Staff Writer/Social Media Manager
The North Carolina State Fair has come and gone, bringing with it memories as well as excitement for next year’s fair. Beginning with its first appearance in 1853, the NC State Fair has become a staple of the state, opening every year since World War 2 except for 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was still in its peak. Hosting attractions such as carnival rides, novelty foods and drinks and contests, the fair houses enough fun for one to be entertained for a whole day.
An 11-day event, the State Fair houses many different musical groups, food vendors, carnival games, rides and agricultural exhibits. The North Carolina State Fair is consistently ranked among the top 25 fairs in North America as well, and rightfully so. I’ve only attended the fair twice since moving to North Carolina, and I regret not going more frequently than I have.
My favorite attraction this year at the fair was the Flower and Garden show. Greenhouses were filled with exotic flowers in full bloom, ranging from orchids to hydrangeas. Following a winding pathway, you are taken through countless displays of miniature gardens set up by gardeners around the state. The fair’s website describes these displays as “themed gardens … intended to be both educational and artistic,” but I don’t think this description does them justice. Countless hours were put into constructing the garden displays, and I commend the efforts by all that went into making them as appealing as they were.
The fair houses a Ferris wheel, named aptly the SkyGazer, in which participants are able to ascend 155 feet into the air and view the near entirety of the fair from their cart on the wheel. During midday, this gives a great view of the treescape in the distance, the masses of people enjoying their time at the different sections of the fair and the brightly-colored roofing of the various game booths and food carts. At night, you are greeted with the warm glow of lighting from below the fair, a clear view of the brighter stars and planets in the night sky and the dazzling city lights in the distance.
The food is one of the driving sources of attention to the North Carolina State Fair. Of the varying dishes and snacks offered, there was one that won my interest and money. I had not expected to eat a rattlesnake corndog when I left my house that morning, but that just shows that you never know what to expect when going to the State Fair. The flavor was surprising and expected at the same time. It was gamey, as is expected from meats that aren’t domesticated. However, there was a very pleasant flavoring within it as well. It was well spiced, and cooked in a way that allowed the gamey flavor to be present, but not overwhelming.
With its amalgamation of attractions, foods and rides, the North Carolina State Fair remains an enjoyable experience for anyone. Offering a multitude of activities for all ages, you can be sure to find something entertaining during your visit. While I haven’t been able to attend yearly myself, I plan to remedy that in years to come. I am always reminded of the fun, joyous atmosphere that envelops the fairgrounds, and I yearn to be able to spend more time with it than I am. Next year, if you’re looking for a fun fall activity to get your autumn underway, I would recommend checking out the North Carolina State Fair and experiencing the unique and enjoyable festivities yourself.