WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Saving at the NC State Fair!

Posted October 11, 2012

Wondering how to afford a trip to the State Fair without having to take out a loan? It can be done! Here are tips to save you some dough so you can enjoy more dough (the fried kind with powdered sugar, of course)!  Please share your money-saving ideas as well.

Free admission: Get into the fair for FREE on Thursday, October 18th when you bring 4 cans of Food Lion brand food for Hunger Relief Day. Cans of veggies are often $1 or less at Food Lion so for $4 or less in food, you can get into the fair. With the regular admission price at $8.00 for adults - that's like getting a 1/2 price ticket!  The food you donate goes to the Food Bank of Eastern and Central North Carolina, the same place our donations go to after the food drives we have at the couponing classes at WRAL. Click HERE for the details.

With age comes FREEBIES!: Folks who are age 65 or older get into the fair for FREE every day and children 5 and under also get into the fair for free.   Click HERE for the details.

Thanks to our U.S. Military!: Members of the military, including active duty, reserve, National Guard, retired and veterans, receive a discounted admission of $5 at the gate every day of the fair this year.  Military Appreciation Day is Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 and the N.C. State Fair will have special activities and military band performances during the day. Click HERE for the details.

Weekday Lunch Pass: According to the State Fair website, you can get into the Fair for FREE during lunch! Here are the details: Go to "Gate 9 off Trinity Road, or Gate 12 between the Education & Commercial Buildings only after 11:30 a.m. on weekdays. This offer is not valid at other gates or on weekends. Purchase a lunch card at the gate for $8 with cash (cash sales only). Return the lunch card by 1:30 p.m. to the same gate you entered on the same day purchased for a full cash refund. If you leave later than 1:30 p.m., then you forfeit your $8. The card is good only on the day purchased. This program is only for adult admission."  Click HERE for the details.

Bring your own snacks:  I realize that one of the main reasons some folks go to the fair is for the amazing (and sometimes insane) foods that you only see once a year. After you enjoy your fried Girl Scout cookies or 100 lb chicken leg, you are also going to want something to drink. If you don't want to spend many dollars on a bottle of water or a soda, bring your own. Or maybe you plan on taking the whole day to experience the fair and want to make sure you have something to eat with less than 10,000 calories. The good news is that you can bring your own food and drink to the fair. Bags are subject to being searched at the gate so make sure you have no glass bottles. 

Free rides for the parents of young kids: There are a number of rides that parents can ride for free when accompanying a paying child.  For the list and details, Sarah's post on the WRAL Go Ask Mom blog at the link in the box above for "Heading to the State Fair with Kids?"

Free exhibits and performances: There are so many wonderful and FREE exhibits and performances at the State Fair including The Village of Yesteryear, Cultivate a Career exhibit, Livestock Barns, Heritage Circle, Flower and Garden Show, Education Building, Arts and Crafts, jugglers, clowns, stunts, pig races and more!  The State Fair website has a great section on educational opportunities including links to resources.  You can top off the evening with free fireworks every night at 9:45!

Come visit me at the WRAL tent for FREEBIES!  I will be at the WRAL tent on Friday, October 12 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM and I will have some fun freebies for the first 30 people who come see me and ask for a freebie!

What ideas do you have for spending less at the fair? And while you are sharing, what is your favorite food? Favorite ride? Favorite exhibit? Favorite performance or event?

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  • Oxymoron02 Oct 12, 2:27 a.m.

    I "save" by giving my kids each a budget. Mom's wallet is not bottomless. You want to try and win a giant stuffed thing-a-ma-jigg? Have at it, but that means you don't have any money for deep fried twinkies. You have to have ALL THE THINGS you see when we first arrive? So be it, you'll be broke soon. Last year my son got a Krispy Kreme burger, bourbon bacon ice cream and some overly fancy funnel cake. My daughter played games until she won some 3 foot tall stuffed thing. To each his own.

    I bring a supply of food stuffs, about half as much as we should reasonably eat for the day, because fair food is a large part of the appeal for my family. A turkey leg is really more food than one person needs, so it, like most fair foods, gets shared.

    Oh, and the lemonade cups seem to be the same from year to year. I brought our cups from the year before last year (will again if I can find them this year). Fresh squeezed lemonade is yummy, and refills are cheaper. :D

  • samandalice Oct 12, 12:49 a.m.

    A great way to save is by sharing food with the family. We each pick the one thing we really want and then share it.