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Fried food, fireworks, games, shows, live music and so much more fill up Raleigh’s annual N.C. State Fair. While most of us longtime residents have experienced the fair at least a few times over, newcomers to town—and these days, there are more of those than ever—may wonder what all the fuss is about. Go find the fun for yourself with our guide to this year’s festivities! The N.C. State Fair will run October 17-27.
3 PLACES TO PARK
Reedy Creek Parking with free shuttle — 4501 Reedy Creek Road
Free parking on State Fair property, PNC Arena and Carter Finley Stadium
Neighboring private lots (prices vary)
5 THINGS TO EAT
Sweet Roasted Corn
Howling Cow Ice Cream
Candied Bacon S’more or Toffee S’more from La Farm Bakery
Crack-N-Cheese Waffle Cone from Hickory Tree Turkey BBQ — Waffle cone stuffed with mac and cheese and topped with turkey bbq, turkey cracklings, coleslaw and signature sauce
Ham Biscuits from United Methodist Church
Al’s French Fries
Arepa Burger from Arepa Loca
4 THINGS TO DO
Skygazer Ferris Wheel
The State Fair’s newest addition this year is the SkyGazer Ferris Wheel, North America’s largest traveling Ferris wheel. At 155 feet tall, the ride will provide a 15-mile view of surrounding Raleigh.
Flippin’ Aerial & Acrobatic Spectacular
Acrobats, comedians and aerialists perform a fantastic live routine involving flying contraptions, body mechanics and more.
Cast in Bronze
A masked “Spirit of the Bells” performs a unique music act on the carillon, which consists of 35 four-ton bells.
Our State Public House
Take a breather with wine, beer and craft soda. Offerings will change daily.
WHEN TO GO
Friday Frenzy: Friday, October 18 — $8 admission for students (with student ID)
Food Lion Hunger Relief Day: Thursday, October 24 — Bring six cans of food and get in for free
Senior Citizens’ Day: Tuesday, October 22 — While seniors age 65 and over get in free every day, on this day they also get a free Bojangles breakfast at the Senior Citizen Fun Festival at Dorton Arena from 9 to 10:30 a.m.
Lunch Pass Program: Weekdays 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. — Buy a lunch card for $10 (cash only), grab lunch from any of the food vendors, then return your lunch card before 1:30 p.m. at the same gate you purchased it for a $10 refund
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