What I Love About…the NC State Fair

Fall. The leaves transform from various shades of green to bright yellows, firey reds, brilliant oranges, even hot pinks.  The air gets a bit cooler, or in our case here in the Triangle, it fluctuates between seasonal cools and warm summer days.

I love this season.  What I love most about it, is that for ten days every October the North Carolina State Fair brings more memories, loads of fun, and deep-fried goodness.

When I was kid, I was all about the rides and the food.  Hand me a pipe of pink cotton candy, a plate of fried dough topped with powdered sugar & cinnamon, and for added measure, a bag of popcorn, I was in my happy zone.  Give me some time to digest and then I’d be off to ride the fastest, scariest rides.  I think my very first upside down ride was at the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, Massachusetts.

For the last five years, I have been going to the NC State Fair.  My tastes have changed.  I no longer ride those stomach-churning-make-me-wanna-throw-up rides.  Rather, I like to take a gander at the exhibits, watch pottery being made or wood being carved.  I’m fascinated by the creativity & talent that surrounds me.  Even the amateur photographs & paintings that win “Best in Show” intrigue me.

Fair-Goers at the NC State Fair, 2010

I also go to people watch, especially those smiling families that are just having the time of their lives.  When a little girl gets off one of those bungie jumping  apparatuses, runs to her daddy smiling & yelling, “Did you see me, Daddy? Did you see how high I jumped?” that just makes me smile.  Kids have it so good.  They’re just there to have fun.

One thing that hasn’t changed is my need to grab some delicious fair grub.  I still like cotton candy, fried dough, and popcorn but now I gravitate toward cheesy fries and, my favorite gotta have treat – deep-fried Snickers.  I’ve tried the other deep-fried concoctions: Twinkies and Ho-hos.  I have yet to brave deep-fried PB&J and taste a deep-fried Oreo.  There’s always next year.

The winning pumpkins at the NC State Fair, 2010

The North Carolina State Fair has something for everyone.  With a whopping record of over 1 million attendees this year, my advice for next year’s Fair: the key to having a good time is to park a good distance away (we park behind the NC State Wolfpack stadium) or take the Park & Ride shuttles, wear comfortable shoes, and not be in a hurry.  Once into the gates, relax, take your time, and just take it all in.

Don’t forget to try a deep-fried something too.

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