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Military Appreciation Day at N.C State Fair on Wednesday

Posted October 22, 2019 10:24 a.m. EDT
Updated October 23, 2019 11:05 a.m. EDT

Military Appreciation Day at the N.C State Fair is Wednesday, October 23, with a Military Appreciation Parade, Army Band and discounted tickets for military and dependents. Read on for the details on this offer and a number of other ways to save at the fair this year.

October 23: Military Appreciation Day

Military Appreciation Day is Wednesday, October 23.

11:00 am: Military Appreciation Parade starting at the carnival midway.

Plus, there are a number of other free events at Dorton Arena to honor our military on October 23 including the following at the Waterfall Stage.

Waterfall Stage Activity Schedule

Noon - Military Appreciation Day Program

12:30 p.m. - 440th Army Band

2:30 p.m. - Historical Uniform Revue presented by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

4 p.m. - 440th Army Band

6 p.m. - 440th Army Band

Remember that Military adults and dependents get a discounted ticket of $8 at the gate every day

See the details on the N.C. State Fair website.

The 2019 N.C. State Fair runs from Thursday, October 17 until Sunday, October 27 with rides, shows, crafts, livestock and fried everything.

Read on for details about advanced sale ticket and ride discounts, military discount, student discount, free admission with a food donation, free weekday lunch pass, free parking and other ways to save at the fair this year!

Fair Dates: The 2019 N.C. State Fair will take place from Thursday, October 17 until Sunday, October 27.

Fair Location: The fair is located at 1025 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27607. You can find extensive details regarding the event on their website.

Fair Hours: On Thursday October 17, the gates and Midway open at 12 pm. Gates open each day starting Friday, October 18 at 8 am. The Midway opens at 10 am. See their website for details on ticket booth hours and closing times for each day.

Discounted Admission and Free Days

Seniors 65 and older: FREE every day!

Kids 5 and younger: FREE every day!

Military Discount

Active-duty service members, reservists, retirees, National Guardsmen and their dependents (ages 13-64) all get a discount. Also, veterans are offered the same discount for themselves, and a guest or dependent. The discounted admission tickets are $8 per person every day at the gate. Identification is required. See their website for a list of acceptable ID's.

Free Weekday Lunch Pass Admission

Get into the Fair for FREE during lunch on the weekdays! Here are the details from their website:

* "Visit Gate 9 off Trinity Road, or Gate 1 off Hillsborough Street 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 $10 with cash (cash sales only).

* Buy your lunch from the many fair food vendors on site. Fair food vendors take cash. ATMS are available inside the fairgrounds.

* Return the lunch card by 1:30 p.m. to the same gate you entered on the same day purchased the card for a full $10 cash refund.

* If you leave later than 1:30 p.m., then you forfeit your $10. The card is good only on the day purchased. This program is only for adult admission."

October 24: Food Lion Hunger Relief Day FREE Admission with Food Donation

The annual Hunger Relief Day is Thursday, October 24. Bring six cans of food to the N.C. State Fair on Thursday, Oct. 24, and you will receive one free admission ticket!

Look for canned food on sale in the next couple weeks for as low as .27 per can to get a great deal on admission!

The donated food will go to the The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. They will distribute the cans to those in need in a 34 county area surrounding Raleigh. Since 1993, over 5 million pounds of food have been donated by fairgoers. This is a fantastic way to get a super discount on fair admission AND help your neighbors in need!

Advance Sale Admission Tickets Online

Fast Track Online Price Through October 17: $10 for adults and $5 for kids (the regular price at the gate is $13 for adults and $7 for kids ages 6 – 12)

Fast Track Online Price October 12 -21: $13 for adults and $7 for kids (the regular price at the gate is the same)

Casey's Family 4-Pack: For $60 you get 4 FastTrack Gate Admission Tickets, 2 Ride Sheets (18 tickets per sheet) and 1 Casey Cardinal Plush Doll. Family 4-Packs are available online and must be purchased by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 17. . See the details on their website.

Dizzy Pass: For $33 you get 1 FastTrack Gate Admission Ticket and 1 Unlimited Ride Wristband. These tickets are only available online through October 17. See the details on their website.

Kegs and Corks Pass: For $17 you get 1 FastTrack Gate Admission Ticket and 1 Our State Public House Admission ticket with your choice of two 8oz. N.C. craft beer samples or two 3oz. N.C. wine samples. These tickets are only available online through October 17. For $12, you get 1 FastTrack Gate Admission Ticket and 1 Our State Public House Admission ticket with your choice of one craft soda. Additional craft soda tickets can be purchased for $5 each. See the details on their website.

State Fair Flyer Tickets: The State Fair Flyer allows riders to traverse the carnival as you see the midway below you. Advance Sale tickets can be purchased August 1-October 17 and are $4 for a one-way or $7 for a round-trip ticket. At the Fair or Online tickets can be purchase October 17-October 27 and are $5 for a one-way ride or $8 for a round-trip ticket. State Fair Flyer tickets do not include admission to the N.C. State Fair and are not valid for carnival rides or the State Fair SkyGazer. State Fair Flyer tickets purchased online may be redeemed at the State Fair Flyer. See the State Fair website for all the details.

State Fair SkyGazer Tickets: Tickets for the 155' Ferris Wheel include Advance Sales from August 1-October 17 for $6. Tickets purchased at the Fair or online from October 17-October 27 are $7. State Fair SkyGazer tickets do not include admission to the N.C. State Fair and are not valid for carnival rides. State Fair SkyGazer tickets purchased online may be redeemed at the State SkyGazer. For $14 you can purchase the State Fair SkyGazer Package online from August 1-October 17. The package incldues 1 FastTrack Gate Admission Ticket and 1 State Fair SkyGazer Ticket. State Fair SkyGazer tickets are not valid for carnival rides.

Advance Sale Ride Tickets

Advance Tickets sales take place from August 1-October 17. The cost is $10 for a sheet of 18 ride tickets. Most rides require 5-6 tickets each.

Tickets purchase at the Fair or Online from October 17-October 27 are $1 per ticket at carnival ticket booths or $18 for a sheet of 18 tickets online.

Unlimited Ride Wristbands are now available for every day of the Fair. Advance Purchase Cost: $25 before the fair starts online only until 11:59 a.m. on Thursday, October 17. Each wristband will be good for one day only and will be redeemed at the N.C. State Fair Ride Redemption Tents. Fair Cost: $35 either online once the Fair begins or purchased at a midway ticket booth. The wristbands are only good for one day. They do not include the State Fair Flyer or admission to the fair.

Special Discount and Event Days

October 18: Friday Frenzy Student Discount Day

Students get a $8 admission ticket when they show their school identification or recent (2018/2019) report card at the ticket booth. One ticket per student ID at the reduced price.

October 22: Senior Citizen's Day

Seniors age 65 and over get in free every day of the Fair and on Tuesday, Oct. 22, they also receive a free Bojangles breakfast and entertainment at the Senior Citizen Fun Festival. The event takes place at Dorton Arena from 9 to 10:30 a.m.


October 23: Military Appreciation Day

Military Appreciation Day is Wednesday, October 23.

11:00 am: Military Appreciation Parade starting at the carnival midway.

Plus, there are a number of other free events at Dorton Arena to honor our military on October 23 including the following at the Waterfall Stage.

Waterfall Stage Activity Schedule

Noon - Military Appreciation Day Program

12:30 p.m. - 440th Army Band

2:30 p.m. - Historical Uniform Revue presented by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

4 p.m. - 440th Army Band

6 p.m. - 440th Army Band

Remember that Military adults and dependents get a discounted ticket of $8 at the gate every day

October 24: Food Lion Hunger Relief Day FREE Admission with Food Donation

The annual Hunger Relief Day is Thursday, October 24. Bring six cans of food to the N.C. State Fair on Thursday, Oct. 24, and you will receive one free admission ticket!

Look for canned food on sale in the next couple weeks for as low as .27 per can to get a great deal on admission!

The donated food will go to the The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. They will distribute the cans to those in need in a 34 county area surrounding Raleigh. Since 1993, over 5 million pounds of food have been donated by fairgoers. This is a fantastic way to get a super discount on fair admission AND help your neighbors in need!

For more information on the special events listed above, head to their website.

FREE Parking Options

The N.C. State Fair has a parking lot at the corner of Edwards Mill and Reedy Creek. They also provide FREE shuttles. The address is 4501 Reedy Creek Road, Raleigh, NC 27607.

Free parking is also available on State Fair, Carter-Finley Football Stadium and PNC Arena properties.

See all the parking options as well as Park & Ride details and information on getting there by North Carolina's AMTRAK train on their website.

Enter to Win A Prize Pack through October 15

Courtesy of Millennium Buildings, WRAL is offering one lucky entrant a family prize pack, including fast track admission tickets for 4, ride tickets (plus tickets for the State Fair Flyer & the Ferris Wheel), AND $100 gift card for food, drinks and games! Enter to win the prize pack HERE.


Additional tips for saving at the fair

Bring your own food: You can bring in food and drinks in small bags which can save you a small fortune. No glass bottles or alcohol are allowed. I realize that one of the main reasons that many folks go to the fair is for the amazing (and sometimes bizarre) foods that you only see once a year. You can still pack your own water bottles and additional snacks to enjoy after you have indulged in the fair food.

Free exhibits and events: Enjoy the many free exhibits and events including Antique Farm Machinery, Flower and Garden Show, Village of Yesteryear, Folk Festival, Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show, Racing Pigs, Flippin' Aerial & Acrobatic Spectacular, Steve Trash's Green Street Magic Show, Stilt Circus, multiple music stages and much more! See the full schedule of free entertainment and exhibits on their website.

Make it an educational field trip: There are plenty of free activities and exhibits at the fair every year. There is a whole education section on the fair website with information on the many educational opportunities at the fair. Free coloring pages for the kiddos are available on the fair website.

Money saving suggestions readers offered in the last couple years:

* "Take your own cups-we use ones bought previous years-anything with a lid and/or straw. Many places will refill any cup for $1. Share food-usually big portions so you can share and that leads to trying more things anyway." - from Ashley, 10-2017

* "My tip is to buy your ride ticket sheets at Food Lion for the best price and to avoid the online fee! I was able to use my Huggies Catalina (register coupon) to get a free ride sheet!" - from Heather, 10-2017

* "Sharing food is something we do. Normally the portions are very large and we can also try more things that way."

* "We always take a huge empty cup. A lot of the vendors will refill any cup for $1."

* "The best way to make sure you don't spend too much is to take in a certain amount of cash and leave the atm card in the car. You will be more selective on what you purchase and once it's gone and you've made that long walk back to your car, you aren't likely to turn around and go back in!"

* "I always pack juice boxes and water for our outings. My 3 years has her own backpack that she puts her juice and snacks in."

* "Free samples of food can help fill you up. Go the the Got to Be NC tent for lots of free food samples, including seafood. There is a cheese sampling tent near the Jim Graham building. The commercial and education building has some free food samples including roasted peanuts, maple cotton candy and hush puppies. In the Kerr Scott building you can find samples of meat products, honey cotton candy, peanuts, maple butter and cookies."

Have fun and remember: It’s your money – spend it wisely!