Local News

Fair organizers focus on financially friendly experience

Posted October 1, 2008

— With opening day at the North Carolina State Fair two weeks away, the economic rollercoaster that's heading down for now has organizers looking to make sure fairgoers get the most for their money.

This year, the fair, which runs Oct. 16-26, will stay open an extra day with the goal of bringing in 1 million visitors. That means keeping the focus on fun, when many people are worried about money.

"We hope the economy won't turn people away, but we understand that everyone is going through tough times right now," said State Fair spokeswoman Natalie Alford.

So, organizers are highlighting the financially friendly side.

"We have a lot of free entertainment at the fair this year. You can find free grounds acts all over," Alford said.

And, of course, the fair is deeply rooted in agriculture.

"The families can always come out here and walk around the exhibits for free," Alford said. "There are lots of things for the kids to do in the Kiddie Land Fun Park."

Fair officials are also pushing the networks of buses this year for local fairgoers who want to save on gasoline and say that those traveling further distances should consider the rails.

"From the Charlotte area, you can take Amtrak, and it drops off right in front of the State Fair gates and picks you up in the afternoon," Alford said.

And for those who say the midway is a must, fair officials note that ride and food prices did not go up this year.

Advance tickets can be purchased online, and starting Thursday, advance walk-up tickets will be available at several locations.

Advance tickets will save $2 per adult admission ticket and $8 per ride sheet.


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  • pulstar40 Oct 2, 2008

    Saying that the price of food and rides has not gone up since last year is NOT something to brag about. It's expensive. I personally like going through the exhibits and enjoy the "free stuff" but if you have kids, it's really pricey.

    I can't imagine "canceling" the fair would even be an option -- way too much money invested in contracts and vendors to do that.

  • For-Better-Or-Worse Oct 2, 2008


    Oh stop the whining. Not everything in life can be free.

    It is cheaper to go to the fair than it is to go to a movie.

    The state fair has be a NC staple for over 100 years, the only time it was not held was during war years. So it will be going strong this year as well.

    I HAVE NOT MISSED the fair for 36 years and WILL NOT MISS it this year.

  • Stormy13 Oct 2, 2008

    I will be working weekends at Santillo's Italian Sausage tent over by the Scott Bldg. again this year. I am a State employee and this helps bring in a little extra money. I do feel that with the economy as it is there will be less people going to the State Fair this year, even with that "extra" day.

  • talkabout Oct 2, 2008

    We have avoided the fair for the past 4 years and we'll continue to NOT go to the fair. The food is BAD, the admission is EXPENSIVE and the I would rather NOT spend mymoney and time being acosted by people wanting to guess my weight/age/birthday. The "free" exhibits are pretty lame and its not FREE when you have to PAY to get in and end up SICK becuase you contracted some animal feces borne illness. The $$$ it will cost you to wait in lines to park AND to park is not worth it. Personally, I think its irresponsible on the part of the NC Agricultural Society to even HAVE the fair this year...but if you want to waste your money, go ahead!

  • Deb1003 Oct 2, 2008

    With the price of gasoline, food and the constant money the schools want, we can't even afford the admission fee to the fair this year. The price of ride tickets are ridiculous. Most kiddie rides require 5 tickets. And yes, there are lots of agricultural displays and contests, but really! what kid wants to walk through that "boring" stuff.

  • OBXPackMan Oct 2, 2008

    opening a day early is going to make for one of the biggest traffic jams of the year since there is an nc state home football game that same night... should be fun... stay away... far away... or atleast take the shuttle... I can't imagine where they expect the fair goers to park since 90% of the parking lots will be used for the football game...

  • HadEnough Oct 2, 2008

    If they want to make more money perhaps they should quit giving out free passes to all the good ole boys. They pass out tens of thousand free tickets. I would guess in the end there are more people admitted with free passes than actually pay and the admission price isn't cheap.

  • flyfishNC Oct 2, 2008

    Staying open one extra day to reach 1 million in attendance...translates to one more day of earnings for the fair. Financially friendly? What about wear a Hurricanes jersey and get in free...the Canes can pick up the difference and still make their salaries. Free concerts every night, buy a book of tickets get a gas card, bring your Time Warner bill and get free tickets...something for the public and for the kids. Petting animals for free...that's great.

  • mom2five Oct 1, 2008

    it'd be nice if Raleigh could do what Columbia does. they have a one rate fee for rides all day. weve never been able to afford the fair since we moved here 13 years ago. not like we could in Columbia anyway. yes the free stuff is there but how hard is that when you have kids wanting what the other kids have.

  • NCSULandscaper Oct 1, 2008

    they are wrong, its only a savings of $1.50 per ticket because they add a 50 cent convenience fee