Good weather is expected along with some of the busiest crowds for the final weekend of the N.C. State Fair.
Rain is not in the forecast through the fair’s finale on Sunday. The weekend should see mostly sunny skies with high temperatures near 80 degrees, according to ABC11.
The 7-day attendance total through Wednesday was 547,659, lower than last year’s count of 571,251 but well more than the 27-year average of 471,232 for the first seven days.
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But be prepared heading into the weekend. The final Saturday and Sunday are on average two of the three busiest days at the fairgrounds over the past 10 years. Last year, more than 150,000 people attended the final Saturday, and more than 115,000 went on the closing Sunday.
Remaining Dorton Arena concerts are as follows:
Friday: Chairmen of the Board featuring Ken Knox (beach)
Saturday: Dillon Fence, Preeesh! (alternative)
Sunday: Jump, Little Children; She Returns from War
The shows are free with paid fair admission. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concerts begin at 7:30, but lines start to form about 6 p.m.
Concert and a beer
After 150 years of being alcohol-free, the fair introduced beer and wine sales for the first time this year, with the intention of showcasing the state’s wineries and craft breweries. Throughout the fair, 42 breweries and 27 wineries will have rotating samples.
Consumption at the Our State Public House in Heritage Circle, where the event is taking place, limits customers to four 4-ounce tastings of beer or four 1 1/2-ounce tastings of wine. Customers are limited to one flight per day.
Not publicized are the beer sales at several Dorton Arena concerts.
But like the tastings, there are limits.
Dorton’s Murphy House concessionaire sells 16-ounce cups of craft beers at a cart on the arena floor. Consumption is allowed only inside the seating area, not in the lobbies or outside.
The cost per beer is $7, and no one can buy more than one. Vending staff stamps customers to prevent any repeat buyers.
“We wanted to test it at a couple of shows,” said Brian Long, spokesman for the fair as well as the N.C. Department of Agriculture. “It’s something the Brewers Guild was interested in, and we said we’ll test it at a couple of shows to see how it goes.”
Around 8,000 people had partaken of beer or wine samples at Our State Public House through Monday, said Fawn Pattison, who is interim executive director of the Craft Brewers Guild.
Beer sales at Dorton during the Homegrown Music Festival Saturday show weren’t publicized.
“We just didn’t want to make a big deal about it,” said Long. “I have been told there were no problems associated with [beer sales] the other night.”