The New Mexico State Fair: A Complete Guide

Swing and Twirl ride at the New Mexico State Fair.
••• Ray Laskowitz/Getty Images

The New Mexico State Fair is so much more than an annual event. For a few short weeks, it brings together some of the best entertainment and events New Mexico has to offer. As the summer season cools down, the days and nights are perfect for spending time at the fair. Be sure to add it to your entertainment lineup to see what’s new in food, exhibits, competitions and special themes, because they change every year.

So many people attend the New Mexico State Fair every year. Locals enjoy coming back again and again, and many visitors come from outside Albuquerque and some from other states to enjoy what the State Fair has to offer. There is a lot to love about the fair, whether a young child enjoying the barnyard animals or a teen swinging high in the air on a thrill ride. Adults love it too, for its great entertainment and of course, the wide variety of food.

When is the State Fair?

The 2016 New Mexico State Fair runs from Thursday, September 8th through Sunday, September 18th. The fair will run 10 consecutive days.

When is the Parade?

Everyone loves a parade, and the State Fair parade never disappoints. The parade starts 8:45 a.m on Saturday, September 10th, starting at the corner of Louisiana and Central. The parade will travel east to BEFORE Eubank Boulevard.

What are the State Fair Theme Days?
The theme days at the New Mexico State Fair change each day.

Be sure to find out when to go to maximize your visit.

New Mexico State Fair Admission
State Fair admission prices have stayed the same since 2007. Look for special recognition days and pick up your discounted tickets at Walgreens.

Adult: $10 (12-64)
Senior: $7 (ages 65 and up)
Children: $7 (ages 6-11)
Children 5 and under are admitted free.

What Do You Get With Admission?
The State Fair has a lot going on, and you don’t have to spend a lot to have a good time. Many activities are free once you have paid the entrance fee. Visit the 4-H exhibits, McDonald’s Farm, the rodeos and more, all at no charge. 

Carnival Midway
The highly regarded Reithoffer Shows are on the midway this year.

The Midway carnival opens Monday - Friday at 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. Kiddieland opens at 10 a.m. every day. 

Kidsway Carnival, located north of the Indian Arts Gallery, will open Thursday, September 8 at 10 a.m. and run throughout the Fair.

For many, especially the kids, the Carnival or Midway is the ultimate destination at the fair. Mega bands can be purchases at the State Fair and are valid on weekdays. Purchase a Mega Pass for $28 at Walgreens through September 9, which includes free admission to the Fair and the wristband valid on any day of your choice. 

The rodeo includes the barrel racing you'd expect at a rodeo, but live music is part of the venue every year, making this a bargain entertainment ticket.
Rodeo/concert tickets are $15 - $35

Admission to the State Fair is included for all Rodeo-Concert tickets for 2016.

Purchase tickets at UNM Tickets.

Rodeo-concert events begin at 6:45 p.m.

Concerts take place in Tingley Coliseum, during the PRCA Rodeo. This year's concert lineup features a full line of country music stars. See the concert schedule for complete details.


The 2016 State Fair opens at 10 a.m. every day.

General hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.
Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

 PRCA Rodeo and State Fair concert series take place at Tingley Coliseum.

Rodeo concerts: the doors open at 6 p.m.; rodeo begins at 6:45 p.m.; concert begins at 8:30 p.m.

Manuel Luan Complex: opens 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday - Thursday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Exhibit Buildings are open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Entertainment Stages: (times may vary daily by stage) Monday - Friday, noon to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

State Fair Box Office
Tickets can be purchased prior to the fair opening at the State Fair Box Office. Find it just inside Gate 3 off San Pedro, between Lomas and Central. The office has turquoise awnings. Current box office hours are 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

The Fairgrounds
The New Mexico State Fair takes place in Albuquerque at the Expo New Mexico Fairgrounds, with Louisiana to the east, San Pedro to the west, Central to the south, and Lomas to the north.

Parking is FREE! Use these gates for general entry: Gate 1 at Central west of Louisiana
Gate 8 at Louisiana south of Lomas
Handicap parking is available at all general public parking lots. Right turns only into the fair. Preferred parking will be available for a fee.

 Find out more about buses and parking.

Wheelchairs and Strollers
Rentals are available at the entry by the Downs at Albuquerque, by Gate 1.

First Aid
A first aid station is at the Midway entry.

There is no smoking allowed at buildings or building entries.

The security headquarters are located behind the Fine Arts building. Both New Mexico State Police and private security officers will be at the fair.