WRAL.com at the State Fair

State Fair attendance could hit the one million mark

Posted October 25, 2015

— Crowds came out in record numbers when the gates to the midway at the North Carolina State Fair first opened on Oct. 15.

Saturday’s attendance at the fair was 140,886 people, which is 14,000 more visitors than on the same day last year.

The record setting year was 2010 when 1,091,887 people attended the State Fair. The following year, State Fair attendance exceeded the one million mark as well with 1,009,173 visitors.

This year, attendance could be on pace to hit the one million mark as well. So far, more than 900,000 people have come through the gates at the fairgrounds. As of 6 p.m. Sunday evening, the attendance total stood at 912,341.

For eleven days every October, the North Carolina State Fair is like a miniature city within the Triangle. On any given day during the festivities, the population exceeds that of small communities like Chapel Hill.

The State Fair operates like many of the small businesses showcasing their goods in the Got To Be NC tent. It's self-sustaining and receives no money from the General Assembly. When attendance is up, like it was this year, it makes for a successful bottom line.

"In the last fiscal year, 2014-2015, the fairgrounds brought in around $16 million in revenue and a good chunk of that was the result of the eleven day fair," said State Fair spokesman Brian Long.

Long said that the rental of the fairground's facilities, like the new Tobacco Pavilion, that was build using money from last year's fair, makes up the rest of the revenue.

For State Fair vendors, the 11 days in October can also make their revenue year.

"High attendance obviously means more income for everybody out here on the fairgrounds," said vendor Derek Porter. "It's been a good week for us,"

The final attendance numbers for the duration of the State Fair were not known Sunday night. Organizers said that they don't believe that this year's turnout will exceed the attendance record that was set in 2010, but they do believe that this year's State Fair will exceed the one million mark.


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  • Bill Skinner Oct 25, 2015
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    Bidding to provide the rides happens every year.

  • Amy Clayton Oct 25, 2015
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  • Kevin Weidner Oct 25, 2015
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    When does the fair go out to "bid" again? I'd like to see a new\different carnival operator as Wade's offerings seem to be getting stale. With a million plus in attendance, and the carnival operator taking a huge cut of the gate, I believe the fair could be so much better.