Wake County

Fair weather helps NC State Fair attendance

Passengers ride the State Fair Flyer above the fair's midway in Raleigh, N.C. on Saturday, October 15, 2016. The new ride is 1,400 feet long and carries fair goers above the games and food booths at a speed of 2 mph.
Passengers ride the State Fair Flyer above the fair's midway in Raleigh, N.C. on Saturday, October 15, 2016. The new ride is 1,400 feet long and carries fair goers above the games and food booths at a speed of 2 mph. newsobserver.com

Nearly flawless weather has boosted crowds at the N.C. State Fair, where more than 570,000 people had passed through the gates by day’s end Wednesday.

That’s on pace with last year’s turnout – which topped 1 million for only the third time in history – and is well above the 10-year average.

The fair got off to a slow start compared to last year, with attendance on the first three days lagging. Fair spokesman Brian Long said the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew may have depressed attendance early on, particularly on Thursday, when about 10,000 fewer people showed up compared to last year.

But the turnout from Sunday on has been above both the average and last year’s totals. The mild, sunny weather that has favored the fair continued Thursday. There is a chance of showers Friday, before sunny and cooler weather returns for the weekend.

The final Saturday of the 11-day fair is almost always the busiest day, averaging 127,449 visitors over the past decade.

Friday at the fair

Hours: Gates, 8 a.m.-midnight. Midway, 10 a.m.-midnight. Exhibit halls, 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.

Tickets: Adults (13-64), $10; children (6-12), $5; military with ID, $6; children 5 and younger and adults 65 and older, free.

Dorton Arena concert: Corrosion of Conformity, 7:30 p.m.

Forecast: Showers, near 70.

Friday’s attendance last year: 95,685

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