It's going to be a big weekend at the State Fairgrounds this weekend, starting with the Got to Be NC Festival, which opens Friday.
The third annual festival is kind of like a mini version of the State Fair, with more than 30 rides, carnival games, a kids area, live entertainment and more. But what's really great about it is that admission and parking are free. You will have to pay for carnival rides, food and the grandstand events (which are $5).
The festival runs 9 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. The Wine and Food Expo will feature lots of free samples of North Carolina products. The Kid's Corral will offer arts, crafts and other educational activity.
There's Water Wars, a water balloon launching activity, next to Dorton Arena. And Circle C will bring a petting zoo. The first 50 kids who register on Friday can participate in a stick horse race (stick horses will be provided). Registration starts at 4 p.m. Friday. The race begins at 5 p.m. in the Grandstand just before the draft horse pull.
I'm told the best time to be there to avoid the crowds is Friday when the rides open at noon. Check the State Fair's blog for more details about the festival.
On the rides: Parents will be able to ride the slides and merry-go-round rides for free with a paying child who is 40 inches tall or under. There also will be about nine other kiddie rides such as the Wiggle Worm, Thomas Train and Helicopter Ride. All rides will cost about 3 or 4 tickets. There are some deals on tickets. From noon to 6 p.m. Friday, you get a free ride coupon valued at $4 when you purchase a sheet of 30 tickets for $20. On Sunday, you can purchase an unlimited ride armband for $20.
And the festival isn't the only thing going this weekend at the fairgrounds. There's also:
- The WRAL Wellness Weekend, which is free and runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Yours truly will be there from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. You'll be able to register for all our remaining Month of Mom prizes if you come see me. And I'll have some fun little giveaways too. You'll also find other activities, including health tests and screenings, a community blood drive, dancing, and a lot more.
- The Raleigh Summer Boat Show in the Kerr Scott Building starts at noon Thursday and continues through Sunday.
- Wake County 4-H and District 4-H horse shows will take place at the Hunt Horse Complex on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The events are free and open to the public.
- And, of course, hundreds of Raleigh Flea Market craftsmen and vendors will be open Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Commercial and Education buildings and at various outdoor locations.