NC State Fair brings good times for the family

October 16, 2013 

We just can’t seem to help it. Every year, the State Fair comes (today’s the day), and the family’s Fair Scrooge pipes up and tries to organize a boycott. Crowds. Parking. Money. “Who wants that?” Scrooge says.

Ah, but then the tykes and toddlers look up with their little round and shining faces (unless they’ve already been to the fair, in which case you might want to wipe ’em down) and stare at ol’ Scrooge as if he’d locked the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus in the basement and…that’s the end of that. It’s off to the fair, again.

If one can forget about the crowds and the parking (although the fair has a good system for riding in and out) and the money for a second, consider that the North Carolina State Fair is a chance to see the state, all of it, in once former pasture right here in Raleigh. And it’s history, from the canning and growing competitions to the best-animal contests, where it becomes obvious that the Tar Heel State retains at least some of the great dignity in the people who work the land and maintain their family farms.

Had enough of the politicians fussing and fuming? Talk to some of those good folks in the agriculture buildings or the Village of Yesteryear, where crafts people show you how it’s been done all these years. Or centuries.

And it’s OK, once a year, to have that Sloppy Joe’s doughnut sandwich, although it’s recommended you don’t get on any of the high-flying rides after that.

The fair is where farm folks and church people and music fans and teenagers not afraid of the long odds on the midway get a chance to indulge, as they should. The fair is for many a destination called escape, a few hours away from worries, a chance to show the kids or grandkids from the cities some animals they’ve never seen.

So go and smell the sawdust and taste the cakes and have a ham biscuit at the church booth. Get a fresh-squeezed lemonade. The Disney people are wrong, once a year. North Carolina’s State Fair becomes the happiest place on Earth.

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