A college student’s guide to the North Carolina State Fair

The fall is one of the best times of the year on a college campus. A highlight for many students is going to the North Carolina State Fair. With so many college students making their way to the fairgrounds to have their own fair experience, we thought we would share some tips for those looking forward to this year’s event.

What is the best day to go to the fair?

Luckily enough for N.C. State University students, there is a special discount if you attend the State Fair with Primetime with the Pack. With this program, you can get $5 off admission with proof of a student ID.

But don’t worry, if you can’t attend on this day (or just want to go again), Smithfield Foods Hunger Relief Day is also a great choice. On this day, if you bring six canned food items with you, you get admission into the State Fair for free! Both options are one-day events, so make sure to check online to stay updated on dates.

Where can I find the cheapest food and drinks?

We understand that college students might be on a budget. Go to Honeycutt’s to find hotdogs, hamburgers, and barbeque sandwiches all for under five dollars. If you’re just looking for a snack, the Wake County FFA concession stand has one of the lowest priced drinks and snacks on the fairgrounds. Howling Cow is also a great option if you’re craving a little bit of home. It is also staffed by NC State students, so this is a good way to see some of your fellow Wolfpack!

If your State Fair mission is food, take advantage of the weekday lunch pass – an admission-only lunch card for $10. Return it to the gate you came in by 1:30 p.m. and get your money back. This is an affordable way to get to eat lunch at the Fair during the week.

Where are the best photo opportunities?

Pictures are the best way to remember the memories made at the State Fair, so a great background is a must. One option is the State Fair Flyer. On this attraction, you can see the beautiful fairgrounds from up high. Don’t forget to grab an aerial shot while you’re up there! Another option is at the Flower and Garden Show mum tree. These gorgeous yellow flowers provide the perfect backdrop for photos. While you’re at the flower show, walk over to Heritage Circle and grab a picture near the pond. This is also a great place to get a firework picture at the end of the night.

How do I get to the Fair from NC State?

The N.C. State Fair is located at 2385 Trinity Rd. and is around a 10-minute drive from N.C. State’s campus. If you’re driving, parking is available at Carter Finley free of charge. If you opt for a Uber or Lyft, drop-off is on Hillsborough Street at Gate 1.

How can I save money on rides?

Another way to save money at the Fair is to purchase ride tickets online in advance. Advanced sales can get you a great discount on ride packages. Another option is the Dizzy Pass, which is a way to purchase your admission ticket and get unlimited rides at one time, and if you purchase in advance you can get it for even cheaper.

What are some free entertainment options?

If you’re looking for a way to relax at the State Fair, sitting down and enjoying music is a great option. At the Homegrown Music Fest, nearly 100 performances every year.  Live music can be found at the Heritage Circle Stage in Heritage Circle, and at the Live and Local Waterfall Music Stage located beside Dorton Arena.

Every evening at 8 p.m. Brad Matchett the comedy hypnotist performs on the Waterfall Stage. This show uses volunteers from the audience who are willing to experience the feeling of hypnosis.

The N.C. State Fair is an event full of fun traditions and great memories. If you’re a college student looking for a great day at the State Fair, I hope this helped you plan your trip!

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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