WRAL.com at the State Fair

So! Many! People!

Posted October 22, 2007

The Fair officials did not get the one million visitors that they were hoping for, but they should be pretty excited about the turnout anyway: three daily records were set (Tuesday, last Saturday, last Sunday) and an all-time attendance record was set (858,611).

As these records are broken and more and more people do attend the Fair, the fairgrounds are going to be more and more stretched. I think the Agriculture Department is going to end up doing a complete rethink about how to use the fairgrounds. Yes, the midway is great. But do we need dozens of watergun races? Could we do something different with the old midway?

Could there be local groups, schools, and organizations that offer fun, information, and contests? NC State engineers offering information on homegrown water reclamation systems and solar power solutions (with different teams participating in solar illumination contests around the fairgrounds?) Could the North Carolina State Archives set up a tent full of computers and demonstrate the many archives available to citizens? Can we expand the Lego contest to include a Lego robot contest? Etc?

I am totally blue-skying here. Maybe I got some bad cotton candy. But the goal to get one million people to the fairgrounds means at the least the opportunity to educate one million citizens (and yes, I know some people never leave the midway, just as some people never go further than the exhibition buildings.) Hmmm...


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  • clickclackity2 Oct 23, 2007

    I agree too many games..I would've rather seen the tractor pull than all those games..

  • I_love_ the_ News Oct 23, 2007

    I honestly stay away from this stuff because of the LARGE crowds.
    I hate being packed into a space like I am being canned up.
    Not to mention the pushing and shoving ,and those cells phones going off and on.....and kid screaming.
    I am just not a crowd person that why my kids and hubby stay home from this stuff.
    If the fair grounds would take in consideration of a new lay out,just maybe we would come back to the fair.
    The last time we went to the fair was 2 yrs ago.

  • oceanchild71 Oct 23, 2007

    Also, with littler ones, it is hard to do/look at everything in one visit and I just can't justify paying admission twice (I know under 6 is free) for my husband and myself. Maybe if they had some sort of multi-day ticket ($10/adult) unlimited admission that would help. That way, if they did have more "Educational stuff" people might be more tempted to visit those booths.

  • oceanchild71 Oct 23, 2007

    Probably the fact that the games were usually $3 a person has a lot to do with the fewer amounts of people at the games. If a whole family of 4 plays, that is $12 and no one is guaranteed a prize unless it is only the family of 4 playing. Now, a couple of vendors took pity on us because our 3 and 4-year old daughters needed help from us in order to play. But of course they did not have quite the hand-eye coordination to win. But the vendors let us play another game with just us so the girls would win. They did not have to do that so we were thankful, but still, that was $18 for two stuffed animals of questionable quality.

    Also, the rides are expensive as well. Most of the ones we went on were $3/person so that meant $12 for the whole family. Even after purchasing 2 adult admissions and 72 ride tickets on-line at discounted prices we spent around $130 in 6 hours!

  • dnguyen68 Oct 23, 2007

    They were talking about 1 million people for the entire week event, not one day so the current space they have now is OK.

    To avoid the crowd, don't go on weekends. I went on Wed and there were plenty of free parking spaces. Most people come to the fair for food and rides for the kids. I saw most game booths were empty.

  • misslisa200723 Oct 23, 2007

    Rethinking the setup to the fair would definitely bring more attention to people...they say change is good so revising how it is setup will definitely do some good. The fair is something that NC doesn't have to do so why not appreciate it for what it is. Bringing a new ride every year or something done differently such as the revision will help I think. Maximum capacity is pretty much used for indoor buildings...the fairgrounds are definitely big enough to hold a million people. I just think there is a lot of negative opinions on the fair from people that don't really enjoy the fair. So why put your opinions on something that you don't really have a desire to enjoy? Take it for what it is...it's an extra curricular activity you DON'T HAVE TO GO!

  • der_Marv_meister Oct 23, 2007

    Instead of revamping the games and such, why not expand the exisiting "footprint" of the fair?
    I submit fo rconsideration that Hillsborough street section that runs right in front of the fairgrounds be closed off and rides and exhibits and the such can be extended into the parking spaces on and across the street. More breathing room.

    As for the parking spaces that will be lost, why not build an actual parking structure near the grounds (like they should have done years ago!) not only to accomodate current traffic but future increases in the event that happens?
    State Fair officials should think more broader and further ahead and not just a year or two ahead.

  • bigred841 Oct 23, 2007

    its not worth going with those kind of crowds...not my idea of a good time

  • keescott Oct 23, 2007

    I agree with the other comments also. The fair was great but it was way too crowded at times. Is there a maximum capacity for how many people can occupy the fairgrounds at one time? It definitely felt unsafe in certain places with the number of people.

  • Raleighnative58 Oct 23, 2007

    It's a really hard decision to decide what people like best. I agree doing away with at least half of the games will open up some room, but I also agree that if this is supposed to be a State Fair, then we need more exhibits promoting what our state is all about. The Kerr Scott bldg gets so crowded that I believe the exhibits in there could actually take up two buildings - spread it out a bit so everyone can get in! I'm also for making the fair longer - perhaps even an extra week but not sure how that would affect people's jobs, etc.