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State Fair Attendance Up After Day 2

Posted October 14, 2007
Updated October 15, 2007

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— Preliminary numbers showed attendance was up after the second day of the North Carolina State Fair.

More than 148,000 people passed through the gates in the first two days. That's about 1,000 more than last year.

Numbers from the first day's attendance were not as glowing. About 50,000 people attended the fair’s opening day on Friday – down about 2,500 from last year and the lowest number in five years.

Before the fair opened, organizers said they hoped good weather and the largest midway in North America would help draw a record 1 million visitors this year.

Some fairgoers said they were surprised at the turnout when they arrived Saturday.

“I didn’t have trouble finding parking, and we got through the line really quick,” said Rebecca Crane.

“I didn’t think there were half as many people waiting for tickets or for parking,” said Emily New said.

Marie Barbour has been collecting tickets at the fair's front gate for years.

“Today has not been quite as hectic as we usually expect on the first Saturday,” she said.

The crowds was growing by Saturday night, though, and fair officials said sales of concert tickets have been great. At least three concerts have been sold out.

Admission prices have been raised $1 from a year ago, to $7. A sheet of ride tickets costs the same but has six fewer tickets than last year.

Nightly fireworks went off on schedule Saturday, despite concerns about setting off the explosive entertainment during a drought. The fire marshal issued a permit for the fireworks on Sept. 26, and crews from the Western Wake Fire Department will be on hand every night.

In the past 20 years, the State Fair fireworks have never been canceled, even during the severe drought of 2002.

But State Fair Manager Wesley Wyatt sent a letter telling all vendors and exhibitors to conserve water. Vehicles and food trailers may only be spot cleaned, and fair workers will wash down the streets only as needed for public health.

Watering plants and gardens is also restricted, and staff will be on the lookout for leaky hoses.


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  • Sessy - Italiana Oct 16, 2007

    Perfect reason why I am NOT going! I went last year and I swore NEVER again! Its a rip off.

  • RTPMama Oct 16, 2007

    The number of tickets on a sheet did go up, but that was to ease the sale of tickets. Each are now $1.00. The number of tickets needed per ride went down slightly to compensate for the change. This case from a fair official. I wish WRAL would tell both sides of the story.

    Think the fair is expensive? Been to a movie lately? Did oyu get popcorn and a drink? Now THAT is expensive!

  • hersheyspots Oct 15, 2007

    If you take advantage of the early ticket sales, you will save money on admission & ride tickets. Some of you are just too lazy to buy ahead of time to save the money so you complain because prices are too high.

  • future meteorologist Oct 15, 2007

    I went to the fair saturday morning to about 3:30. My twin sister and I had a great time. We looked around, ate some fair food, which was great, watched the horses, rode some rides, and got some fudge in the process. I would mostly likelly go next year, because I did not spent that much and made sure I was in my budget.

  • lynddsy Oct 15, 2007

    admission isn't that bad but, everything else is ridiculous! it gets really expensive if you have children and they don't understand.

  • Nancy Oct 14, 2007

    "did anyone see the big gang fight at the end of there fair i was one to get out atfer i saw it but im wonder if anything happened. there were cops just sitting there but in there defence if i was by my self i would go into a crowd of which looked like a whole lot of people fighting"

    There was a stabbing, followed a round of chair throwing apparently last night.

  • Mean Old Mom Oct 14, 2007

    It's not the prices that keeps us away, but the crowds and those traffic jams around the fairgrounds. We don't go to the fireworks at 4th of July for the same reason.

  • kittiboo Oct 14, 2007

    We went today and spent a fortune on food, but it sure was good! I look forward to fair food all year long, so I expect to drop some dough (no pun intended) there to enjoy it. Sure some stuff is overpriced, but lots of things in the world are overpriced if you ask me!
    It was a bit crowded, but a nice day, and I encountered no majorly rude people. We stayed around the food stands, and I guess it is hard to be mean and rude with a belly full of good eatin'!
    And- I got 4 candy apples for $5- can't beat that! =)

  • tarheelsfan0806 Oct 14, 2007

    I took my daughter and my grandma on Saturday, stayed from about 9-2 and only spent $25 total. Not too bad considering that we all had a blast and spent some family time together because really that's what it's all about!

  • Wakefan1057 Oct 14, 2007

    sorry for the bad typing i typed it fast...