North Carolina State Fair

On a budget? State Fair fun doesn't have to break the bank

Advance ride tickets can also be purchased and at various retail locations. The fair is offering a special priced sheet of 18 ride tickets for $10.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Budget-conscious families can find deals this year at the North Carolina State Fair.

“You do need to plan early if you want to save some money at the fair,” said Jen Nixon, who handles the State Fair’s Web site and graphics.

Buying tickets in advance can be an early start to the savings. Advance tickets can be purchased online or at several other locations through Thursday. Advance tickets for adults are $5 and for children ages 6 to 12 tickets are $1.

That's a discount off the normal price of $7 for adults, $2 for kids 6 to 12. Children ages 5 and younger and adults 65 and older are always admitted free.

“It’s great and there’s obviously a lot of people out here taking advantage of it too,” said Mike Klauke, who bought tickets on Wednesday.

Advance ride tickets can also be purchased online and at various retail locations. The fair is offering a specially priced sheet of 18 ride tickets for $10.

Ride tickets are normally $1 per ticket.

Children’s rides are typically two to three tickets each. Larger rides range from three to six tickets each.

Ride and admission tickets purchased online are subject to a 5 to 15 percent convenience fee.

Tuesday Cross said the savings were too good to pass up.

“Just saving a little bit of money to get the advanced tickets, that helped me out a lot,” Cross said.

“We have had a lot of people buying advance tickets this year,” Nixon said.

This year more than $1.6 million has been collected in advance sales for admission, concerts and rides.

The number is slightly above last year’s $1.5 million total, but still trailing 2007’s record-setting $1.9 million collected.

Families can also save money by taking advantage of some of the free entertainment at the fair:

  • The Circle C Racing Pigs race throughout the day in a 200-foot Hogway Speedway.
  • The Field of Dreams exhibit shows how food starts on the farm.
  • Kiddieland Fun Park will host magic shows, clown acts and performing poodles.
  • The Adrenaline Jam Tour Interactive Game Experience tent will showcase the latest video games for free.
  • The Keith King Action Sports Stunt Show will have multiple high-energy shows.
  • Livestock shows and exhibits will also be available at the Grand and Kelly buildings and the Expo Center.