100 Free

 

General Fun

 

•  Tag your kids, tag your wife, tag all your friends. The State Fair is a BIG place and sometimes it’s easy to get separated. We’ve got stickers at every gate and information booth to help us reunite you if someone goes astray!

•  Get an “I Met Casey Cardinal” button when you say “Hi” to Casey at his Clubhouse in Kiddieland.

•  We’ve got selfie stations all over the place! Capture your memories…and get ready for holiday card season!

•  Deep Fried B-I-N-G-O—can you get five in a row?

•  Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good #selfie? Print a copy of our Selfie Challenge to bring with you—how many can you get?

•  We revamped our Scavenger Hunts brought to you by Wake Tech WakeWorks Apprenticeship this year. They’re now age-based and ready for you to download under our education section of the website. We even added a couple for the Flower & Garden Show.

•  Thursday, October 21st is Smithfield Foods Hunger Relief Day. Bring six cans of food to the gate in exchange for one admission ticket.

•  11 days. 2 stages. 105 concerts. Hear old favorites & discover new artists as part of our Homegrown Music Fest on the Heritage Circle Bluegrass Stage and the Live and Local Waterfall Stage powered by Curtis Media Group.

•  C’mon…who are we kidding…the people watching at the State Fair is worth the price of admission!

•  Sponsors are located throughout the grounds—stop by for a visit and score some free swag!

•  You’ll be covering many miles on your trip to the fair. Make sure you bring a water bottle and stay hydrated! We’ve got two bottle filling stations! One across from Casey’s Clubhouse and one in the grassy area, under the trees, between Kiddieland and the Scott Building.

•  Field of Dreams brought to you by North Carolina' Electric Cooperatives will be decked out this year for Harvest on the Farm…make sure you have camera ready to capture the perfect holiday card and our specially themed backdrop!

•  Where am I? Am I missing something? What time are the pig races? Make sure you pick up a Daily Schedule either at the entrance gates or one of our Guest Relations booths.

•  Don’t want to fight the traffic? Head over to park at our Reedy Creek/Edwards Mill Road site and you can not only park for free, we’ll bring you straight to the gate for free too!

•  Make sure you’re following us @ncstatefair on TikTok. You never know when we might catch you having fun!

•  We’ll cut the ribbon and commemoratively open our 153rd N.C. State Fair on Friday, Oct. 15 at 11 a.m. outside Dorton Arena. Come on out to shake hands and thank those who’ve worked so hard to make this the best Fair yet!

•  Rushing out of the house and forgot your mask? Just ask for one at the gate, or stop by one of our Guest Relations booths.

•  We've got a new Universal Changing Table in the main floor Mothers' Room in the Scott Building. Thanks, Bandwidth!

•  Sharing the Fair with your friends on social media? Don’t forget to #ncstatefair and you’re automatically entered to win the Fair Fan Photo of the Day presented by Duke Energy. Winners will receive some awesome swag.

•  Tuesday, Oct. 19, we’ll be hosting our Senior FunFest in Dorton Arena from 9-10:30 a.m. We’ll have Bojangles’ biscuits, coffee and some awesome entertainment just outside on the Waterfall Stage.

•  Sunday, Oct. 17, is accessABILITY Day presented by Bandwidth. We'll have a free gate giveaway and a ton of adaptive activities to enjoy for free in the Dorton Arena picnic area.

•  The smiles and memories made will be the best part of your visit!!

 

 

 

Competitions

 

•  Thank your North Carolina farmers! This year, we've started a new Farm Family of the Day program presented by Tractor Supply Company. We owe so much to our local farmers and producers. Remember to say thank you, the N.C. State Fair is their harvest party afterall!

• Celebrating their 73rd year, the Folk Festival celebrates North Carolina’s musical heritage daily near the Heritage Circle Church.

•  Think you have what it takes? Participate in a pull-up challenge at the U.S. Marines exhibit on Military Day, Wednesday, Oct. 20.

•  We’ve got a new educational opportunity this year! In Hobbies and Handicrafts, those who are visually impaired can touch different exhibits as one of our staff talk them through the process of creating the piece.

•  On the Spot Competitions are happening in the Dorton Arena Lobby—you never know where you’ll spot a spontaneous rubber chicken fling or ice cream eating contest.

•  We’ve definitely got the best cooks in the region! Head over to the Commercial/Education Building and take home a cookbook of all of last year’s Special Cooking Contest winning recipes.

•  It’s time for a rematch! Cheer on the teams as they compete head-to-head in our Tobacco Stringing Competition on Friday, Oct. 15 at 2 p.m.

•  Head over to the Apprenticeship Tent daily to cheer on your favorite tradesman/woman.

•  Want to indulge your artistic side? Don't miss the Arts & Photography area in the Scott Building and see the world through the artist's lens.

•  Time to get off Pinterest and get some inspiration in real life! Head over to the Commercial/Education Buildings to view this year’s competition entries and get ready for your next project.

•  Looking for a new idea for your Christmas Tree? Our brand-new Christmas Tree decorating contest in the Education takes it to the next level!

• Our Special Cooking Contests are getting a new home this year. Make sure you remember to see them in action on the Dorton Arena Got to Be NC stage.

 

 

Entertainment

 

•  Always a crowd favorite, the Hogway Speedway is back in action between Gates 9 and 10. Cheer on Piggy Gordon as he vies for the ultimate prize…a cheese doodle! Pig Races happen multiple times daily...you won’t want to miss these!

•  Real-life lumberjacks are displaying their skills in the State Fair Conservation Forest sponsored by Enviva, located behind Heritage Circle and in Kiddieland, near Gate 11. Check the Daily Schedule for Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show times.

•  Show your appreciation by stopping to observe the Military Appreciation Day Tractor Parade as it meanders through the fairgrounds on Wednesday, Oct. 20th at 10 a.m.

•  The carillon is played by a silent and masked "Spirit of the Bells" that appears only to breathe life into the instrument for the performace. The carillons of Cast in Bronze consist of 35 bells each with a total weight of four tons each. Performances daily in the Flower and Garden Show.

•  Head over to the N.C. Public House to hear all about North Carolina Craft Beer and Wine from some of the industry’s experts during their educational sessions. They'll be in the South Dorton Lobby this year!

•  You’ll have to visit Kiddieland each day of the Fair to see what costume Stilt Circus has in store for us. They’ll be changing it up each day of the Fair!

•  Percussion more your speed? Don’t forget to see the Street Drum Corps while you’re here. They’ll be performing daily in front of Dorton Arena.

•  Need a break from the crowds on a cool night? Head down to our Tobacco Pavilion in Heritage Circle. We promise there will be a fire roaring, and stories being told. Psst…it’s also the best view of the fireworks since they’ll be back at the pond this year.

•  You’re never too old to learn how to stop, drop and roll, the Fire Safety Show isn’t just for kids!

• This year's Artist-in-Residence, Brian Sobaski, will be outside the Expo Center completing a large-scale sculpture made completely of straw and other natural elements. You're sure to say, "Wow!"

•  Need to take a break and get pampered at the Fair? We’ve got sponsors with massage chairs in the Scott Building and across from the Antique Farm Machinery Building.

•  Always a hit at the Fair, make sure you stop by the WRAL tent outside Dorton Arena to spin their swag wheel!

•  Watch in amazement as the Flippin’ Aerial and Acrobatic Spectacular’s artists twist and turn, performing amazing feats of flexibility and death defying stunts near Gate 10.

•  Make sure you visit Big Smokey at the N.C. Forest Service Exhibit…hint to parents…if you say your child’s name where the Forest Ranger can hear it, Big Smokey will call them by name!

•  The 440th Army Band will be performing on the Waterfall Stage on Wednesday, Oct. 20th. Come on out to support the troops!

•  Bass & rhythm guitar, harmonica, a kick drum, two high-hats, snare drum, cowbell, tambourine and singing with live harmonies can only mean one thing. Bandaloni the one man band will be performing daily near the Scott Building.

 

 

 

Exhibits

 

•  The Got to Be NC Agriculture Pavilion inside Dorton Arena is chock full of Got to Be NC producers, cooking demonstrations, farmer spotlights, and more. It's sure to be a highlight of your visit!

•  Don't miss our working Tobacco Barn. Head down to Heritage Circle to learn the difference between “stringing” and “tying.”

•  Mom knows best…wash those hands!! We’ve got handwashing stations near every animal exhibit. You can even test how well you wash in Germ City near the Graham Building. The black light never lies!

•  See our steam-powered saw mill in action—located behind the N.C. Forest Service exhibit.

•  The N.C. State Forest Service will have aircraft you’ll be able to explore as they explain how they fight fires from the air.

•  We always believe you can never have too many tractors! Head over near the Wilbur Terminus of the State Fair Flyer to check out our antique tractor display area.

•  Everyone loves Rootle & Read-A-Roo! Visit the UNC TV exhibit outside Dorton Arena and give them a fist bump!

•  Giant pumpkins and watermelons, oh my! Find the biggest of the big on display in the Expo Center.

•  We’ve given the Antique Farm Machinery Building a facelift! Head over to see our 2018 ARCY Live! painting installation.

•  Take a virtual reality tour of a pig farm at the NC Pork Council booth in the Graham Building.

•  The Wildlife Resource Commission exhibit is a great place to practice your aim and learn about firearm safety from Wildlife Enforcement Officers at the Pellet Gun Range and don’t forget to grab your commemorative Walleye button.

•  The newly renovated Antique Farm Machinery Museum is full of machines from days gone by.

•  Interested in North Carolina history? The Department of Cultural and Natural Resources has an exhibit in the Expo Center Lobby to fill you in on how to find out more.

•  Visit Field of Dreams brought to you by North Carolina's Electric Cooperatives to learn how your food makes it from the farm to the table.

•  Head over to Safety City near Gate 10 and see how your driving is impaired while driving under the influence…we’re pretty sure your kids will love taking home a “clicker” too!

•  One of the most beloved parts of the Fair, we’ll have fireworks every night at 9:45 p.m. Head over to the pond near Gate 8 for the best view…they’ll launch from a barge on the pond!

•  Ever wondered how your soil was formed? Head over to our new building that's the home of Soil and Water Conservation behind Heritage Circle and explore the Tunnel of Soil.

•  Held daily in Field of Dreams brought to you by North Carolina's Electric Cooperatives, make sure the littles enter our on-the-spot coloring contest for a chance to take home a State Fair bookbag!

•  The N.C. State Highway Patrol are bringing out the classics. Check out their vintage highway patrol cars and learn how to join their ranks in front of the Scott Building.

•  That’s a what? Have the kids learn about some interesting veggies in our Vegetable Petting Zoo daily in the Expo Center.

•  Want to know if you have cash out there waiting for you? Make sure you stop by the N.C. State Treasurer's booth in the Scott Building and claim your cash!

 

 

 

Flower & Garden Show

 

•  Who doesn’t like a good photo op? While visiting the Flower & Garden Show, climb into the Big Chair and say, “CHEESE!”

•  Learn techniques to make a grapevine wreath at home in the Flower and Garden Show.

•  Need some tips on what plants will thrive in your yard? Our experts are ready with the answers!

•  Ever wanted to channel your inner sensei and cultivate your own bonsai? You can find out how in the Flower & Garden Show.

•  On weekend nights in the Flower & Garden Show, you can check out the skills of our fire dancer.

•  Have a love for exotic birds? Check them out in the Flower & Garden Show.

•  An N.C. State Fair tradition…the mum tree will be back in the Flower & Garden Show presented by the North Carolina Manufactured Home Association. Get those cameras ready!

 

 

 

Heritage Circle

 

•  Stroll through the Village of Yesteryear where kids & kids-at-heart can decorate their own stuffed toy.

•  Watch potters throw pots and learn from more than 75 crafters about heritage arts in Village of Yesteryear.

•  No matter what day you visit, something will be happening at Tobacco Barn in Heritage Circle. From stringing and hanging to curing and auctioning, learn about the history of North Carolina tobacco production..

•  Learn old-fashioned woodcarving techniques to handcraft large dough bowls in Heritage Circle.

•  Visiting on a Sunday? Church services will be held at 8:30 and 11 a.m. at the Church in Heritage Circle.

•  Heritage Arts are on full display in Heritage Circle. From a working blacksmith shop to chair caning and dough bowl making, come take a step back in time with us.

 

 

 

Animals

 

•  Never been to a farm? Head over to the Expo Center to see are baby animals and their moms! We’ll have cow/calf pairs, a sow and piglets, baby chicks, goat mountain and many more!

•  Honeybees are our most important pollinators! Visit the Expo Center and learn how to start your own backyard hive.

•  The rabbits are BACK! Field of Dreams brought to you by North Carolina's Electric Cooperatives is host to our Rabbit Playpen. Hop on over to watch them have a ball.

•  They paid WHAT for that steer? Head over to the Graham Building on Friday, Oct. 22,, at 6 p.m. and watch an auctioneer cattle rattle to SOLD at the Junior Livestock Sale of Champions.

•  Learn about modern dairy farming practices at the Southland Dairy Farmers’ Mobile Dairy classroom, located between the Expo Center & Graham Building.

•  Visit the FFA Barnyard to see all the baby farm animals.

•  The Hunt Horse Complex will be home to daily horse shows. Check out everything from mini horses, carriage pulling, draft horses, our youth show and more!

•  Ever wanted matching outfits with your cow? Don’t miss the Dairy Cattle Costume Class in the Graham Building on Sunday, Oct. 24 in the late morning..

•  Interested in starting your own backyard flock? We can help answer your questions in the Poultry Tent near Gate 2.

•  Swim, swim, swim…our duck pond behind the Graham Building near Gate 2 will be filled with all sorts of friendly fowl.

•  The N.C. State Fair is accessible for everyone! Our Special Livestock Show takes place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, October 24. Head over and cheer them on!

 

 

 

Food

 

•  Who doesn’t love a good sample?? Whet your whistle for a full bag of cotton candy goodness in the Commercial and Scott Buildings!

•  Don’t be shy, say, “YES!” to the kettle corn sample in Kiddieland!

•  Discover food products from across North Carolina in the Got to Be NC Agriculture Pavilion inside Dorton Arena.

•  N.C. Fudge will have free samples next to the State Fair Flyer. Go check out them out…we hear there will be NEW FLAVORS this year! Mountain Dew, anyone?

•  Grab a hushpuppy at the entrance to and take a tour of the Old Grist Mill.

•  Smithfield Foods will be near Gate 8 on Thursday, Oct. 21, with free samples and a Bacon for a Year drawing. Sign us up!