Since its birth in 1986, the North Carolina State Fair has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the state. For a small admission fee, one can get on rides, eat exotic foods, listen to live music and even see some animals. The fair is a unique experience that brings people together from all different cultures and backgrounds to be entertained. If you have never been, I will warn you that it can be pretty overwhelming. The lines are long, the food is expensive and you can forget about getting a close parking spot. But that’s all a part of the experience. After visiting this year, I’ve made a list of the top things that anyone who visits the fair should definitely have on their to do list.

Photo By Candice Kelly
Photo By Candice Kelly

Eat a whole turkey leg

If you don’t come to the fair to eat, what do you really come for? Turkey legs are one of the staple fair foods and you have got to try it at least once. They’re so huge that one can last for a couple days or be enjoyed by an entire family. Just think about it, a thick, meaty leg of meat that’s been slow roasted over an open flame for hours, the thought of it is mouth watering.

Consume something deep fried

In any other circumstances eating a deep fried stick of butter would be absolutely repulsive. But at the fair, anything is fair game for frying. Most people just stick to the candy bars, but some folks have tried to more extreme concoctions like deep fried bacon or deep fried kool-aid. Just pick the most appetizing snack and go for it. Although it is not the healthiest thing for you by a long shot, a warm deep fried treat on a chilly fall afternoon is the epitome of a day at the fair.

Play a game

The fair has some cool games where you try to toss a ring onto a bottle or have someone guess your age and win a prize. Many people think that the games are scams and that no one ever wins, but I disagree. Not everyone wins all the time, but it’s just a part of the experience. The fun part is trying to outscore your friends or seeing how close you can get and if you’re lucky you may walk away with a giant teddy bear.

Ride the ferris wheel

It’s a slow-moving metal circle and it’s the best ride at the fair. The ferris wheel is guaranteed to have the longest line because it is one of the most popular rides. It allows you and three friends to glide through the air and get s great view of the entire landscape. It’s especially beautiful during sunset.

Photo By Candice Kelly

See an ‘amazing creature’

We have all seen the signs before, “The World’s Smallest Elephant,” “The Lady With The Snake Body” and “The Biggest Rat Ever.” My rational thinking told me there was no way these creatures could be real, yet I was always curious to know what was inside these attractions. Usually it’s only a couple of bucks to enter and I can guarantee it will not be what you expected.

Watch the fireworks

At the end of a fun fair day, fireworks decorate the sky for a beautiful show. It’s so nice to see everyone slow down and really just live in the moment. Take in all of the flashing lights, the music playing in the background, children laughing and riders screaming. Inhale the sausages roasting, funnel cakes frying, chicken grilling. The fireworks were always my favorite part of the fair as a child because it made it seem like a celebration. Celebrating that we are alive and free and able to enjoy such a beautiful event.