N.C. State Fair: Free breakfast & admission for Seniors on Tuesday

On Tuesday, October 16, Senior Citizens can enjoy a free Bojangles breakfast and entertainment at the Senior Citizen Fun Festival!

October 16: Senior Citizen‘s Day

Seniors age 65 and over get in free every day of the Fair and on Tuesday, Oct. 16, they also receive a free Bojangles breakfast and entertainment at the Senior Citizen Fun Festival. The event takes place at Dorton Arena from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

N.C. State Fair Details

The runs until Sunday, October 21 with rides, shows, crafts, livestock and fried everything.

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Fair Dates: The 2018 N.C. State Fair is taking place through Sunday, October 21.

Fair Location: The fair is located at 1025 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27607. You can find extensive details regarding the event on

Fair Hours: On Thursday October 11, the gates and Midway open at 3 pm. Gates open each day starting Friday, October 12 at 8 am. The Midway opens at 10 am. See for details on ticket booth hours and closing times for each day.

Discounted Admission and Free Days

Seniors 65 and older: FREE every day!

Kids 5 and younger: FREE every day!

Military Discount

Active-duty service members, reservists, retirees, National Guardsmen and their dependents (ages 13-64), veterans and a guest or dependent all get a discount. Admission tickets are $6 per person every day at the gate. Identification is required. See for a list of acceptable ID‘s.

Free Weekday Lunch Pass Admission

Get into the Fair for FREE during lunch on the weekdays! Here are the details from their website:

* Visit Gate 9 off Trinity Road, or Gate 1 off Hillsborough Street ONLY after 11:30 a.m. on weekdays. This offer is not valid at other gates or on weekends.

* Purchase a lunch card at the gate for $10 with cash (cash sales only).

* Buy your lunch from the many fair food vendors on site. Fair food vendors take cash. ATMS are available inside the fairgrounds.

* Return the lunch card by 1:30 p.m. to the same gate you entered on the same day purchased the card for a full $10 cash refund.

* If you leave later than 1:30 p.m., then you forfeit your $10. The card is good only on the day purchased. This program is only for adult admission.

October 18: Food Lion Hunger Relief Day FREE Admission with Food Donation

The annual Hunger Relief Day is Thursday, October 18. Bring five cans of food to the N.C. State Fair on Thursday, Oct. 18, and you will receive one free admission ticket!

Look for canned food on sale in the next couple weeks for as low as .50 per can to get a great deal on admission!

The donated food will go to the The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. They will distribute the cans to those in need in a 34 county area surrounding Raleigh. Since 1993, over 4.8 million pounds of food have been donated by fairgoers. This is a fantastic way to get a super discount on fair admission AND help your neighbors in need!

Advance Sale Admission Tickets Online

Fast Track Online Price Through October 11: $8 for adults and $3 for kids (the regular price at the gate is $10 for adults and $5 for kids ages 6 – 12)

Fast Track Online Price October 12 -21: $9 for adults and $4 for kids (the regular price at the gate is $10 for adults and $5 for kids ages 6 – 12)

Casey‘s Family 4-Pack: For $50 you get 4 FastTrack Gate Admission Tickets, 2 Ride Sheets (18 tickets per sheet) and 1 Casey Cardinal Plush Doll. Family 4-Packs are available online and must be purchased by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, October 11. See the details on their

Dizzy Pass: For $31 you get 1 FastTrack Gate Admission Ticket and 1 Unlimited Ride Wristband. These tickets are only available online through October 11. See the details on their

Kegs and Corks Pass: For $15 you get 1 FastTrack Gate Admission Ticket and 1 Our State Public House Admission ticket with your choice of two 8oz. N.C. craft beer samples or two 3oz. N.C. wine samples. These tickets are only available online through October 11. See the details on their

Mega Fan Mini Pass: For $30, get a Mini Pass that allows you to get fair admission any 5 days of the Fair. The pass is only valid for one scan per day. You can‘t have multiple scans per day. The Mini Passes are only available online and must be purchased by 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, October 11. See the details on their

State Fair Flyer Tickets: The State Fair Flyer allows riders to traverse the carnival from the west end “Orville Terminus” near the Scott Building down to Gate 8 via the “Wilbur Terminus” as you see the midway below you. Package Deal: Purchase 2 State Fair admission tickets and 2 round trip State Fair Flyer tickets for only $26 online. You can also purchase online individual advance discount tickets for $4 one-way or $7 round-trip. See the details on their

Group Discount Tickets: Purchase 40 or more adult tickets in advance of the fair at the same time for $6 per ticket. Purchase 40 or more children‘s tickets (ages 6 – 12) in advance of the fair at the same time for $2 per ticket. The group discounts are available through October 11 at 11:59 pm.

See the for all the details.

Advance Sale Ride Tickets

Buy Advance Sale Ride Tickets through October 11 online or at walk-up locations (see the for list of walk-up locations): $10 for a sheet of $18 tickets (at the fair they are $1 per ticket)

Unlimited Ride Wristbands are now available for every day of the Fair. Advance Purchase Cost: $25 before the fair starts online only until 11:59 a.m. on Thursday, October 11. Each wristband will be good for one day only and will be redeemed at the N.C. State Fair Ride Redemption Tents. Wristbands may be purchased at the advance $25 rate only online. Fair Cost: $35 either online once the Fair begins or purchased at a midway ticket booth. The wristbands are only good for one day. They do not include the State Fair Flyer or admission to the fair.

Online ticket purchases will be subject to a convenience fee.

Special Discount and Event Days

October 12: Friday Frenzy Student Discount Day

Students get a $6 admission ticket when they show their school identification or recent (2017/2018) report card at the ticket booth. One ticket per student ID at the reduced price.

October 16: Senior Citizen‘s Day

Seniors age 65 and over get in free every day of the Fair and on Tuesday, Oct. 16, they also receive a free Bojangles breakfast and entertainment at the Senior Citizen Fun Festival. The event takes place at Dorton Arena from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

October 17: Military Appreciation Day

Military Appreciation Day is Wednesday, October 17.

11:00 am: Military Appreciation Parade starting at the carnival midway.

There are a number of other free events at Dorton Arena to honor our military on October 17 including:

Waterfall Stage Activity Schedule

Noon – Military Appreciation Day Program

12:30 p.m. – 440th Army Band

2:30 p.m. – Historical Uniform Revue presented by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources

4 p.m. – 440th Army Band

6 p.m. – 440th Army Band

Remember that Military adults and dependents get a discounted ticket of $6 at the gate every day

October 18: Food Lion Hunger Relief Day

The annual Hunger Relief Day is Thursday, October 18. Bring five cans of food to the N.C. State Fair on Thursday, Oct. 18, and you will receive one free admission ticket!

Look for canned food on sale in the next couple weeks for as low as .50 per can to get a great deal on admission!

The donated food will go to the The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. They will distribute the cans to those in need in a 34 county area surrounding Raleigh. Since 1993, over 4.8 million pounds of food have been donated by fairgoers. This is a fantastic way to get a super discount on fair admission AND help your neighbors in need!

For more information on the special events listed above, head to their website.

FREE Parking Options:

For the 2nd year in a row, the N.C. State Fair has a parking lot at the corner of Edwards Mill and Reedy Creek. With quick access to I-40 via Wade Avenue, this is an easy lot to access as you make your way to the Fair. They also provide FREE shuttles. You‘ll be dropped off just across from Gate 8 on Trinity Road, and pick up will occur at the same location. Shuttles will run continuously. Drop off and pick up will be at Gate B Carter Finley Stadium. Amenities on site will include a covered waiting area, portable restroom facilities and drink machines. Address: 4501 Reedy Creek Road, Raleigh, NC 27607

Reedy Creek Parking Hours

Thursday, Oct. 11: 2 p.m.- 1 a.m.

Friday, Oct. 12 – Sunday, Oct. 21: 8 a.m. until one hour after gates close

Free parking is also available on State Fair, Carter-Finley Football Stadium and PNC Arena properties. Fairgoers are encouraged to take Wade Avenue to the Edwards Mill Extension to park in these lots. There may be exceptions if events are scheduled at Carter-Finley or PNC Arena.

Additional tips for saving at the fair

Bring your own food! You can bring in food and drinks in small bags. No glass bottles or alcohol are allowed. I realize that one of the main reasons that many folks go to the fair is for the amazing (and sometimes bizarre) foods that you only see once a year. After you enjoy your Sloppy Joe doughnut burger or deep fried Sugar Daddy, you are also going to want something to drink. If you don‘t want to spend way too much money on a bottle of water or a soda, bring your own. Or maybe you plan on taking the whole day to experience the fair and want to make sure you have something to eat with less than 10,000 calories! Pack some snacks and your wallet and belt will thank you.

Free exhibits and events: Enjoy the many free exhibits and events including a Laser Light Show nightly from 7 – 11 pm, Antique Farm Machinery, Flower and Garden Show, Village of Yesteryear, Folk Festival, Chinese Imperial Acrobats, Racing Pigs, International All-Star Circus, multiple music stages and much more! See the full schedule of free entertainment and exhibits on

Make it an educational field trip: There are plenty of free activities and exhibits at the fair every year. There is a whole section on the fair website with information on the many educational opportunities at the fair. Free coloring pages for the kiddos are available on the

WRAL Tent Smart Shopper freebies! Come visit me (and Go Ask Mom‘s Sarah Hall) at the WRAL tent for Smart Shopper and Go Ask Mom Swag on Thursday, October 18 from 10:30 am – 11:30 am. Click the link above for WRAL at the Fair to see the list of folks who will be at the WRAL tent during the fair this year.

Money saving suggestions readers offered in the last couple years:

* “Take your own cups-we use ones bought previous years-anything with a lid and/or straw. Many places will refill any cup for $1. Share food-usually big portions so you can share and that leads to trying more things anyway.” – from Ashley, 10-2017

* “My tip is to buy your ride ticket sheets at Food Lion for the best price and to avoid the online fee! I was able to use my Huggies Catalina (register coupon) to get a free ride sheet!” – from Heather, 10-2017

* “Sharing food is something we do. Normally the portions are very large and we can also try more things that way.”

* “We always take a huge empty cup. A lot of the vendors will refill any cup for $1 :)”

* “The best way to make sure you don‘t spend too much is to take in a certain amount of cash and leave the atm card in the car. You will be more selective on what you purchase and once it‘s gone and you‘ve made that long walk back to your car, you aren‘t likely to turn around and go back in!”

* “I always pack juice boxes and water for our outings. My 3 years has her own backpack that she puts her juice and snacks in.”

* “Free samples of food can help fill you up. Go the the Got to Be NC tent for lots of free food samples, including seafood. There is a cheese sampling tent near the Jim Graham building. The commercial and education building has some free food samples including roasted peanuts, maple cotton candy and hush puppies. In the Kerr Scott building you can find samples of meat products, honey cotton candy, peanuts, maple butter and cookies.”

What ideas do you have for spending less at the fair?

And while you are sharing, what is your favorite food? Favorite ride? Favorite exhibit? Favorite performance or event?

Have fun and remember: It’s your money – spend it wisely!