Hurricane Michael may have delayed the NC State Fair’s opening by a day, but it didn’t prevent vendors and visitors from kicking everything into high gear on opening day! From October 12 to October 21 this year, you can experience everything the fair has to offer.

Logistics, Logistics

  • GPS directions: State Fairgrounds, 1025 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh
  • Fridays and Saturdays: Open 8 am to midnight
  • Sundays and weekdays: 8 am to 11 pm

Tickets! Get Your Tickets Here!

While it’s too late to buy the advanced, discounted tickets, if you don’t have a ticket yet, you can buy them here. Admission tickets are sold up until 9:45 am at the gate. Make sure to scroll down the ticket page and check out the special promotional days and discounts.

Know How to Get There

  • Follow the parking attendants and find a park-and-ride shuttle to take you to and from the entrance:
  • Shuttles will be available only on the weekends. Expect shuttle services on October 13, 14, 20, and 21 only.
  • Shuttles cost $5 per person for a round-trip.
  • Children 12 and under ride free.
  • If you are 65 years or older, or are disabled, fares are $2.50 (must have your GoTriangle ID, Medicare card, or government-issued ID to qualify)
  • For more information on shuttle rides and maps, click here.
  • Parking is free at the PNC Arena and Carter-Finley Stadium lots except when there are events like the Carolina Hurricanes game on Saturday, October 20.

Last year, over a million people were in attendance, and with a crowd like that, you’ll want to have this comprehensive guide bookmarked. Here are the must-do, must-see, and must-eat highlights of the 2018 NC State Fair:


Turkey legs, kettle corn, and funnel cakes are tradition, but are you bold enough to try any of these new food attractions this year?

  • Krispy Kreme with a Texas Pete hot sauce glaze
  • Crack-n-Cheese Waffle Cone Sundae (Hickory Tree Turkey BBQ) - Turkey BBQ mac and cheese served in a waffle cone
  • Chocolate Chip Sweet Hushpuppy (Ragin’ Cajun) - Chocolate-slathered hushpuppies
  • Shrimp and Cheddar Cheese Grits Egg Roll (Woody’s Sports Tavern & Grill) - Fried to perfection
  • Candied Bacon S’mores (LaFarm Bakery) - Bacon. S’mores. ‘merica.
  • Jerk Pork Wrap with Mango Salsa (Cool Runnings Jamaican)
  • Arepa Burger (Arepa Loca)
  • Unicorn Bacon (Bubba’s Bacon) - Bacon on a stick, dipped in frosting and coated with Fruity Pebbles

If you’re looking for something to drink, Our State Public House make available flights of various North Carolina beers and wines. Found in Heritage Circle, the Public House showcases craft beers and local wines from the state. Tickets are $10 each and IDs are checked at the door. 21 and up only. More information and a list of participating businesses can be found here.


  • The Canine Stars - A new attraction this year, this show contains rescued and adopted dogs from shelters doing extreme stunts that are sure to wow.
  • Dream City Ladybugs - Giant (stilted) ladybugs roam around the Flower and Garden Show this year.
  • Kachunga & the Alligator Show - Kachunga wrestles alligators.
  • Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show - Real lumberjacks show off their lumberjack skills in event like axe throwing, log rolling, chainsaw carving, and more at the NC Forest Service area.
  • Hogway Speedway - Watch pig races in action!
  • Bubble Wonders - Amazing bubble tricks right before your very eyes
  • Chinese Imperial Acrobats - Human bodies can do that?
  • Click here for a list of all the attractions available this year.


  • New rides this year include a new rollercoaster, the Super Cyclone. There’s also the Kraken, Downdraft, Dumbo Elephants, and Mini Paratrooper. Click here for a comprehensive list of all the rides you can expect this year.
  • You can also watch competitions—whether you’re into livestock, horses, cooking, or tobacco stringing, there’s something for you to watch (or compete in, if you dare). More on competitions here.
  • Baby farm animals are found at the Expo Center
  • There are two scavenger hunts available, which provide a path to educational exhibits around the fair.
  • Demolition derby and monster trucks require additional tickets which you can buy here.

We at the North Carolina Coalition for Fiscal Health wish you a happy and safe time at the fair. Our mission is to foster a conversation in the community about healthcare policy issues that affect you and your family.

Have the sky-high costs of healthcare in our state impacted you and/or your family’s lives? Do you want to do something about it? Join the Coalition now to receive updates about new legislation and policies that will affect YOUR healthcare. Sign up now!

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