10 Tips for First Time Fairgoers

The SkyGazer is the biggest Ferris Wheel on the fairgrounds and offers breathtaking views.

Many of us know all about the N.C. State Fair. It is North Carolina’s oldest tradition and is loved by families and friends around our state. However, we have many new people come to our state every year who might not know as much as yearly fairgoers do.

To ensure that first time fairgoers have the Best Day Ever, here are 10 tips for your first trip to the North Carolina State Fair.

  • Know the Fair favorites!

The Fair has so many options, and for some it can be overwhelming. Luckily, there are some State Fair go-to’s that are a good way to grasp the North Carolina tradition. Do some quick Google searches before your trip so that you know what the favorite food, rides, and activities are.

If you’re looking for food, classics are corn on the cob, hot dogs, French fries and turkey legs. We have many vendors who have been serving fairgoers for more than 25 years. There are an abundance pf free activities for first time fairgoers. Be sure to stop by the Agri Supply Expo Center to view livestock and see the winning giant pumpkin. The fireworks at the end of the night are also a staple, and a great way to end your fair experience.

Gate 9
  • Take a picture of the gate you came in.

Parking at the Fair can be a challenge, especially if you are not familiar with the fairgrounds. To know where to exit when you get done with your fair day, take a picture of the gate that you entered through. If you’re visiting with a group, it would also be smart to take a picture of the people you arrive with. This way, you can have a reference photo should you become separated.

  • Plan your trip around your company.

There is nothing worse than not being able to do something at the fair because no one else wants to. If you go to the fair with people who are interested in the same things as you, it is easier to navigate the fair. For example, if you are at the fair with kids, expect to ride rides and play games. Don’t forget that you can always make a second trip to experience the rest of the fair!

  • Check the attractions and vendors beforehand.

A great thing about the State Fair is that there are so many options to choose from. Unfortunately, the number of options available can be a lot for first time fairgoers. To avoid confusion, and make sure you have the ideal experience, check out the attractions and vendors before your trip so that you can plan your day around what you want to do most. Check the daily schedule for times so you don’t miss a show you want to see.

  • Dress appropriately.

Fair days can be long, which means a lot of walking. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes to avoid tired feet or blisters. North Carolina weather is very unpredictable, so be sure to check the weather beforehand and dress accordingly. If you’re planning on staying after sunset, make sure to bring layers as it can get cold.

  • Take advantage of discount days.

There is nothing better than saving a little bit of money, right? Luckily enough, the N.C. State Fair has discounts that can take down the price of tickets. Discount days include discounted admission for N.C. State students, Senior Citizens Day, Military Day, and Smithfield Foods hunger relief day. Go to ncstatefair.org to check the specific days for these discounts.

  • Take your time.

There are 10 days of the State Fair for a reason! With so many activities and things to do, it is very difficult to complete everything on your checklist in one day. Don’t rush through things, take your time and soak up everything that the Fair has to offer. You can always come back to do anything you missed.

  • Come prepared.

North Carolina weather can be hot and humid, even in October. Add walking all day to this, and your hydration may be challenged. Make sure to drink plenty of water before your trip to the fair. You can also bring a water bottle and food if you don’t want to buy any on the fairgrounds.

Fair tip! If your cell phone battery is low, visit the NC Pork Council booth for a free charge.

  • Familiarize yourself with the fairgrounds.

No one wants to get lost on their trip. Before you head to the state fair, it is smart to find a map of the fairgrounds online to see where you want to go, and how to get there. You can also find information on parking and transportation beforehand to avoid any confusion. Maps are also available at the gates.

  • Be aware of your surroundings.

Crowds are sure to accumulate at the State Fair. It is good to always be aware of your surroundings to ensure you don’t stray too far away from your group. One way to get an idea of where you are at is to simply look up. You might see the tops of the Agri Supply Expo Center, Dorton or the peaks on the Graham building. This will give you a rough estimate of where you are located.

With all that is offered at the fair, it is also important to know how to operate in certain situations. For example, be respectful towards the animals on the fairgrounds to avoid putting stress on them.

I hope that these tips helped prepare you for your first North Carolina State Fair, and we hope to see you October 12-22 for your Best Day Ever!

About Karsyn Westerbeek

Hi everybody! I am Karsyn Westerbeek, but you can call me Wolf Tracks. I am a rising senior at North Carolina State University where I major in Communication with a minor in Business Administration. I am from Warsaw, North Carolina, and have always been a fan of the Wolfpack. I absolutely love the State Fair and its ability to bring our community together. That being said, I am so excited to be working as a public relations intern for the State Fair this summer!

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