This year, the N.C. State Fair will run from Thursday, October 17th to Sunday, October 27th, 2019. While it is an annual tradition for many, it can quickly get expensive. See below for how to save money on tickets, parking, and food.
Definitely scroll down to learn the details of the Food Lion Hunger Relief Day, where you can get free admission in exchange for canned food donations.
Also, check out N.C. State Fair’s list of 100 free things to do.
Ticket Deals and Promotions at the N.C. State Fair
Includes: 1 Fast Track Gate Admission Ticket and 1 Unlimited Ride Wristband
Dizzy Passes are only available online in advance of the fair, so make sure to buy yours before 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, October 17th. You’ll need to redeem your wristband voucher at a ride redemption tent after entering the fair. Fast Track lets you skip the ticketing lines a all N.C. State Fair gates. Fast Track admission doesn’t apply to carnival rides, the State Fair Flyer or the State Fair SkyGazer.
Casey’s Family 4-Pack
Includes: 4 Fast Track Gate Admission Tickets, 2 Ride Sheets (18 tickets per sheet), and 1 Casey Cardinal Plush Doll
Casey’s Family 4-Packs are only available online in advance of the fair, so make sure to buy yours before 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, October 17th. A voucher will be printed for your Casey Cardinal plush, which you can redeem at the State Fair store. You’ll also need to redeem your ride sheets at a ride redemption tent.
Daily Military Discount
Active-duty service members, reservists, retirees, National Guardsman, and their dependents pay only $8 daily at the gate. Veterans are offered the same discount for themselves, plus one discounted ticket for a guest. Proper identification must be presented at the ticket window to receive the discount.
Senior Citizen’s Discount
All seniors age 65 and over receive free admission every day of the fair. On October 22nd, they can also enjoy a free Bojangles’ breakfast and entertainment at the Senior Citizen Fun Festival at Dorton Arena from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Friday Frenzy – Student Discount Day
Friday, October 18th
Students can take advantage of $8 admission by showing their school ID or report card at the ticket booth. Tickets aren’t available online or in advance. One ticket per student.
Food Lion Hunger Relief Day
Thursday, October 24th
Bring 6 cans of food and receive free admission to the fair. Cans will be exchanged for tickets at each admission gate.
Parking at the N.C. State Fair
The State Fair has a free parking lot at the corner of Edwards Mill and Reedy Creek. They will also provide a free shuttle from this lot to the fair, with drop off and pick up occurring at Gate B Carter Finley Stadium. Free parking is also available on State Fair, Carter-Finley Football Stadium, and PNC Arena properties.
Park and Ride options are also offered by Triangle-area buses. These buses will drop you off at Gate 1 on Hillsborough Street.
Check the State Fair website for more information and details on parking areas and park and ride options.
Saving on Food and Drink at the N.C. State Fair
For free food samples stop by the Got To Be NC Agriculture exhibit, which features products from Got To Be NC members for fair-goers to taste and purchase. You can also find various free samples in the Commercial, Scott, and Education buildings.
You are also allowed to bring in your own food and drinks. Water bottle filling stations are available throughout the fair. Be aware that all bags are subject to search at the gate, and that no glass bottles or alcohol are permitted.
Check back soon to see about the Weekday Lunch Pass Program. The way it worked last year is that you could taste all the food the fair has to offer without having to pay admission. Visit Gate 9 or Gate 1 after 11:30 a.m. on weekdays, and purchase a lunch card for $10 (cash only). Then enter the fair and buy your lunch from whichever vendor you wish. Be aware that most fair food vendors only take cash. Return your lunch card by 1:30 p.m. to whichever gate you purchased it from for a full $10 cash refund. If you leave later than 1:30 p.m., you forfeit your $10. This program is for adult admission only.