This upcoming week in North Carolina is the NC State Fair! Located right down the road from the NC State University, a tradition for students and all North Carolinians alike. Zooming into Raleigh, NC right across from Carter Finley Stadium, you will find a glowing spectacle of lights in the sky from nighttime fireworks, rides that will flip you, spin you, and make your heart drop, the smell of deep-fried finger lickin' good food, all the cute farm animals from Got To Be NC Agriculture like cows, pigs, and chickens, and thousands upon thousands of southerns all saying Howdy.
I absolutely love the State Fair.
If the State Fair was a holiday then it would be considered my favorite. I haven't missed the State Fair since 2005. In fact - one time my parents pulled me out of school early just so that I could attend the fair.
As soon as July hits, the NC State Fair website uploads the countdown to when the fair opens and I watch it with a close eye getting happier and happier the closer the date gets.
So - if you are new in town or just have thought you were too good to go, I am about to give you guys (or should I say y'all) a run down for what you need to do when you finally reach the Fairgrounds!
Pick a Date that not everyone will be there for.
The fair is a BIG DEAL. North Carolina has a population of 10.27 million people in it, and with an event that celebrates everyone in the state means that everyone is likely to go. Opening day, Friday, and Saturday, especially at night are going to be packed. Long lines for food, rides, and events. I like to go on Sunday-Wednesday mornings and early afternoons and then get a return-day stamp and come back at night only for the fireworks. That way I can do all the rides I please and all the food I please without waiting.
Get your Tickets in Advance!
The fair has a ton of people! Getting your tickets in advance online saves you time from waiting in line and can get you a discount! Make sure you get your tickets online before opening day! And don't forget to print them or get them on your phone!
Tickets or Wristband?
If you are like me, then you love to ride little rides and big rides. I love riding the rides that no one would dare go on, I'm a thrill seeker. But if you are like my mom or my cousin, you like to play it safe and are there more for the food and agriculture than anything else. Understand which kind of person you are before buying your tickets! If you are a thrill seeker, than buying individual tickets at the fair is not the way to go because ride tickets are usually $5 per ride so buying the $25 unlimited ride wristband is a much better deal. Individual tickets are more for people who only want to go on 1-2 rides.
What to wear?
Depending on the weather, the fair is more of a athletic outfit kinda aesthetic. It might be fall, but among all the grills and deep friers it tends to get really hot really quick. I usually go for a t shirt and nike shorts and definitely tennis shoes for walking.
Print a Map
Go online and find out where all your favorites are so that you don't get lost around the fair! It's a big confusing place and you don't want to miss a thing!
Bring a Backpack
Backpacks will be helpful for keeping your wallet, phone, friends phones, rainjackets, game prizes, food bags, water bottles, and free stuff! This is an essential for all thrill seekers who want to ride rides!
Bring a Even Number Group of Friends/Family
This is essential if you are riding rides, I reccommend 4-6 people per group so that no one gets left behind.
Top Rides at the Fair:
- Hit in 2000: a spinning car ride that plays early 2000s songs. It is the fastest model of these types of rides and can fit 3 people to a car.
- Sky-Diver: Similar to the Zipper but in a rocket ship that looks more like a ferris wheel.
- Freak out/Khaos: This ride is a personal favorite for heart dropping moments. It flips you completely upside down and spins you at the same time.
- Drop Zone/Swings: Great way to get a view of downtown Raleigh and the rest of the fairgrounds.
- Ferris Wheel: This would make the perfect date, especially at night. Aw.
- Ring of Fire: This one is not nearly as scary as it seems, a continous-loop rollercoaster that hangs you upside for a long period of time.
-Air-Raid: My personal favorite ride ever, a tall metal vertical line that flips 4 people high into the sky and plunges back down all while flipping you around.
Top Foods at the Fair:
- Fried Oreos/Reeses: Melt in your mouth goodness
- Cotton Candy: Make sure to get a monster bag
- Lemonade: This is the best lemonade- hands down. Fresh squeezed.
- Bloomin Onion: A perfect food to share with friends.
Traditional but still delicious: Funnel Cakes, Hot Dogs, Turkey Legs, Mac and Cheese, Biscuits, Ham, Sweet Tea.
Top Traditions at the Fair:
- Nighttime fireworks: 1 word: Beautiful (perfect date idea!!)
- Field of Dreams: This one is perfect for the kids and adults that teach about how important NC Agriculture is through an interactive activity!
- NC First Responders Display: Each year they have firefighters, police, and EMTs that you can meet and talk to. They also have click it or ticket and a car display from an accident that really hits home about the importance of being safe.
- NC Local Foods: Inside a NC AG Tent there are churches, local restaurants and companies that sell homemade food and delicious free samples.
- Meet the Animals: You can meet all the animals from chickens, to goats, cows, pigs, turkeys and more. I personally love meeting and sometimes holding the baby chicks and ducklings.
- Games and Prizes: It is always fun to try and win these games even though they are totally rigged. Once again a great idea for a date.
-Village of Yesteryear and the Art Display: It's so cool to see what other locals can "think and do". Especially the cake designers.
So with that, Have fun and Enjoy the State Fair!!