The North Carolina State Fair is not only one of the best fairs in the country, it’s also synonymous with my childhood. I have crisp memories of my Dad carrying me on his shoulders around the potted mums and Village of Yesteryear in-between riding the swings and winning giant stuffed animals.
Since moving from NC, I’ve sampled fairs in New England and Texas but nothing compares to the original for me. When I was planning a trip back home this fall, I knew a fair trip was in order.
I really think the magic of the fair is built on years of memories of friends, food and farm animals… but I did my best to document the amazingness this year for you.
Though I did get pictures of cute donkeys…
and questionable balloon art…
my favorite part of the fair these days are the competitions. Everything at the state fair is a competition, and there’s satin as far as the eye can see.
The largest pumpkin is always a crowd pleaser. This year it was an all time record at over 1,000 pounds.
They also give out other pumpkin awards for… pumpkinness? I’m not sure, but it is an attractive pumpkin.
There are lots of big melons to be seen.
As well as teeny, tiny produce (my favorite).
Simon’s favorite category had an impressive showing this year.
But that wasn’t as visually appealing as the North Carolina produce displays, which were also awarded ribbons because duh…. everyone loves ribbons.
Honey for your sweet tooth, which makes an excellent all natural cotton candy as I discovered this year.
Animals are a huge part of the fair. Some are just hanging out and on display for city slickers to get up close and personal with farm life.
There’s also serious livestock competition with big money behind it. I love the fluffy show cows, which have stall setups not unlike our hunter/jumper shows.
And if this isn’t the prettiest hog you ever did see, well I don’t know what to tell you.
Outside of agriculture, the fair still offers many competitions for those who don’t exactly live on a farm. It can be as modern as Legos…
or as obscure as an egg decorating contest. Really – they have an egg decorating contest with multiple divisions.
Knitting, quilting, crochet and sewing are all popular events.
As well as canning –
and a new one to me, table settings?
The finale of the arts & crafts section of the fair is undoubtedly the cake decorating contest. Of all the things, this has grown the most since I visited seven years ago. There was quite the line to wait and see the cakes!
If I ever do move back to North Carolina, I plan on seeing how many ribbons I can win at the fair one year. I figure between horses, photography, art and being somewhat crafty I have a fair shot of going across the board. Until then, these pictures will have to suffice!
What would your best fair event be?