We moved from New York to North Carolina in 2012 and it was then that our family was introduced to the North Carolina State Fair. It is an annual fair and agricultural expo held every October at the NC State Fairgrounds. First held in 1853, the NC State Fair has become a traditional fall event that has grown from 4,000 fairgoers to a record-breaking 1.09 million people in 2010! It showcases the state’s agriculture, agribusiness, arts, crafts and culture through the many educational and competitive exhibits.

The North Carolina State Fair is the largest 11-day event in North Carolina, attracting more than 800,000 attendees. The Fair hosts many diverse musical acts, numerous food vendors, games booths and carnival rides, commercial and agricultural exhibitors. The Fair is managed and produced by the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and is consistently ranked among the top 25 fairs in North America.  – www.ncstatefair.org

Like many NC families, it has become a yearly tradition for us as well.  We usually go on a weekday, but due to conflicts in our schedules, we went last Saturday, which happens to be the first Saturday that the fair is open. BIG MISTAKE. Never. Ever. Again.

This year, we did not get to see the competitive exhibits and we were unable to ride our usual carnival rides because of the suuuuuuuuuuuper loooooooong lines. We actually ended up selling most of our ride tickets before we left.  But we did enjoy eating in the garden and walking around and sightseeing in the nice semi-fall weather.

Sophie was brave enough to do the kiddie rides by herself and also would not miss her yearly pony ride.  She rode a much bigger pony this year but begged for another turn because she wouldn’t leave without riding her “Pinky Pie”, the pony that she’s been riding since she was 3.

And did I already tell you how much we enjoy sampling the fare at the NC State Fair? Not because it’s the best tasting food in the whole wide world, but there’s just something about fair food in a carnival setting that takes you back to a happy place  🙂

Fried Reese’s, Fried Oreos, Fried Cheesecake, anything fried, you name it and I think they have it. Every year, they showcase the most popular choices, like the Krispy Kreme Burger (yummy!) and introduce some new “creations” as well.

The Crab Cake Cheese Curds is a new entrant this year from The Cheese Curd Shack. They’re premium white cheddar cheese curds that are lightly breaded with cooked crab and shrimp before it’s fried. One order costs $8 and there were quite a few nuggets in the tray that we enjoyed sharing and dipping in cocktail sauce and ranch.  Also, for the first time in history, NC State Fair visitors will be able to purchase flights of beer and wine from Our State Public House. Please click here for more information about the new offerings and attractions at the NC State Fair.

We can’t go to the fair and not order our “favorites” of course, which include the Hot Wisconsin Cheese, Bacon Cheese Fries, the Roasted Turkey Leg, and the Bacon on a Stick.

In the afternoon, we stopped for sweets. For freshly made old fashioned ice cream, try Rob Ron’s for $5 a cup. You can watch while they make it in those John Deere tractors. Pat and Justin also tried the Cheesecake on a Stick, which was equally good, and Sophie got a junior bag of cotton candy.

Despite the crowd and the long queues, we still had a great time and yes, we will definitely come back next year, but not on a Saturday. For those who want to go this year, you still have time. The fair runs until October 22, and you can visit this site for more details. Have fun y’all!!!! ♥