Health and safety guidance for the 2021 N.C. State Fair


This year’s fair will look different from past fairs. Forty new vendors will be onsite with new wares and new food.

The Got to Be NC Agriculture Pavilion and the North Carolina Public House Craft Beer, Wine, Cider & Soda is now in the Dorton Arena. That move gave two of the fair’s biggest exhibits room to spread out and invite more local growers and producers to participate.

Here's the State Fair's new clear bag policy.

Health and safety guidance is also new this year, detailed below:

  • First, get vaccinated: Vaccination is the most effective way for everyone to get to the other side of this pandemic. Fair staff will not require proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test for admission, but organizers encourage everyone to get vaccinated for the safety of all. Vaccines will be available near Dorton Arena at the end of restaurant row.
  • Next, determine if this year is the right time for your family to visit: Fair organizers say they respect every person’s right to make the best decision they can for themselves and their family. That starts with being informed. NCDHHS advises those who are not yet fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and those who are immunocompromised to carefully consider their exposure. This also includes a recommendation that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a face covering in indoor public spaces and in crowded outdoor settings in areas with high or substantial transmission. The NCDHHS COVID-19 dashboard has the latest information on testing, vaccinations, what to do if you feel ill, protecting yourself and others and the latest data trends in North Carolina.
  • Protect yourself and others by wearing a face covering: The N.C. State Fair is spread over 345-acres but there are spaces that are inherently busy, regardless of the total number of people in attendance. Fair organizers are urging fairgoers to wear face coverings except when you are eating and drinking and when you cannot remain socially distanced, especially inside buildings and tents. Disposable face masks will be available at ticket gates and guest services silos.
  • Choose the day/time you plan to attend to mitigate risk: If you want to beat the crowds, consider attending on one of the fair’s weekdays, or before lunch each day. These are the times you’ll be in contact with smaller gatherings of people. Insider tip: The first Friday, October 15, is traditionally our day with the smallest attendance.
  • Social distance: With so much to see and do, there is always something new to discover. While one portion of the fairgrounds may be busy, head out to explore somewhere you’ve never visited. The fair spread out its vendors and some of its carnival rides this year and added more space around picnic tables and benches to better aid social distancing.
  • Wash your hands: Frequent hand washing is one of the main ways you can mitigate risk. There are restrooms and outdoor hand washing stations throughout the fairgrounds. There will also be readily available hand sanitizer at guest services and at many of the food booths, rides and exhibits.
  • Don’t feel well? Stay home: If you or someone you have direct contact with is not feeling well, please get tested before you visit the fair. Stay home if: you have a fever, cough or other symptoms; you have tested positive within 10 days of your planned visit to the fair regardless of vaccination status; you are unvaccinated and have been in the immediate vicinity of someone who has tested positive (even if you don’t have symptoms) within 14 days of your visit. If you are vaccinated and you’ve had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested 3-5 days after your exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms. You should also wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until your test result is negative.
  • Get tested after you visit: NCDHHS recommends that people who are not vaccinated should get tested for COVID-19 three to five days after attending any large event attended by those who do not live in your home. To find a testing site visit NCDHHS Find My Testing Place
  • Most of all, practice kindness: A little kindness and patience will go a long way to making this event the best on record. The world is short-staffed, even the fair. Please be kind to those who have shown up and put in the hours to make the 2021 N.C. State Fair “Worth the Wait!”
Don’t bring these items

The following items are prohibited at the fair:

  • Weapons or objects that appear to be weapons, including all pocketknives and pepper sprays
  • Alcoholic beverages and any illegal substance
  • Drones
  • Bikes, skateboards, skates, hoverboards, manual stand-up scooters
  • Leashed service dogs are allowed. All pets are prohibited.
  • Other items may be refused at the discretion of law enforcement.
You can bring these

The following items will be permitted into the N.C. State Fair, and will be checked at security points at each ticketed gate:

  • Any clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bag. There is no size restriction as long as the bag is clear.
  • Small purses or clutch bags no larger than 6.5-inches-by-4.5-inches (approximately the size of a hand) with or without a handle or strap can be taken into the fairgrounds in addition to one of the clear plastic bags.
  • Exceptions are granted for medically necessary items or diaper bags after proper inspection.
  • Hard pass holders and competitors are exempt.


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