Friday, October 15, 2010

The North Carolina State Fair

If you live in North Carolina, or at least the Triangle area at this time of year, you've almost certainly heard that the North Carolina State Fair is in town!  It's one of the biggest events of the year for families, so Stir Crazy Moms had to write about it.

What it is: We have been to the State Fair several years in the past, and this year promises to bring more of the same fun, so we thought we'd share some of our favorite fair activities.  Primarily, we love to come to the fair to eat!  There are countless booths of every fried delicacy that you can think of as well as other delicious treats.  If you want your family to eat healthy at the fair, those options might be harder to find, but there's plenty of kid-friendly food to go around such as hot dogs, french fries, potato chips, funnel cakes, the list goes on.  Some of our favorites include the deep fried Snickers bar, the bloomin' onion (might be more for the adults), and the one booth selling fresh cinnamon sugar donuts (trust us, these are fantastic!)  If you can eat it, you can probably find it fried the fair!  Here's a link to all of the new foods at the fair and a map to the location of any treat you could want (  Thanks to "Southern Accent" for telling us about this link.

In addition to food, there are countless other activities.  Our son's favorite is always the animals.  He loves to go into the buildings with the livestock and other animals to take a look at all of the prize winning fruits, veggies, and animals.  There are even places you can go to milk a cow and hold a chick.  One of our favorites is the building filled with all of the prize winning bunnies.  The kids love looking at all of the different kinds of rabbits-big, small, fluffy, lop-eared, etc.

In addition to the animals, the fair also has lots of other amusements.  While we don't ride the rides very often (My husband doesn't like them.), there are apparently over 100 rides available at the fair.  There's also an entire midway just for kids, complete with kid-sized rides.  However, at this point, my short little 2.5 year old is still too small for all of the rides.  With the rides come the games.  These we do enjoy.  You can play carnival games of all kinds in the hopes of winning prizes.  We particularly like the game where you throw a dart and burst balloons--you win a prize every time!

There are so many things to do at the fair that I probably don't know about a lot of them.  Some other more obscure parts of the fair that my family and I particularly enjoy include the Village of Yesteryear and the Heritage Circle areas.  The Village of Yesteryear is filled with craftspeople making and selling all kinds of crafts.  My son enjoyed looking at the goods and watching the craftspeople actually make them.  We really enjoyed the Heritage Circle area last year because it was so cold.  There, we could buy some warm apple cider and watch a bluegrass band.  My son also especially enjoyed the hobbies building, the Lego display, and the pig races.

Please comment and let us know about your favorite parts of the fair that we haven't even found yet.

What we liked: We love all the food and fun.  There's so much to do and so little time.  We find a new attraction every time we go.

What we would change: The crowds can be a little daunting, especially if you head to the fair on the weekend.  Tricky parking is the primarly result of the crowds.  In fact, one year, we headed down on the middle of a Saturday and we actually had to turn back and go home because we couldn't find parking.  So, if you do go on a weekend, go early or take a shuttle bus (more information on the website).  On the weekdays it is significantly less crowded.

Website and other important information:


Address: 1025 Blue Ridge Rd., Raleigh, NC 27607

Phone Number: (919) 821-7400

Admission Prices: Adults-$8, Children (Ages 6-12)-$3, Children 5 and Under-Free, Seniors (Ages over 65+)

Dates: October 14-24, 2010

Hours of Operation:

Fairgrounds Gates
Open 8 a.m. - midnight (weather permitting)
Except Oct. 14, when gates open at 3 p.m.
Fairgoer must have advance ticket, or purchase admission ticket prior to 10 p.m., in order to enter gates between 10 p.m. and closing.

Admission Ticket Booths
Open 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Except Oct. 14 when admission ticket booths open at 3 p.m.
Fairgoer must have advance ticket, or purchase admission ticket prior to 10 p.m., in order to enter gates between 10 p.m. and closing.

Midway Ride Ticket Booths (Located inside the fairgrounds)
Open 9:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Except Oct. 14 when midway ride ticket booths open at 3 p.m.

Midway Rides
10 a.m. - midnight (weather permitting)
Except Oct. 14 when midway rides open at 3:30 p.m.

Exhibit Halls
9 a.m. - 9:45 p.m.
Except Oct. 14 when exhibit halls open at 4 p.m.

Photos: (some shots from last year's trip to the fair)


The Stir Crazy Moms said...

We headed to the state fair today, had a great time, and learned a few things so we thought we'd share:

1. Kids under 36 inches *can* ride some of the kiddie rides. Here's a list of rides that any kid can ride when accompanied by an adult:

*Gondola Wheel
*Fire Chief
*Fun Slide
*Wiggle Wurm
*Jalopy Junction
*Ship's Ahoy
*Dizzy Dragon
*Chopper Hopper

2. Fried macaroni and cheese is actually good, chocolate covered bacon is not as bad as it sounds, and fried candy bars are fantastic! (But the mini donuts are still the best fair food without a doubt)

3. When at the fair with kids, it is definitely more relaxing to park your family on a spot in the grass and send one adult out to buy the food while the kids wait and play on the grass.

4. Definitely don't be in a hurry to get home because you're not getting out of the parking lot quickly!

5. There's always something new to find at the fair!

Cameron and Megan said...

We went early this morning...go there around 8:30. There was no traffic, and parking was easy, and free at Carter Finley at that time. All the exhibits were open, and so we did that until the rides started to open around 9-10. We left around 1 PM, and traffic wasn't too bad getting out.

It was a great morning.

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