Deep Fried Countdown: 10 days

We’re just 10 days out from the start of the 2012 N.C. State Fair. That’s right, just 10 days until the jaw-dropping rides, deep-fried delicacies and amazing agricultural exhibits. If you’re starting to plan your trip, we’ve got the following 10 tips to get you ready for the fair.

  1. Buy tickets in advance
    Buying tickets in advance not only saves you money, but also saves time standing in line when you get to the fair. You can purchase your tickets online at or at nine area retail locations. If you like rides, make sure to buy your ride sheets in advance. You’ll end up saving nearly 50 percent. Also remember that you can still purchase your tickets online, even after Oct. 11. You might not save as much money after the gates open, but you can still save time by not having to stand in line.
  2. Preview the fair
    While the official opening ceremony won’t be until Oct. 12, you can come and preview the fair on Thursday, Oct. 11. Enjoy a reduced gate admission and buy an unlimited-ride wristband for $28 on Preview Day only. In addition, we’ll also be kicking off the Dorton Arena concerts with the Varsity Vocal Showcase Presented by Mattress Firm. If you like “Glee” or the “Pitch Perfect“, you’ll enjoy this concert featuring five college a cappella groups. Tickets are $10 and all proceeds will be donated to the performing schools.
  3. Ride the bus
    Why not avoid traffic headaches and take advantage of park and ride locations in Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Garner, Raleigh and RTP? You can leave your car behind, you won’t have to deal with traffic, and our dedicated bus lanes ensure you will get front-door service to the fair.
  4. Know your entertainers
    We have more than 20 entertainers roaming and performing during the fair. From jugglers and clowns to musicians and stilt walkers. Take some time to enjoy at least one of these acts during your visit.
  5. Animal encounters
    You’ve probably heard about some improvements at the fairgrounds, particularly around the livestock exhibits. The State Fair Study Commission recommended changes aimed at keeping people and competition livestock separated as much as is practical without prohibiting people from seeing animals.You will still be able to pet animals in the petting zoo, but changes will affect the traffic patterns within and around the Kelley and Graham buildings and Expo Center. In addition, visitors will see more hand washing stations across the fairgrounds.
  6. Scavenger Hunt
    If you’re coming with a school group or just bringing your family, make sure you download a copy of the State Fair Scavenger Hunt. You can earn a ribbon just by exploring the fairgrounds and learning more about N.C. agriculture and the State Fair.
  7. Get in for free
    Join us Thursday, Oct. 18, for Food Lion Hunger Relief Day at the State Fair. Bring four cans of Food Lion-brand food with you and get one free gate admission to the fair that day. All of the canned goods will be donated to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, which serves a 34-county area near Raleigh. Because the need is so great, we are encouraging fairgoers to bring more than four cans and help fill the Food Bank shelves.
  8. Get in the spirit
    Check out the 2012 N.C. State Fair commercial. Share the video with your friends and get them in the State Fair spirit.
  9. Warm up your taste buds
    We can’t confirm all the new foods you’ll find at the State Fair this year, but we have heard about a few new treats. Some of the latest deep-fried delicacies include Deep-Fried Girl Scout Cookies (specifically Samoas or Caramel deLights), Philly Cheese Steak Egg Rolls, and Pig Butt on a Stick.
  10. Connect with the State Fair
    Need help finding your favorite ride or food on the fairgrounds? Stay tuned for updates on the latest version of the N.C. State Fair app. In the meantime, feel free to ask us questions on Facebook and Twitter.

About Bearded Lady

Paul Jones blogged for the 2009-2012 N.C. State Fairs. Here's his bio from 2009: Paul Jones, here (a.k.a. Bearded Lady). I love the N.C. State Fair. I love the rides, I love the food, but my favorite part of the Fair is the displays of the unusual. The two-headed snake, the world’s smallest woman, the world’s tallest horse and the list goes on. Originally from South Carolina, I hope that I can bring a different perspective to this blog as I shed light on some of the ordinary, yet extraordinary, aspects of this year’s Fair.

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