Your family's guide to MontanaFair 2018

As families are swept up in the final days of summer vacation, shopping for back-to-school, and squeezing in those last camping trips, there is one event that truly signals the approaching end to these less-structured days: MontanaFair. This nine-day extravaganza (August 10-18), with over 100 years under its belt, is jam-packed with all kinds of action going on from one end of the grounds to another. With so much happening, we turned to MetraPark’s Marketing Director Ray Massie to help us help you make the most of your MontanaFair Experience!

Best Bang for Your Buck

The earlier you buy, the better, according to Massie.


  • ValuPass – You can’t beat this deal at $69 – (after July 1. They were previously $64; note to self for next year!) that gets you General Admission to three concerts, Supercross, and three nights of PRCA Rodeo, plus Gate Admission for all nine days of the fair!
    • Added bonus: The passes are exchangeable, so you can share with family and friends.

  • Buy Early & Save – Before August 10, purchase 8 gate admissions for $40 (looking at about a ½ off discount) and 50 ride coupons for $25.
  • Winning Ticket – Be on the lookout for various contests through Fair sponsors to win tickets! (Altana Credit Union, Montana 811, Big Sky Steel, and Smart Wash all have different contests running through their Facebook pages, websites, or in their stores).
  • MSU-Billings Day, August 12 – Alumni, look for your invitation to come in the mail from the MSUB Foundation’s office!
  • Seniors Day, August 14 – Free gate admission for Seniors ages 65+, 12-5pm.
  • Wendy’s Kids Day, August 15 – Two weeks ahead of the Fair, go to any local Wendy’s (no purchase necessary) to pick up a coupon that will get your child (ages 12 and younger) into the Fair free!
  • Service to America Day, August 18 – Free gate admission for first responders and veterans.

On the Grounds:

Mighty Thomas Carnival Rides

  • Sneak-a-Peek, August 10 – Get in for only $5 on this night, along with a Ride Wristband for $22. You can ride as many rides as you want (there are several opportunities through the week to cash in on that $22 wristband, regular price is $30).
  • 10 Dollar Day, Aug 11 & 18 – Get seven rides for $10 (sold from 12-5pm, honored all day)
  • Afternoon Ride Wristbands, August 13-17 - $22 Ride Wristbands, sold 12-5pm.
  • Buy 1, Get 1: KULR8 Buddy Night, August 13 – Buy one $30 wristband, get one free! Buy one adult fair gate admissions, get one free!
  • Ride ‘til U Drop, August 14 - $22 Ride Wristband, good from 6pm-Midnight (presented by HOT 101.9). Snag a $3 discount coupon for your wristband at: Bennion Lambourne Orthodontics, Apricot Lane, or Bodyworks Tattoo and Piercing.
  • Wrist Up & Ride, August 16 - $22 Ride Wristband, good from 6pm-Midnight (presented by Planet 106.7). Get a $3 discount coupon by texting the word “planet” to 406.256.8800 any time after July 15.
  • Check the website, montanafair.com or snag your map upon arrival, which outlines the day’s discounts and deals!

Good Eats:

Can’t get enough of your favorite Fair foods? Be a part of the Lunch Bunch, August 13-17 from 12-2pm. Pay $5 for your gate admission, indulge on your favorite guilty pleasures, and return to the gate by 2pm to get your $5 back!

Free Entertainment:

There are roughly 32 free shows every day on the fairgrounds, says Massie; the highlights:

  • Flying Fools High Dive Act (3 shows a day in the Billings Clinic Children’s Hospital Colorado Kid’s World).
  • Rock Bottom Boys are performing 2-3 shows a day at the Exchange Club Patio.
  • Magician Jeff Martin will be strolling the grounds performing magic tricks and making an appearance on the 4th Avenue Stage on August 11.
  • Mango and Dango will be doing their stilt walking, as well as having their stage show at the 4th Avenue Stage.
  • Community Stage moved this year to inside Rimrock Auto Arena, performances begin Monday afternoon.

Cool Off

Escape the heat for a spell with these attractions:

  • This year’s theme in the Art Barn is “Weather.”
  • During the MSU-Billings Alum Day, the Atomic Circus will be making an appearance.
  • Scraptacular is back this year with artists' work available for sale and a “Creation Station” for fair-goers to create a craft.
  • Ultimate Paintball & Bad Bear Laser Tag – Burn off energy in the Heritage and Sandstone Buildings with these fun ride-alternatives.
  • Western Ranch Animal Expo – 4-H displays and animal projects are housed here.
  • Take a stroll down LEGO Lane in Rimrock Auto Arena’s Exhibit Hall.

What’s New?

  • Mint Smartwash Express Lane – This is for people who have purchased their tickets in advance – no waiting in lines to get in!
  • Opportunity Farm – Where the Community Stage once held court, you’ll now find a nod to agriculture – Montana’s #1 business. Presented by Opportunity Bank, it will show the five major crops and products in Montana agriculture, and what they mean to the community. Visitors will also have the opportunity to interact with a variety of animals.
  • Pack the Place in Pink at Supercross – Exhibition race on August 14 will raise funds for Pack the Place in Pink!
  • Mighty Thomas Carnival is bringing two new Super Rides this year: Blackout and Star Tower; Speed is moving to the other end of the fairgrounds. “Blackout is Speed on steroids, basically,” jokes Massie. (Super Rides are not included in Ride Wristbands).

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s August 2018 issue.

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