From the N.C. State Fair publicity office:
RALEIGH — Families looking for super fun and budget-friendly activities should plan to stay all day at the N.C. State Fair to make the most of their visit. Since 1853 the State Fair has brought its mix of old favorites and new attractions to the delight of fairgoers, and this year will be no different.
“The State Fair offers many people an opportunity to experience parts of North Carolina agriculture and North Carolina traditions that they might not otherwise get to see,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “So it is a getaway from the everyday, a chance to see farm animals up close, to see how items such as chairs, quilts, rugs and wooden bowls were made in times past, and a chance to connect with North Carolina’s number one industry – agriculture.”
Agriculture remains a staple of the N.C. State Fair, with a number of educational exhibits showcasing North Carolina’s leading industry. Following are some of the activities and attractions that offer fun for the whole family. Be sure to pick up a copy of the daily program to start your visit:
Circle C Racing Pigs (near Gate 9): Seats to these ever-popular shows are some of the hardest to come by at the Fair. Kids of all ages love to cheer on their favorite petite porcine at the 200-foot oval Hogway Speedway. Miniature goats and geese also compete at the track. Shows are held at 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m. daily except Thursday, Oct. 15, when shows are at 5, 7 and 9 p.m.
There are five photo-opportunity sites around the State Fairgrounds that are designed to provide a nice backdrop for keepsake photos. One, located in the North Lobby of Dorton Arena and nestled into the display of real North Carolina Christmas trees, would give fairgoers a jump start on Christmas card preparations. Other photo op sites are in the Flower and Garden Show area, Kiddieland Fun Park, the Expo Center near the giant pumpkins and watermelons and Field of Dreams.
Field of Dreams exhibit (between Kiddieland Fun Park and Dorton Arena): This exhibit, which shows how food starts on the farm before heading to markets and grocery stores,Â offers even more hands-on activities for children this year. Children can harvest and “sell” their fruits and vegetables at the exhibit market. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.
Kiddieland Fun Park (near Gate 1): There are lots of activities for families here, including a magic show, clown act, a roving artist and a troupe of performing poodles. Check the daily schedule for show times.
Visitors are likely to cross paths with several roving acts performing on the grounds. Two of the acts, Rock-It the Robot and a stilt walker, will be easy to spot above the crowd. Look for the strolling farm animal mobile robots around Dorton Arena.
Stop by the Adrenaline Jam Tour Interactive Game Experience tent (behind the Scott Building) to try out the latest in video games for free. This new exhibit will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, except Thursday, Oct. 15, when times are 3 to 10 p.m. A limited number of visitors can register beginning Oct. 15 at 3 p.m. to compete in a Guitar Hero World Tour Video Game Tournament.
In the grandstand, riders with the Keith King Action Sports Stunt Show will be breaking out more of the high-flying jumps and flatland riding tricks that have made this attraction one of the must-see stops for many visitors. Shows will be held Oct. 19-22 at noon, 3, 5, and 7 p.m.; Oct. 23 at 11 a.m., 2, 4 and 6 p.m.; Oct. 24 at 11 a.m., 1 and 5:30 p.m.; and Oct. 25 at 11 a.m., 1 and 6 p.m.
Folk Festival (behind the Kerr Scott Building): This energetic and entertaining music and dance venue will get your feet tapping. The Folk Festival is a 10-day competition, with shows daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. There are seats under the tent and it is a great place to sit and enjoy clogging, square and line dancing and musical performances.
Pitzer Heritage Circle (near Gate 8): Fairgoers can learn about the history of the State Fair and see Fair memorabilia in the one-room schoolhouse located here. The area also features a bluegrass stage with daily shows. Back Porch Bluegrass will perform at 4 p.m. Oct. 15; and noon, 2:30 and 5 p.m. Oct. 16-25. Broke-N-Lonesome will perform at 10:30 a.m., 1:15 and 3:45 p.m. Oct. 17, 18, 24 and 25. A wooden bowl carver, a boatmaker, storyteller and blacksmith shop are also featured in Heritage Circle. Be sure to pick up a free hushpuppy at the Old Grist Mill near Heritage Circle. Tobacco hand-strung on opening day will be cured in the working tobacco barn.
Village of Yesteryear (Holshouser Building): Find plenty of handmade crafts in the Village of Yesteryear and watch one of the more than 75 crafters create new pieces daily. Items on display and for sale include pottery, wood carvings, paintings, baskets, jewelry, rugs, hats, and more. Hours are 4-9:45 p.m. Oct. 15 and 10 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. Oct. 16-25.
Got to Be NC Agriculture tent (in front of the Kerr Scott Building): This exhibit is a popular place to test your knowledge of North Carolina food products. Stroll through the displays and see the variety of food products made in the state. Several companies will be sampling and selling their products daily in the tent. Also, check out the Big Cart, a gas-powered, 13-foot tall shopping cart that makes special appearances across the state promoting N.C. agriculture.
Livestock shows and exhibits (Graham and Kelley buildings and Expo Center): Watching or participating in a livestock show is a longstanding tradition for many families. Fairgoers will find cattle shown in the Graham Building, goats and sheep in the Expo Center and hogs in the Kelley Building. Check daily program listings for show dates and times. Farm animals are on display daily during the Fair in the State Fair Ark in the Expo Center. Visitors can see all the different types of animals that compete in livestock shows, and also see piglets and chicks. Hand-washing stations are located near animal exhibits, and fairgoers are encouraged to wash up after any contact with the animals.
Read our blog post about the Lego Experience
at the state fair here.