The State Fair is here. If you live in an apartment in Raleigh, NC here is some information you need to know.
Instead of a gathering for farmers, the fair has become a celebration of North Carolina agriculture. And this year, for the first time, that will include North Carolina beer and wine on the fairgrounds, in a new log building called the Our State Public House. It is in the Heritage Circle area.
A $10 ticket will entitle you to four 1½-ounce pours of wine or four-ounce samples of beer from among 80 of the state’s wineries and breweries. Tickets will be sold from noon to 8:30 p.m., and there is a limit of one per person. IDs will be checked at the door, and no one under 21 will be admitted.
Here’s what else you can expect at this year’s fair:
Park and ride: There’s a new park-and-ride lot for fairgoers, built in a former cow pasture at the corner of Edwards Mill and Reedy Creek roads, north of Wade Avenue. Free shuttle buses will carry people between the lot and Gate 8 of the fairgrounds every 10 minutes from 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday and from 8 a.m. until one hour after the gates close every other day.
Busy night: There’s also lots of free parking around Carter-Finley Stadium and the PNC Arena. But on Thursday, arena parking will be used by people coming to see the Bruno Mars concert at 8 p.m. Combine the concert and the fair with the usual rush-hour traffic, and Wade Avenue might be a place to avoid if you can that evening. The Carolina Hurricanes and N.C. State Wolfpack have no home games during the fair.
Or leave the car at home: GoRaleigh, GoDurham and GoTriangle offer bus service, and Amtrak makes a special stop during the fair. For schedules and stop locations, go to www.ncstatefair.org/2017/Visitor/GetToFair.htm.
Opening day specials: To celebrate the opening of the 150th fair, admission tickets on Thursday will be only $1.50, and several food vendors will have $1.50 specials as well. The first 15,000 people through the gates will receive a commemorative button, and 150 ride passes and other prizes will be given out each hour to people wearing the buttons.
Rides: Among the 100 rides on the midway are five new ones, including a tea cup ride and Air Raid, a 118-foot tower ride that spins and tips its seats simultaneously.
Hunger relief: Saturdays draw the biggest crowds at the fair, but the next busiest day is the second Thursday, which is Food Lion Hunger Relief Day. Admission is free with five cans of Food Lion brand food, and all donations go to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Since 1993, the fair’s food drive has yielded more than 4.4 million pounds of food.
Tickets: Tickets at the gate are $10 for adults, $6 for military with ID and $5 for children 6-12. Children under 6 and adults 65 and older are free. On Friday, Oct. 13, students with school ID card or report card can get in for $5. Ride tickets are $1 each, or a $35 wristband gives you unlimited rides all day. There are discounts for fair tickets and wristbands purchased online before 11:59 p.m. Oct. 12 at www.ncstatefair.org/2017/Visitor/Tickets.htm.
Hours: The fair opens at 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, and remains open until midnight. From Oct. 13 through Oct. 22, gates are open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., except Fridays and Saturdays when the fair closes at midnight. Exhibit halls open at 9 a.m. and close at 9:45 p.m. when the fireworks begin. The midway is open 10 a.m. to when the fair closes.