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State Fair tickets will cost more, but there’s one more chance to pay the old rate

Spectacular sunset views of the State Fair from 350 feet in the air

News & Observer drone footage of the NC State Fair as the sun sets Thursday evening, October 19, 2017.
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News & Observer drone footage of the NC State Fair as the sun sets Thursday evening, October 19, 2017.

This fall your State Fair ticket will cost a few dollars more, but there’s one more chance to buy tickets at the previous rate.

The state Board of Agriculture approved the ticket increases Tuesday afternoon, after NC State Fair manager Kent Yelverton explained the increase would bring in about $1.5 million in revenue.

Yelverton proposed increases of $2 or $3 for all ticket levels, except for children ages 5 or younger and seniors ages 65 or older (who will still get free admission).

All ticket prices — except adult at-gate tickets — will increase $2. The adult at-gate ticket will increase by $3 to $13.

“The savings for an adult will increase from $2 to $3 for purchasing in advance,” Yelverton said. “We believe this will increase our advance sales.”

Yelverton said there’s one last chance to buy the tickets at the previous price point before the June 1 increase.

A promotion will run during the weekend of the “Got to be NC Festival” — May 17-19 — offering State Fair tickets at the 2018 advance ticket price.

New ticket prices

Adult (ages 13-64) in advance$10
Adult at gate$13
Youth (ages 6-12) in advance

$5
Youth at gate$7
Child (ages 0-5)$0
Senior (ages 65+)$0

In a letter to the board proposing the increase, Yelverton explained that the fair is “facing multiple challenges including meeting rising payrolls costs, higher utility expenses, increased facility maintenance“ all while also trying to fund new improvements to the state fairgrounds.

“The proposed increases will help maintain the necessary funds to meet these expenses, while offering the public ways to achieve significant saving through advance purchase of tickets,” he wrote.

Yelverton said the State Fair looked at ticket pricing for 15 other large fairs. He said the increase “keeps us in-line with” those other fairs. Ticket prices were last increased for the 2015 State Fair.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, who is the chairman of the Board of Agriculture, said recent state employee raises approved by the General Assembly also apply to State Fair employees.

“All of this has to come out of receipts, so it is time to make sure that we have a good enough reserve (fund) that should we have 10 days, or 11 days of rain we can still operate a state fair,” Troxler said.

See video moments from the North Carolina 2016 State Fair. The fair recorded its second-highest attendance in history with 1,028,364 visitors.

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