Having fun at the NC State Fair doesn’t have to break the bank

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina State Fair can be a blast, but it’s important to make sure you don’t blow your budget.

Families from across the state, and even from places outside North Carolina, are making their way to Raleigh for the State Fair to check out the rides, games, and of course, the food.

State Fair on Friday (WNCN)

While the experience can definitely be a good one, it doesn’t come cheap.

“I think the most important thing is the budgeting – just making sure you don’t overspend because it can get pricey,” said fairgoer Shonda Hargrove of Warrenton.

Budgeting is a smart move.

“I brought 3 grandchildren and we give them so much money a piece,” said Ann Jackson of Goldsboro.

Jackson said she has a spending plan and she makes sure to stick to it.

“Twenty dollars’ worth of ride tickets and $20 for prizes.”

Nearly one million people are spending their hard-earned money to have a good time at the State Fair, but it doesn’t have to be expensive if you plan it out right.

“We have dozens of free fairground sets, the exhibits are free, we have the field of dreams, the mobile milk dairy and lots of fun that doesn’t cost a thing,” said Heather Overton with the N.C. State Fair.

You can start the saving before you even go through the gates by buying your tickets online. That will save you a dollar right there.

You also have the option of bringing your own food and drinks to the fair.

There’s also one day where everyone can get in free as long as they bring some canned goods.

Hot Fresh Mini-Donuts booth still going strong after 35 years at NC State Fair

“[Thursday] Oct. 22 is Food Lion Hunger Relief Day and you can gain free admission for five cans of Food Lion canned food,” Overton said.

If you’re a military service member then you can enjoy daily discounts at the fair. Military service members get a 44 percent discount at the gate for themselves and their families. In order to get the discount you must bring an approved military or veteran service ID.

For those who don’t have a lot of time to enjoy the fair but still want to check it out, there’s a program called the Weekday Lunch Pass where guests can enter at gates one or nine, leave $10 with the attendee and then go inside to buy lunch. If you leave before 1:30 p.m. then you get your money back.

For more information on the N.C. State Fair, check out our State Fair page here.

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