The 79th Marion County Fair opens this week, running July 23-Aug 1 at the Marion County Fairgrounds, 7300 E. Troy Ave. It is touted as "one of Central Indiana's best bargains in family-oriented entertainment," with tickets just $5 at the gate (children ages 5 and under are free), and free parking.
Festival-goers can enjoy a wide variety of concerts, grandstand entertainment, fair foods, 4-H and open class competitions and the midway, which is one of the state's biggest and best. Catch the Battle of the Bands July 23-25, with finals Aug. 1; Open Class Car Show July 26, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; Demolition Derby July 31, 7 p.m. and Aug. 1, 6 p.m. (admission: $5) and much more. A complete day-by-day event agenda and registration forms and rules for a wide variety of fair competitions are available at www.marioncountyfair.org.
Gate admission discounts of $1 per person are available to fair-goers on specific days, or by logging on to the fair's new Web site for a printable coupon. Ride coupons are $1 each or 22 coupons for $20 or 55 coupons for $50. Discount days include:
* July 23: unlimited rides 6-11 p.m. for $15
* July 24: Moonlight Madness unlimited rides 10 p.m.-1 a.m. for $20
* July 25: unlimited rides 1-5 p.m. for $15 or 6 p.m.-close for $25
* July 26: Red Hat Society Day. Society members wearing their red hats will receive a $1 admission discount.
* July 27: unlimited rides 5-11 p.m. for $18. Bring an item for donation to Indianapolis Animal Care & Control for $1 admission discount. Monday is also Seniors Night, when fair-goers aged 50-plus receive a $1 admission discount.
* July 28-29: Bring a non-perishable food item for donation to Gleaners Food Bank for $1 admission discount. Wednesday is also Marion County Farm Bureau Ladies Night, when women receive a $2 admission discount and ride midway attractions for free when accompanied by a paid adult. Tuesday, get unlimited rides 5-11 p.m. for $18 and Wednesday, 5-11 p.m. ladies ride free when accompanied by a paid adult.
* July 30: unlimited rides 5-11 p.m. for $18. Donate school supplies for Teachers' Treasures for $1 admission discount on National City Bank Night.
* July 31: Moonlight Madness unlimited rides 10 p.m.-1 a.m. for $20
* Aug. 1: unlimited rides 1-5 p.m. for $15 or 6 p.m.close for $25
For more information, call 317-353-2444.