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MONDAY, OCT. 3, 2011

CONTACT: Natalie Alford, public information officer
N.C. State Fair
(919) 839-4527

Tips to make it a great family day of fun at the fair

RALEIGH -- With kid-sized rides, educational exhibits, roaming entertainers, giant vegetables and plenty of youth competitions, the N.C. State Fair is a great place to make many lasting family memories. Having a plan before you come to the fairgrounds can help your family get the most from your day at the fair.

Following are some of the family-friendly activities to check out, plus some helpful tips:

  • Cultivate a Career exhibit -- This new exhibit, located near Gate 12, allows visitors to go on an interactive, career-personality scavenger hunt to learn about a wide variety of jobs available in the agriculture industry. Fairgoers can “drive” a high-tech tractor in a simulation game, analyze specimens under a microscope and follow crops through the production process. In addition, career counselors and businesses will be present to offer college and career advice.
  • Racing pigs -- Located behind the Kerr Scott Building, the Circle C Racing Pigs are a popular family attraction. Come cheer on your favorite piggy for the win.
  • Field of Dreams -- Learn how food is grown and how it makes its way from the field to grocery stores and farmers markets. The Field of Dreams exhibit is beside Dorton Arena.
  • State Fair Ark -- Located in the Expo Center, visitors can check out all the different varieties of animals in competition and on display during the State Fair.
  • Livestock shows -- Throughout the fair, the Jim Graham Building, the Kelley Building, the Expo Center and the Sheep and Goat Tent will play host to livestock competitions. Stop in and see youngsters and adults competing for ribbons and prize money.
  • See an extra-large serving of fruits and vegetables in the Expo Center. The horticulture exhibit features a variety of fruits and vegetables grown in the state from the common to the unusual. It also includes the ever-popular giant pumpkins and watermelons. Pumpkins typically weigh in from 600 to 800-plus pounds, while the watermelons can easily top 200 pounds. The giant pumpkin area includes a photo opportunity.
  • Decorated cakes in the Commercial and Education buildings -- The decorated cakes in the Education Building draw a steady line of visitors to see the serious and whimsical creations of professional and amateur cake decorators.


  • Arrive early and plan to make a day of your visit. The fairgrounds are less crowded in the mornings, making it a great time to walk through exhibits, go to the Village of Yesteryear, catch the early Folk Festival performances or ride some rides. Weekdays are less crowded than weekends, and the first Friday is historically one of the least busy days.
  • Pick up a daily schedule at entrances or information booths so you can plan to take in everything you would like to see during your visit. Schedules feature a map of the fairgrounds, showing buildings and tent locations for attractions. Schedules also include show times for grounds entertainment so visitors can be at the right place at the right time. To get a good seat, plan to arrive early for some of the most popular shows, such as the racing pigs.
  • Food is often cited as the No. 1 reason people attend the fair. Every year vendors hope to grab the attention of fairgoers with the latest deep-fried treat or over-the-top concoction. Many food items are perfect for sharing, giving you the opportunity to try something new while still having room for a favorite food treat. There are also many free samples to enjoy, including hush puppies, cheeses and peanuts.
  • If you plan to spend the day at the fair, plan some down time too. The fair is a great place to people watch. Recent grounds renovations have added additional seating, but you can also find places to sit around the waterfall and Kitchen Craft Waterfall Stage, in the Expo Center Lawn, in front of Dorton Arena and in Kiddieland Fun Park. The Flower and Garden show area is typically a relaxing and quieter place to sit.
  • You can learn a lot at the fair while having fun. Use the State Fair Scavenger Hunt as an educational way to explore the fairgrounds. The scavenger hunt can be printed at home and brought to the fairgrounds. When you finish the hunt, you can turn the sheet in for a ribbon. Go to to download the scavenger hunt. Another educational opportunity can be found at the Village of Yesteryear, which features crafters making old-time crafts. Crafters are happy to talk about their work.

The N.C. State Fair will be held at the N.C. State Fairgrounds Oct. 13-23. Discount tickets are available online now and at 11 retail locations across the state through Oct. 13. Adult tickets are $6 in advance, $8 at the gate. Children’s tickets are $2 in advance or $3 at the gate. Children under 6 and seniors age 65 and older get in free. Ride sheets also can be purchased in advance for $10 for a sheet of 18 tickets. For more information, including a complete schedule of events and show times, or to buy fair tickets, go to



NCDA&CS Public Affairs Division, Brian Long, Director
Mailing Address:1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1001
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3005; FAX: (919) 733-5047

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