It’s time for the N.C. State Fair; annual fall tradition runs 11 days — Oct. 16-26
Plenty of activities planned for the whole family to enjoy
The N.C. State Fair in Raleigh offers a great entertainment bargain for families because the price of admission includes hours and hours of fun activities for the smallest to the largest kids in the family.
“When you are making your plans for the Fair, one of the best things to do is pick up a copy of the daily schedule or go online to create a personalized daily planner,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “That way you can map out your day so you can see Smithfield the Painting Pig, catch the cloggers at the Folk Festival, have lunch, see the exhibits, ride some rides, eat dinner and still have time to see a livestock show, magic show or a juggler before the fireworks go off at 9:45 p.m.”
The State Fair is always a mix of the old and new, and the 2008 Fair will keep with that tradition. Fairgoers can find some traditional crafts, agricultural tools, entertainment and history in the following exhibits and areas:
- Folk Festival (behind the Kerr Scott Building): This marks the 60th anniversary of the State Fair Folk Festival, which was started to preserve and celebrate the state’s musical and dance heritage. The 10-day competition features shows daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Pitzer Heritage Circle (near Gate 8): Fairgoers interested in the history of the State Fair can learn about its two previous locations, the Fair’s early beginnings as a way to share the latest crop production techniques with farmers, and see photos and other Fair memorabilia in the Old School House. The area also features a bluegrass stage with daily shows. The Kenny & Amanda Smith Band will perform at 4 p.m. Oct. 16; and noon, 2:30 and 5 p.m. Oct. 17-26. Broke-N-Lonesome will perform at 1:15 and 3:45 p.m. Oct. 18 and 19. Other points of interest in Heritage Circle include storyteller Sharon “Ma” Hutto, who will be cooking up vittles and tall tales over a campfire, and a working blacksmith shop and barn where tobacco will be cured during the Fair.
- Village of Yesteryear (Holshouser Building): Anyone who appreciates handmade items will find plenty of items of interest in the Village of Yesteryear. More than 75 crafters will have pottery, quilts, drawings, jewelry, toys, loomed items and more on display and for sale from 4-9:45 p.m. Oct. 16 and 10 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. Oct. 17-26.
Agriculture remains a staple of the Fair, with a number of educational exhibits showcasing the types of commodities grown in the state, the types of animals competing in the Fair’s livestock competitions and examples of the locally made products available in grocery stores and markets. Following are N.C. agriculture exhibits:
- Field of Dreams (between Dorton Arena and Kiddieland Fun Park): See how crops grow and even take a turn harvesting some of the crops. This exhibit is full of hands-on activities for kids. Open Oct. 16 from 4-9:45 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. Oct. 17-26.
- Got to Be NC Agriculture (in front of the Kerr Scott Building): N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler has a favorite saying, “When you want the very best, it’s Got to be NC Agriculture!” See, and in some cases taste, for yourself all the different types of food and drink products made in North Carolina. 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 promotes N.C. agriculture.
- Livestock shows and exhibits (Graham and Kelley buildings and Expo Center): For many people, the animals are always a big draw. 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 always 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 baby piglets and chicks. Young and old alike can even milk a cow at the milking booth in the Expo Center. Hand-washing stations are located near animal exhibits, and fairgoers are encouraged to wash up after contact with the animals.
Other kid-friendly activities on the grounds include:
- Circle C Racing Pigs (near Gate 9): Pot-bellied pigs race around the 200-foot oval track in hot pursuit of the grand prize -- Cheese Doodles. 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. 16, when shows are at 5, 7 and 9 p.m.
- Grandstand: The Keith King Action Sports Stunt Show marks its 10th year breaking out bigger-than-life stunts and high-flying tricks. The stunt show happens Oct. 20-26 for several shows a day.
- Kiddieland Fun Park (near Gate 1): Visitors can take in a magic show, see a troupe of performing poodles or be entertained by a clown in the fun park.
- In front of the Expo Center: Smithfield the painting pig returns to create original works of art. Catch Smithfield at 1, 3 and 5 p.m. daily except Thursday, Oct. 16, when he paints at 5 p.m. only. Juggler Dale Jones will entertain at 2, 4 & 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Sundays. An extra show is added at noon on Saturdays, and shows will be at 4 & 6 p.m. on Oct. 16.
- Roaming around the grounds: Look for Washboard Willy and Wishboard Wanda and their traveling musical show; Rock-It the Robot, stiltwalker Carrie McQueen, Oscar the Robot and Statue Viva, a living statue.