Elephant ears, foot long corn dogs, Krispy Kreme burgers and deep-fried everything. I may be talking about a heart attack in the making, but I’m mostly talking about the “october original” - the North Carolina State Fair! Every fall, tractor trailers full of rides, carts full of candies, and trailers hauling livestock of all shapes and sizes descend on the state fairgrounds for a little over a week’s engagement. It’s been happening for the past 161 years, and is considered to be one of our State’s finest traditions.
Source: NCSU Libraries
The fair was started in 1853 by the State Agricultural Society, and is run today by the Department of Agriculture, who took over in 1928. Like nearly all fairs, it is an agricultural one, and is based around our state’s crops, livestock, and other agricultural products. The annual holding of the fair has only been interrupted by a few things, most notably the Civil War and World War II, and a lot of things have happened throughout the history of the fair. For example, did you know that chicken incubators were the main attraction in 1894, or that the first ham biscuit was served in 1916? Needless to say, the fair’s come a long way!
A Transylvania County dairy club circa 1922. Source: NCSU Libraries
No matter what your interest is, there’s a good chance it’ll be at the State Fair. Thrill seeker? Go for the rides - there’s 3 midways and a Kiddieland. Foodie? Just look around you! There’s something to eat every other step. Live music lover? Dorton Arena holds a concert nearly every night of the fair. This year they even have Vanilla Ice! (And I guarantee you he’ll play that song! Does he even have any others?) Either way, there’s something for everybody at the State Fair!
Source: NCSU Libraries
As for me, I plan on going on Food Lion Hunger Relief Day (or Can Day) so that I can save on ticket costs and give back to my community by donating cans of food. And like any good college student, I’ll be sure to run through the Scott Building so I can get all the free samples. But if you really want to find me, I’ll be eating a Krispy Kreme burger in my favorite part of the fair, the Flower and Garden Show. And even though I hate to admit it, you’ll probably find me at the Vanilla Ice concert too!