Officials inspect NC State Fair games

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — With the North Carolina State Fair preparing to open, there are a lot of last minute things to be taken care of, including inspecting the games on the midway.

Inspectors are making sure the games are games of skill, not chance, and that they’re winnable.

To help determine that, the sheriff’s inspectors brought along a group of kids to test games like the “ring on the bottle” under real life conditions.

While the kids played that game, the sheriff asked the operator to make some changes of the games rules.

“‘The operator is the sole judge.’ You can’t have that. We are the judge. That has to come off,” the sheriff told the operator.


Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said he also looks at the signage to make sure there’s no doubt about what it will cost to play a game.

Wednesday, a half-dozen inspectors checked each and every midway game.

There’s a reason why all the prizes given away on the midway are either soft and cuddly, items of clothing or small toys.

“No things that look like guns or any type of weapon can be given away,” Harrison said. “It used to be back in the day, you could let them give away plastic guns with red tips but now the way society is and the way criminals are, they have real guns with red tips.”

There are still shooting games on the midway, but, in this day of heightened security even the air rifles have to be modified.

“They are chained down, so they can’t aim it into the crowd, said the sheriff.

But before you can ever play the midway games, you’ve got to get into the fair.

There are some costs that are fixed and that’s for rides and admissions. There are also some deals. One deal is kick-off day admission is only $1.50. After that, prices go up.

Tickets cost as follows at the gate. A discount is available for those buying tickets online. A discount is also available for early purchases made by the end of the day Thursday.

  • Adults – $10
  • Military – $6
  • Children 6-12 – $5
  • Children under 5 and adults over 65 — Free

The fair operates rain or shine and there are no refunds.

Ride tickets cost $1 per ticket, or $35 for a one-day unlimited ride wristband.

Early purchases are available, at a discount, through Thursday.

The fair’s website is

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