Big changes for NC State Fair, including clear bag policy and no indoor concerts :: Out and About at

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Published: 2021-09-21 11:48:00 Updated: 2021-10-13 13:03:09

Posted September 21, 2021 11:48 a.m. EDT Updated October 13, 2021 1:03 p.m. EDT

By Jessica Patrick, WRAL multiplatform producer

Raleigh, N.C. — After the cancellation of last year's N.C. State Fair due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year's fair is still on, even as COVID-19 continues to spread.

Buy tickets to the 2021 N.C. State Fair

To keep fairgoers safe, organizers on Tuesday announced several new changes, many of which have nothing to do with the pandemic.

For the first time, there will be a clear bag policy. Bags of any size will be allowed, as long as they are clear, organizers said, noting that wristlets, diaper bags and medical equipments bags are exceptions to the rule but will be inspected before entry. The clear bag policy does apply to purses.

State Fair officials say that attendees can either bring a clear bag to the fair or put the contents of their bag into a clear bag while going through security, then put those items back in their personal bag afterward.

There will also be no concerts inside Dorton Arena this year; instead, 105 shows featuring all-local artists will be held at the "Live and Local Waterfall Stage" and at the Heritage Circle Bluegrass Stage. The decision was not related to COVID, instead based on the need to use the arena for other vendors.

Vaccines will not be required for fair entry but are strongly encouraged.

Also new this year is a sensory friendly day. The full schedule includes:

The N.C. Public House, which showcases locally-made beers, wines, ciders and sodas, will be moved to a new location in the South Dorton Arena lobby. Tickets can be purchased for two servings of wine, cider or beer. Wine servings are 3 ounces each, and beer or cider servings are 8 ounces each.

Some new food vendors coming to the fair will sell lobster rolls, specialty shaved ice, stuffed avocados, homemade cookies and more.

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