27
- Easton Corbin 4/28
- Banda El Recodo 4/29
How much does admission cost?
- General Admission: $9
- Military: $5
- Children 6-10: $5
- Children 5 & Under: FREE
- Parking: $5
Concerts are included with fair admission. A limited number of upgraded seats are available to purchase at the fair on a first-come, first-served basis. Limited bleacher seating is free and also available first-come, first-served. Audio or video recording of performances is prohibited.
Are there any discounts and/or coupons for the 2018 Pima County Fair?
- Thursday, April 19: Pepsi Wristband Day! Purchase a $35.00 wristband for unlimited carnival rides 3:00pm to midnight.
- Sunday, April 22: Free Admission until noon with three cans of unopened food.
- Monday, April 23: $2.00 Parking! $2.00 Admission! Also – Free wheel and carousel rides for ages 55+.
- Tuesday, April 24: $2.00 rides and games after 3:00pm.
- Wednesday, April 25: Pepsi Wristband Day! Purchase a $35.00 wristband for unlimited carnival rides 3:00pm to midnight. Also – select $2 menu items & beers.
- Thursday, April 26: Pepsi Wristband Day! Purchase a $35.00 wristband for unlimited carnival rides 3:00pm to midnight.
- Sunday, April 29: Free Admission until noon with three cans of unopened food.
What is the parking situation?
Plentiful – $5 per vehicle (cash only). The parking lots have signs in the rows of parking to help you remember where you parked and are included on the map. Shuttle transportation is available in the parking lots 3:00pm – 9:00pm on weekdays and 11:00am – 9:00pm on weekends. You can also download the Pima County Fair App when you park to pin your vehicle location.
What are typically the most and least crowded days of the fair?
Wednesday, Thursdays and weekends of the fair are highly attended for the Wristband Day promotions and concerts. Upgrade your ride purchase by $20.00 to a FASTPASS on these days and get into the FASTPASS carnival ride lane for faster fun! If you are at the fair to enjoy all that the fair has to offer but don’t care for carnival rides, consider attending on a Friday or Monday to avoid the crowds.
Avoid peak traffic time and lines by planning to arrive at the fair by 2:00pm.
What should I wear?
Temperatures in Tucson in mid-April range from 49°F to 86°F, often with blue skies and lots of sun. The temperature is rarely below 65 degrees or above 94 degrees. Aside from the exhibit halls, the fair is mostly outdoors so good walking shoes and light layers are best. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats would also come in handy.
What should I bring with me?
A camera and water bottles.
You’ll probably want to bring some cash for food, drinks, carnival rides, and wares from exhibiting vendors.
Are bathrooms available?
Is outside food allowed at the Pima County Fair?
Outside food and drinks are not permitted.
What dining venues are available on-site?
There are a number of food truck style booths with typical fair food. “If you are looking for deep fried or grilled, dipped in batter or dipped in honey, on a stick or in a cone, hot or cold, or sweet and sticky then you’ve come to the right place!”
What restaurants are located near the Pima County Fairgrounds?
The only decent option in the vicinity that comes to mind is Argenziano’s at 16251 S. Houghton Road (7 miles from the fair entrance). Yummy calzones!
BABIES & KIDS
Can kids attend the Pima County Fair?
Yes! In fact, the fair is designed with families in mind. Kids love the live animals, the funny + entertaining shows, the whirly-twirly rides, and the tasty treats.
If you have little ones, you may also want to visit Kiddie Korral in Pima Hall. Best for ages 7 and under.
Of note: kids can read books and earn free carnival rides. Contact Guest Services for additional information.
Should I bring a stroller?
Probably. A stroller could be useful as you walk the grounds with little ones (ages 4 and under). A baby carrier might be your best bet for infants.
The Pima County Fair also offers strollers and wagons to rent. The rental area is conveniently located next to the Pima County Fair Guest Services, directly inside the Main Gate.
Is there a designated area for nursing moms?
Yes. Pima Hall provides a Mother’s Convenience Area which includes comfortable furniture, a crawl and climb area, nap space, tables and baby wipes for changing. There is also a curtained section for mothers who wish to breastfeed or change their little one in private.
Are changing tables available?
What about my other “baby” (dog, cat, etc)?
Pets are not permitted at the Pima County Fair.
Is the Festival wheelchair accessible?
The Pima County Fairgrounds are ADA compliant.
Can I have my wedding at the Pima County Fair?
The Pima County Fairgrounds can be rented out for weddings and other special events. Limitations do exist during the fair itself, but the grounds are available year-round. Facilities include four buildings, outdoor park-like settings and ramadas, RV and camping space, stage and concert areas, and a large equestrian facility with barns, stalls, and arenas. Call 520-762-9100 for more information.
WHERE TO STAY
What hotels do you recommend for visitors to the Pima County Fair?
Is the Pima County Fair active on social media?
What else do I need to know before I go to the Pima County Fair?
That just about covers it. Have a great time! *Note that our video is from a few years back, but it should give you a general idea about what to expect at the fair.