By Lisa Davis
The calendar might not agree, but for a lot of North Carolinians the NC State Fair is the official start of fall. Unlike any other event, the state fair combines food, games, and rides in an atmosphere of good old fashion fun. People of all ages and from all over the state come together to enjoy the festivities. Combining everything from Sesame Street to Agriculture, the state fair delivers on every level.
Probably the most iconic feature of the NC State Fair is the food. Year after year of giving the media something to write about, vendors push the envelope while developing sweet, rich, and decadent creations. From a burger patty wrapped in warm fresh doughnuts to deep fried candy bars and cookies, it is a caloric haven. Giant turkey legs, roasted corn, and kielbasa sausages create long lines of hungry people just waiting to sink their teeth into a one of a kind experience only found at the fair. You can also find NC State University’s legendary ice cream which always draws a crowd. Eating at the state fair is such a beloved part of the experience that even Covid-19 couldn’t keep it from happening. Even though 2020 has tragically paused the NC State Fair’s run, you can still get a drive-thru opportunity to feast on fair food. Long lines and waiting times reinforce the fact that fair food delivers like nothing else around.
Image taken from : https://www.ncstatefair.org/
Between the rounds of eating, most people enjoy the games and rides. From speed, height, and twist and turns, the fair rides are scary (and not just because you know they were put up in two days :)). The progression from kiddie rides to the most daring rides that spout a height requirement to protect riders is proof of the desire to please everyone. Ride tickets have turned into wrist bands and great discounts are available ahead of time to make a day of riding not quite so expensive.
The day wouldn’t be complete without the history and cultural aspects of what makes North Carolina so incredibly awesome. A celebration of agriculture, animals, and culinary expertise showcases talents and accomplishments. Competitions in livestock and crops support our local educational and 4-H programs. Amateur and school-aged arts and crafts are on display and awarded prestige and honors for budding artists. Creativity is fostered, recognized, and proudly viewed by fellow patrons. The NC State Fair is the ultimate showcase.
There’s no doubt, the fair sparks emotion and adds pounds to our waistlines. But, it’s so worth it. It’s absolutely a once-a-year opportunity to Stay Stranded. While you would certainly not be alone, it’s undoubtedly a family fun experience. Of course, the bad news is that 2020 will go down in history as the “Unfair” year. The year the fair was cancelled will be talked about in NC forever. But, you can make it an unforgettable year by experiencing what NC has to offer on your own or with those you love. So follow the example of the Beckstrand crew; get out and explore NC.