Visitors to the North Carolina State Fair will be able to drink wine and beer at the fair this year.
That has never been the case in the past, when anyone who wanted a sip of alcohol at the fair would’ve had to sneak booze in illicitly. The fair started in 1853.
People still can’t bring in their own drinks, and liquor still won’t be available inside. But the fair has announced that it’s partnering with Our State magazine to set up an area where people can buy beer and wine.
“The Our State Public House is an opportunity to showcase North Carolina’s growing beer and wine industries, which are significant contributors to our agricultural economy,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler in a written statement. “Visitors can also learn how these products are made.”
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Fair-goers will find 40 breweries and 40 wineries represented. And $10 will buy a flight of either wine or beer.
People will be able to choose a flight of several different styles, or several different versions of the same style.
According to the fair’s announcement, the trade groups for the state’s breweries and wineries are also partners in the new venture – and some of the proceeds from the sales will go to help pay for their marketing and research.
The state’s wine industry has long been a major tourist attraction, and the craft beer industry has grown into the largest in the Southeast.
There will also be wine-tasting events at the Hunt Horse Complex at the fairgrounds. People will also be able to buy bottles of wine there that they can bring home to drink.
The fair, barely more than a month away, will be Oct. 12-22. For more details or to buy tickets, visit www.ncstatefair.org.
Last year more than 1 million people visited the fair, which was an attendance record. The largest crowds were on the fair’s two weekends.
Doran: 919-836-2858; Twitter: @will_doran