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Final Days of Fun at the N.C. State Fair

Updated: Nov 10, 2019

Some of the winning produce, displayed in the Expo Center, photo by Jacob Zacks

Every year when October rolls around and the air gets a tad bit cooler, many North Carolinians celebrate the fall season with the N.C. State Fair. This year’s festivities began on Thursday, Oct. 17 and will conclude on Sunday, Oct. 27. Gates are open this Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to midnight. Tickets can be purchased online or in person with cash or a card at the price of $13 for adults and $7 for kids of ages 6-12.

The fair will be holding special days this year, including Military Day and Hunger Relief Day. In addition to the daily 38% military discount given to current service members, Military Day (today, Wednesday) includes Waterfall Stage activities and displays of military equipment at the Grandstand. On Food Lion Hunger Relief Day, fairgoers are encouraged to bring canned goods to donate to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina; six Food Lion-brand cans equal free admission!

There are many new and exciting rides, foods and events to experience this year. The new Skygazer that towers over Hillsborough Street is no average Ferris wheel; it’s the largest one the N.C. State Fair has ever offered, and the largest traveling wheel in the United States. At 155 ft. (or 15 stories) high, it promises an ‘over-the-top’ view of the Raleigh area. New foods include roasted pumpkin spice corn, a Reese's donut, crack-n-cheese stuffed turkey leg, pineapple Dole whip and pumpkin spice hushpuppies. There will also be new shows at the Grandstand including the Motorsports Mayhem Demolition Derby and the Monster Truck Freestyle. There’s also a chance for spectators to get in on the action by going for a ride in a monster truck. Tickets for the Skygazer and these Grandstand events are not included in the entrance fee and must be purchased separately from ride ticket sheets or wristbands.

People say the best things in life are free, and that just might be true. provides a list of “100 Free Things to Do.” Some highlights from this list include pig races at Hogway Speedway, lumberjack shows, the Flippin’ Aerial Acrobatic Spectacular, the Pygmy Goat Costume and Agility Contest, nightly fireworks and free samples. Free samples will be available of kettle corn in Kiddieland, N.C. Fudge near the Flyer, peanuts in the Education building and hushpuppies near the entrance to the fair (just look for the long line). The final days of the fair are here, and time is running out! For more information on this year’s N.C. State Fair, go to

By Katelyn Wiszowaty, Staff Writer

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