Preview Day, Hunger Relief Day offer savings for fairgoers Other special-event days honor military, senior citizens, youth

RALEIGH – Fairgoers looking to save some money during their annual State Fair visit might want to consider planning their trip on a Thursday.

Thursday, Oct. 16, is Preview Day, when fairgoers can save on admission and purchase unlimited ride wristbands.

Thursday, Oct. 23, is Food Lion Hunger Relief Day, when fairgoers can gain admission by bringing five cans of Food Lion brand food.

The fair will also offer other special-event days geared toward the military, senior citizens and youth. Special days include: 

  • The fair will open on Thursday, Oct. 16, at 3 p.m. for Preview Day. Fairgoers can purchase unlimited-ride wristbands for $28, which are good from 3 p.m. until midnight on Preview Day only. Attendees will also receive discounted admission tickets at the gate for $7 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-12. Wristbands cannot be purchased in advance, but will be available at ticket booths on the fairgrounds.
  • Youth and school groups can enjoy special educational opportunities on Monday, Oct. 20, during Subway Youth Celebration Day. Groups of 40 or more are eligible for special admission packages, available via online purchase before Oct. 16. With fewer crowds, groups will have an easier time taking advantage of educational materials for the fair, available at
  • Although senior citizens receive free admission every day of the fair, there will be special events for them on Senior Citizens Day, Tuesday, Oct. 21. Seniors will enjoy a free Bojangles breakfast and entertainment in Dorton Arena from 9 to 11 a.m. Parking will be available in Carter-Finley Stadium at Gate A, and trams will transport attendees from their cars to Dorton. There is no special ticket needed for Senior Citizens Day events.
  • On Wednesday, Oct. 22, the N.C. State Fair will honor U.S. service personnel during the North Carolina Education Lottery Military Appreciation Day. Active-duty service members, reservists, retirees, National Guardsmen and their dependents (ages 13-64) pay only $5 daily at the gate. The first 3,000 people through the gates will receive a small United States flag. Other events scheduled include a parade at 11 a.m. and activities on the waterfall stage, including performances by the 440th Army from 12:30 to 5 p.m.
  • The Food Lion Hunger Relief Day on Thursday, Oct. 23, will benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, which serves 34 counties surrounding Raleigh. Fairgoers bringing five cans of Food Lion brand food can exchange them for a free admission ticket. In the 17-year history of the event, more than 2 million pounds of food have been donated by fairgoers.

The N.C. State Fair will run Oct. 16-26 at the State Fairgrounds. Discount admission and ride tickets are available online until Oct. 16 and at nine walkup locations Oct. 2-16. Adult tickets are $7 in advance and $9 at the gate. Children ages 6-12 are $3 in advance and $4 at the gate. Children under 6 and seniors 65 and older receive free admission. For more information about the 2014 N.C. State Fair, visit