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As rain subsides, N.C. State Fair opens today

The gates will swing open this afternoon for the 143rd N.C. State Fair, setting off 101/2 days of batter-dipped overindulgence, along with enough pygmy goats, handmade quilts and bicycle stunts to satisfy the most curious wanderer.

The fair shows off the best North Carolina has to offer, and visitors can't seem to get enough. Last year's attendance of 877,939 set a record.

After today, forecasters are calling for clear skies for the next week or so, making fair organizers hopeful they can set another record.

What time and how much?

When: Fairgrounds open at 3 p.m. today and will close at midnight. From Friday through Oct. 24, the fairgrounds will be open from 8 a.m. to midnight.

Cost: Tickets are $8 for adults, $3 for children ages 6 to 12. Children 5 and under and seniors 65 and over are admitted free. Dorton Arena concerts and grandstand events require an additional admission fee.

By the numbers

$25 The price for an all-you-can-ride wristband, good only for rides today from 3:30 p.m. to midnight.

150 Acres on the fairground's main campus.

320 Pigs on display in the livestock shows.

$1,000 Prize money that the adult winner will take home in the ice cream-eating contest Oct. 23.

5,100 Seats in Dorton Arena. Friday's concert by Christian rockers Casting Crowns has already sold out.

25 Independent hot dog vendors on the fairgrounds.

1 Size, in pounds, of the largest hot dog available.

Special days

Tuesday is senior citizens day. Seniors 65 and over can enjoy a free breakfast in Dorton Arena from 9 to 11 a.m.

Wednesday is Military Appreciation Day. Active duty, reserve and National Guard service members with valid military ID will be admitted free along with four guests.

Thursday, Oct. 21, is Food Lion Hunger Relief day. Fairgoers receive free admission for bringing four cans of Food Lion brand food.

More information: For other information on the fair, including bus and train schedules to the fair from Raleigh and surrounding communities, go to www.ncstatefair.org or call 821-7400.

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