What’s so wonderful about the State Fair?

There are so many great things about October (aside from it being my birthday month).  There’s a crisp, chilly quality about the air, leaves transform to the beautiful reds and yellows of fall, and most importantly—the State Fair comes to Raleigh! Since I moved to Raleigh for school four years ago, the annual trip to the fair grounds has been a memorable and exciting experience for my friends and me.

Maybe you’ve never been to the Fair; maybe you don’t get what all the hype is about. I’m happy to fill you in—there’s a reason why the theme this year is “love-a-fair”. For those who loyally return each year to enjoy the rides, wonder at the native carnie lifestyle and (let’s not forget) to sample the delicious and novel array of foods, the fair is something like a dear old friend. There is catching up to do, new experiences to be had together and the eventual sadness of going our separate ways.

Think you can handle this?

I vividly recall my first encounter with the legendary Krispy Kreme burger; a culinary indulgence so decadent and intoxicating that even a full belly and a 30-minute wait in line may not be enough to deter a person from going after seconds.  Coming in at a close second for fair food must-haves is the roasted corn-on-the-cob, and if you can find the right stand, be sure to get it dipped in white queso and parmesan cheese. You probably shouldn’t miss the deep-fried Oreos, Mac-n-cheese, or banana pudding. Oh, and then there’s the giant turkey legs, funnel cakes and chocolate-covered bacon. All dieting/healthy-eating initiatives may promptly be resumed when the fair leaves town.

Then there’s Sampson, the world’s largest horse.  Signs on his enclosure claim he weighs more than 2,700 pounds and eats 150 pounds of food in a single day. You think, surely a beast of these proportions isn’t really just hanging out inside this tent, but sure—I’ll pay a dollar and find out.  And there he is, larger than life and casually munching on a bale of alfalfa. I can’t fully speak to the awesomeness of all the rides, I’m a bit of a chicken when it comes to those things—but I can say the giant swings are a must. Of course, if you’ve never been on a Ferris Wheel, you should ride it at least once. If local agriculture interests you, be sure to check out the State Fair Ark in the Exposition Center, which features more than 60 animals showcasing North Carolina’s diversity in livestock.

Close your eyes, it feels like you're flying.

So now that you’ve decided that you absolutely have to make it to the fair this year, here are some great options for how to get there while avoiding the typical aggravations of fair traffic and parking. No matter where you are in the Triangle, if your destination is the State Fair, GoTriangle has you covered. Check out Go Info for specifics on the special times, rates and locations serviced during the fair. GoTriangle is giving away tickets to the fair through GoMade for those commuters who use their time commuting to create. If you use your time on the bus (or car or van-pool) to sketch, knit, or really create anything, submit a photo of yourself on the bus creating and get a free ticket to the fair! More information is located in the post below . You can also buy your tickets in advance on the State Fair website to avoid lines. Have fun, maybe I’ll see you out there—I’ll be the one in cowboy boots with my hands full of the above-mentioned delicacies and a big smile on my face.

4 thoughts on “What’s so wonderful about the State Fair?

  1. Would love to see a map of bike parking options at the fair. With the new bike path on Edwards Mill, it should be easier then ever to bike there. Parking, however, remains a challenge for me because I only know of one rack that can hold maybe two bikes.

    • Hi Rob, Unfortunately we just got word from the State Fair staff, that due to the amount of traffic, the lack of bike lanes around the Fairgrounds (minus the path on Edwards), and other safety/security reasons that they aren’t offering bike parking this year. Let’s continue to work with them and see if we can get something in place for next year!

      • That’s too bad. Considering that some people (like me), are going to bike regardless, ignoring the bikes seems like more of a safety concern then accommodating them, but what do I know?

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