Preparing for the NC State Fair This Year

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Featured Photo by Iczar Mendoza/

It’s almost that time. The much anticipated return of the North Carolina State Fair. People all over the state are especially antsy for this year’s fair, after the pandemic resulted in being cancelled in 2020. This fall, you can finally make your return to the NC State Fairgrounds from October 14 – 24, but there are a few things you should know! Check out the following guide to the North Carolina State Fair to ensure you’re prepared. If you’ve recently relocated to the Triangle and are settling into your new home, this is the perfect activity to bring your family to. Whether you’re new to the Raleigh-Durham area, or look forward to the fair every year, there’s something for everyone!

COVID Considerations

The North Carolina State Fair is encouraging those who plan on visiting the fair this fall to get vaccinated, but will not require proof of vaccination to attend the fair. With that being said, free COVID-19 vaccinations will be available at the fair this year. Cary United Methodist Church is partnering with Wake County Public Health, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and FEMA to offer the vaccine in its restaurant space. While masks are not required either, they are recommended. Disposable masks will be offered at the gate and can also be found at guest services.

If you’re concerned about the crowds, the best time to go to the fair is on a weekday before lunch. After that, crowds begin to gather in larger numbers. Hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer will also be available throughout the fairgrounds for those being extra cautious.

New Clear Bag Policy

Adopting the NCAA’s clear-bag policy, bags of any size will be allowed, as long as they are clear. Wristlets, diaper bags, and medical equipment bags are exceptions to the rule but will be inspected before entry.

New Food & Rides

There will be 40 new vendors at this year’s fair. If you enjoy the thrill of the rides, there are two new rides this year, one called the Itsy Bitsy Spider Wheel and the other called the Sky Hawk.

The N.C. Public House, which showcases locally-made beers, wines, ciders and sodas, will be moved to the South Dorton Arena lobby. Tickets can be purchased for two servings of wine, cider or beer in advance.

Get ready for exciting new food options too, as new vendors coming to the fair include lobster rolls, shaved ice, stuffed avocados, homemade cookies, and even shrimp and grits on a stick.

Parking Options

Free parking is available on State Fair, Carter-Finley Football Stadium, and PNC Arena properties. Recreational vehicles are not allowed to remain in the parking spaces managed by the State Fair between the hours of midnight and 8 a.m.

There are also several options for shuttles and other external lots. More information can be found on the fair’s official website.

To purchase tickets in advance and to learn more information about vendors, schedules, and rides, head here to see a full rundown of all the important information you need to know.