Yes, the Orange County fair is loads of fun, but it can also be expensive. Here are 10 ways that you can get in for free on various days that the fair is open between July 14 and Aug. 13.

Be there on opening day. The fair’s free to enter until 3 p.m. but people start lining up hours before the official noon opening, so get there early.

Be a senior. If you’re age 60 or older, you get in free every Friday.

Serve our country. If you’re active duty military, or a veteran with discharge papers, you can get into the fair for free any day (and you can also buy as many as six half-price tickets.)

Go on Thursdays, if you’re a kid age 12 or under. You’ll get in free all day. And, if you read two books and write book reports on the official forms, you also get free carnival tickets. Download the book report forms at, and bring them to the Centennial Farm information booth.

Have perfect attendance. OK, this deal is for next year’s fair, but start thinking ahead. If you buy a 2017 Super Pass to this year’s fair and attend every single one of its 23 days, you’ll get a “Perfect Attendance Award,” and a free Super Pass for 2018. Sweet!

Have a ticket from the San Diego County Fair. If you attended the San Diego Fair from June 2 to July 4, you can use those “Bounce Back” tickets to get in free to the OC Fair (and the Ventura County fair, too, for that matter.)

Bring food. On Wednesday, July 19, bring five nonperishable food items to donate to local food banks, and you’ll get free “We Care Wednesday” admission between noon and 3 p.m. Hey, it’ll make you feel good, too. And, no, don’t bring that 10-year-old can of cranberry sauce from the back of your cupboard. That’s just mean.

Collect children’s books. If you donate three kids books — either new or in good condition — on Wednesday, July 26, for Think Together, you’ll get free admission between noon and 3 p.m. for We Care Wednesday.

Clean out your closet. Bring five gently used clothing items to donate to Goodwill on Wednesday, Aug. 2, and get in free between noon and 3 p.m. for “We Care Wednesday.”

Donate school supplies. Spend at least five bucks on school supplies for needy kids and keep the receipt. They’ll be donated to Share Our Selves, and you’ll get free admission between noon and 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 9, for “We Care Wednesday.” You need to show your receipt.

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