Troxler announces major upgrades to state fairgrounds

New year-round dining and meeting complex is set to be built

A rendering provided by the N.C. Dept. of Agriculture depicts what the new building will look like when completed.

RALEIGH — At a press conference on Feb. 12, North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler unveiled plans to modernize the state fairgrounds and add year-round dining options. 

While still in the developmental phase, the Midway Event Center concept art shared by Troxler’s office envisions a glass-windowed structure with two floors that will feature a “multi-vendor” food hall.  

No timeline or budget has been set as of yet, however, the future space is estimated at around 32,000 square-feet. 

“We believe once the Midway Event Center is completed, it will become a hub for lunch options and after work gatherings, weekend brunch dates and quick business meetings,” Troxler said in a press release. “It will become a neighborhood meeting spot and a place where friends can enjoy time together before heading out to another event in the area.”  

With indoor and patio seating available year-round, visitors would be able to sample the food hall offerings by utilizing year-round indoor and patio seating.  

During the State Fair, the venue will showcase fair food classics and venue plans include multiple event spaces, ideal for hosting meetings, gatherings, and smaller events throughout the year. The fairgrounds sees some 350 events annually, per Troxler’s office.  

Troxler also announced a three-to-four year fairgrounds improvement project, aimed at revitalizing key areas of the site, including the Flower and Garden and Heritage Circle.  

“We are embarking on a modernization of the fairgrounds, ensuring its long-term ability to meet the needs of fairgoers and fairgrounds visitors and renters,” said Troxler. “The Midway Event Center will bring life to the fairgrounds 365 days a year and will keep it relevant to the citizens of our state as the neighborhood around us grows into a thriving entertainment district.”  

In this 2023 photo, the Apex Lions Club was one of seven tenants at the Lunch Stand Building that is set to be torn down.

The Midway Event Center will replace the aging Lunch Stand Building, also known as “restaurant row.” Last September, the state fair director notified the seven tenants of the building that the structure was being torn down to make way for a new venue.  

Most of the current fairgrounds venues were built during the 1940s and 50s. The iconic white, Spanish Mission-style North Carolina State Commercial & Education Buildings that sit on the corner of Western Blvd. and Blue Ridge Rd. are the oldest, dating back to 1928. The most recent addition to the fairgrounds was the 50,000 square-foot Agri Supply Exposition Center, which opened during 2005. 

About A.P. Dillon 1253 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_