Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Headed to the Got to Be NC Festival: Here are 5 things you need to know

Posted May 14, 2019 9:07 p.m. EDT
Updated May 17, 2019 8:33 p.m. EDT

The annual Got to Be NC Festival kicks off Friday for three days of free entertainment.

The annual event, which I like to call a mini-State Fair, features everything from a daily tractor parade to rides and lots of food. It all takes place at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in west Raleigh.

If you're headed to the festival, here are five things to know:

Is it really free?

Most of it is. Admission and parking are free, and the vast majority of the entertainment is free, but not all of it.

You'll need to pay for the carnival games and rides, food from the vendors, pony rides and the Masonic Carolina Pig Jig barbecue cook off. The Pig Jig is $15 for adults ages 11 and up and $5 for kids age 7 to 10). The Local Goodness Marketplace requires a $3 admission. Kids 6 and under are free.

The State Fair Flyer is $5 for a one-way ride and $8 round trip.

To save a bit on the rides, the carnival features one price, ride-all-day wristbands on Friday and Sunday. Cost is $20 for wristbands.

Got To Be NC 2013

What are don't-miss events?

A lot is happening at the festival, so it really depends on what you want to see. But there are a few scheduled events to know about if you're taking kids:

  • Fireworks take place at 9:15 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
  • A daily tractor parade is at 1 p.m., daily. You'll see hundreds of antique tractors as they tour the fairgrounds.
  • Pig Races take place daily at the Hogway Speedway near the Martin Building. Hours are 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m., 2 pm., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday; and 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sunday.
  • The Kidz Corral provides a nice respite from the Midway and includes a giant coloring wall, a corn table for play and a new pedal tractor course. It's between the Jim Graham Building and the Expo Center.

Got to Be NC Festival 2012

Can I see baby pigs?

That's probably not the question that you had top of mind. But, indeed, you can see baby pigs. The Pig Patch Birthing Center on the midway near the antique tractors will be open noon to 8 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday. They're expecting a new litter of piglets each day of the festival, according to the website.

The Agri-Plaza also will feature baby chicks hatching on the spot and the opportunity to see cows, goats, longhorns, rabbits, sheep and alpacas.

Baby pigs

What's new for families?

The festival has some new entertainment for families. They include:

  • Danny Grant's Cowboy Circus will be on the grounds daily with an interactive show where kids can learn how to crack an actual bullwhip, lasso his horse, trick roping and more.
  • You can check out 30-pound feeder pigs from noon to 8 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, right next to the Pig Patch Birthing Center.
  • The Soap Bubble Circus will be roaming the fairgrounds, showing off their various soap bubble skills.

When should we get there?

Festival hours are Friday, May 17, from noon to 10 p.m.; Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, May 19, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Carnival hours are noon to 10 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday. Those times may be extended by one hour on Friday and Saturday based on attendance.

The festival's website has many more details about what's on the schedule. The festival also has an activity sheet for kids with a few activities to do before or after you go.