2016 N.C. State Fair preview

October 13-23, 2016

Jennifer Wood—North State Journal
The 2016 N.C. State Fair runs from Thursday

The NC State Fair was born of a desire to improve North Carolina agriculture. In 1852 Dr. John F. Tompkins, an agricultural journal editor observed that the farmers throughout the state were using inconsistent methods and if brought together they could really learn from one another. Tompkins organized a meeting of the state’s leaders in the field of farming in order to plan an annual event that would help farmers develop more coherent and forward thinking agrarian systems. Through the years the fair has seen pauses for wars and location relocations within Raleigh before settling into its permanent home at the State Fairgrounds, but the reason for its existence remains the same — a celebration of North Carolina agriculture. Grab your family and friends and plan your visit to the fair because this year a multitude of new attractions abound from deep fried jello to the excitement of riding the new State Fair Flyer — here’s a taste of what to look forward to.ncstatefair.orgWhat’s NEW this year:eatWe all have our favorite fair foods — from fried dough, candy apples, turkey legs to the barbecue sandwich you get from that one specific service organization every year — everyone comes to the fairgrounds with their palate checklist. In the weeks leading up to the fair there is always the opportunity to add to that list with the release of the new fair foods and this year is no different — you can almost hear people salivating across the state. So far the new food list for 2016 includes: deep fried jell-o, fried bacon pimento cheeseburger egg roll, N.C. lump crab meat hushpuppies, deep fried Cuban rolls, and Caramel Apple Crisp as the fair featured Howling Cow ice cream flavor.rideGet those tickets and get in line —the fair has new rides for all ages and scream tolerance levels.The first ride is also a service, the State Fair Flyer will help you take a load off and allow for an amazing view of the entire property. You can ride the flyer one way from the west end, known as the “Orville Terminus” near the Scott Building down to Gate 8 to the “Wilbur Terminus,” or take a round-trip spin.For the young or young-at-heart you can park yourself by the Big Slide for a visit with the State Fair mascot Casey the Cardinal, he’ll be there daily to share in the fun.If you’re looking for more heart-pounding adventure then check out the Powers Parthenon Wheel, the Street Fighter 360, or the Sea Ray.seeHead to the Flower & Garden Show to see the new layout. The grounds committee has been hard at work on a complete overhaul of the site that provides a verdant respite during the run. Bonus: just a stone’s throw over at the Pfizer Heritage Circle is a new Blacksmith’s shop built with vintage barn lumber donated by Commissioner Troxler.Shop at “The Nest,” located in the Expo Center for official State Fair merchandise — that way you’ll have a memento come mid-February when you’re missing all the deep fried N.C agricultural goodness.Catch the new laser light show scheduled to run nightly over the pond by Heritage Circle at Gate 8.The “Homegrown Music Fest” is a series of 117 concerts running throughout the fair giving attendees a chance to truly take in North Carolina music — from the Youth Choral Competition that kicks things off on Oct. 13, The Embers featuring Craig Woolard on Oct. 17, Superchunk on Oct. 19, to saxophonist Maceo Parker on Oct. 23 — with a wide variety of acts there’s something for everyone.competeThe race for blue ribbons is fierce at the State Fair and there are several new contests this year adding to the normal complement of competition that ranges from graphic design, livestock, to sugar cube building. New competitions include: a pre-apprentice/pre-engineering mobile robotics contest, a Cavy costume contest, a Choral Competition featuring middle and high school choirs, and a Coffee Competition open to licensed N.C. coffee roasters.