WRAL.com at the State Fair

N.C. State Fair kicks off with $1.50 admission Thursday

Posted 5:00 a.m. Thursday
Updated 1:41 p.m. Thursday

— The North Carolina State Fair will be celebrating its 150th fair with discounted admission and food on Thursday.

For Thursday only, the fair is offering $1.50 admission. Tickets must be purchased at the fairgrounds and are not available in advance. Gates open at 3 p.m. In addition to discounted admission, there will also be participating food vendors offering $1.50 concessions.

Thursday is also WRAL Button Bonanza day at the State Fair. The first 15,000 fairgoers through the gates will receive a commemorative button. Each hour, State Fair staff will be handing out 150 free ride passes and other prizes to fairgoers wearing WRAL buttons.

The State Fair began in 1853, but has not run 150 consecutive years. From 1861 to 1868, the fair was not held due to the Civil War and Reconstruction. Other breaks took place due events like World War II.

The fair runs through Oct. 22.

New Food

Deep Fried Pumpkin Pie, Cheerwine Funnel Cake, Deep Fried Chocolate Pie, Deep Fried Apple Pie and Blue Hawaiian Funnel Cake with pineapple topping, praline, whipped cream and cherries, are among this year's new foods at the N.C. State Fair.

N.C. State Fair

Chick-n-Que is offering Wicked Wafflewich Sliders -- chicken BBQ drenched with spicy buffalo sauce sandwiched between two warm, crisp waffle edges and topped with coleslaw and bleu cheese crumbles. There will also be fresh fruit smoothies served in a real coconut, corn on the cob covered in Flamin' Hot Cheetos, Jerk BBQ Ribs, Deep Fried Dirty Cajun Rice and "hotcake" tacos filled with eggs, bacon, cheese and syrup drizzle layered on top of a crispy chicken strip.

N.C. State Fair

Other items include Bacon Mac and Cheese, Bacon Wrapped Scallops, Deep Fried Crab Cake Cheese Curds and Bacon and Cheese Collard Bites and a Thanksgiving Egg Roll with turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberries deep fried in an egg roll.

One item you won't be seeing is Mt. Olive Pickles, which announced this year that it will not be participating in the fair for the first time since the 1950s.

Map: Find the best state fair food

Beer and Wine

For the first time, visitors at the State fair can purchase flights of wine and beer to sample. The Our State Public House in Heritage Circle will showcase 40 breweries and 40 wineries from across the state. Each tasting flight will contain four samples of wine or beer. Tickets are $10 and there is a one ticket per person limit.

N.C. State Fair


New exhibits this year include a spray paint artist doing a new mural each day. Ryan "ARCY" Christensen will be painting a large mural daily in the breezeway between the Graham Building ad Expo Center. Bubble Wonders, which will be located in Kiddieland, will include fun and educational bubble tricks.

Other roving exhibitors include the Dream City LotuSapiens, large lotus-like people near the flower and garden show, an Ostrich Rider near Gate 11 and a Chicken Rider near Kiddieland. Team Roc: The Ninja Experience will be performing martial arts daily behind the Scott Building near Gate 10.

New rides

New rides this year include the Air Raid, a 118-foot tower ride, the F5, a spinning pendulum ride, and the Dodgems Chop Shop, a giant bumper car ride. The children's rides Fun Tail Railroad, 4x4 Quads and the Circus Train are also new to the fair.

Unlimited ride wristbands are available for every day of the fair. Wristbands are available in advance online for $25. Once the fair starts, wristbands can be purchased for $35 online or on-site. Each wristband is good for one day and does not include the State Fair Flyer.

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  • Jeffrey Derry Oct 12, 1:21 p.m.
    user avatar

    Be nice if it were a buck fifty everyday