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Fine Weather Greets Fairgoers on First Day

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STATE FAIRGROUNDS — The 132ndNorth Carolina State Fairopened Friday under a cloudless sky. Folks flocked to the fair for food and fun and found plenty of both.

All parts of the Tar Heel state were represented as people from Charlotte to Currituck found plenty to do.

The Ferris wheel, the motorcycles, hot dogs, cotton candy, candy apples, fans cite all kinds of favorites.

Not all of the rides were operating when the gates opened, though; a few had not yet passedinspectionbecause they were put up late.

Department of Laborinspectors say they hope to have all the rides open by the end of the day. In the meantime, 67 rides are cranked up and ready to go.

Getting to the faircan sometimes be a real challenge.

Gate 11 on Blue Ridge Road is probably the busiest mix of cars and people anywhere near the fairgrounds.

Trooper Danny Jenkins started working the bustling spot in 1975 when Gerald Ford was president.

He says the worst bottlenecks happen when drivers, coming in from all directions, start asking questions.

"Every single person's question is important to them, and it's important to us to get them where they need to be going," Jenkins says.

Troopers suggest you get there by avoiding Blue Ridge Road and Hillsborough Street, and use the Edwards Mill Road interchange off Wade Avenue, instead.

Once you arrive,parking spacesare available at Carter-Finley Stadium along Trinity Road.

A second lot is also open to the public, free of charge, on Blue Ridge Road.

The major change this year is that there will be no parking allowed on Wade Avenue. Police say they will be ticketing cars parked there.

Shuttle services may be your best option.

In Raleigh,CAT buseswill run every day along Hillsborough Street and offer a shuttle from the Nationwide Insurance Building on Edwards Mill Road.

A round trip costs $3, and exact change is required.

In Durham, DATA buses will offer a shuttle service on Sundays only.

Buses leave from the parking garage on Chapel Hill Street starting at 9 a.m.

The fare is 75 cents.

Ticket pricesfor the fair are $6 for adults, $1 for children 6-12. Seniors 65+ and kids five and under get in for free. andMark Roberts


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