Spotlight: Fair game

courtesy of Julie Leonard, The News and Observer

Courtesy of Julie Leonard, The News and Observer

N.C. State Fair

by Mimi Montgomery

If you grew up in Raleigh, chances are you have memories of attending the N.C. State Fair as a child. If you didn’t, it’s never too late to create some. Check out the rides, games, and food – delicious, daring, and otherwise – at the annual celebration October 15-25. This year’s theme is “Nothing Could Be Finer;” it aims to showcase the best in local entertainment, food, innovation, and agriculture. You can learn about our state at exhibits like the Mobile Dairy Classroom, the Village of Yesteryear, and Agriculture Today. At the State Fair Ark, visitors can meet and learn about more than 60 livestock animals all raised in North Carolina.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the rides and crowds, take a break and check out the Folk Festival, which takes place over the 10-day course of the fair. Folks specializing in everything from bluegrass to clogging will compete to see who best exemplifies our state’s musical heritage. The performances don’t end there – an array of free entertainment is planned throughout the fair. At Dorton Arena, groups like The Embers, Band of Oz, and Charlie Daniels Band will be stopping by to entertain.

Also, the famous pig races will be back, along with comedy shows, aerial acrobatics, and an all-female axe-throwing exhibition. Be sure to check out Joan Matthews’ award-winning chrysanthemums, as well, which we feature in this issue (pg. 68). End the night in the wine and beer garden, featuring over a dozen local wineries and breweries. And, if you make it until 9:45 p.m., each night they’ll be hosting a fireworks show.  

Hours vary, but gates are open from 8 a.m. – midnight most days; $10 adults, $5 children ages 6 – 12, children under 6 free; 1025 Blue Ridge Blvd.;