A year already? And it seems like only days ago that the kids, wanting to flip those pennies at targets on the midway – or was it the ring toss? – took home as prizes three goldfish. Mommy and Daddy put the raised eyebrow on Pops, who had funded the prize-winning effort, because they knew they’d be getting a fish tank after they got home. And plants for the tank. And a filter.
One of the fish is nearing the size of a carp, healthy still. The others ... well, we don’t talk about that.
The North Carolina State Fair is back, and the early weather reports, always a concern, look good. There’s a crisp fall feeling in the air, which puts fairgoers in the right mood to hop onto that spinning ride or that Ferris wheel and get in those whirling tea cups with the little ones. And the festive-on-steroids atmosphere makes grown-ups do things that are downright silly, from trying to sink basketballs through tiny hoops – they don’t look regulation– to trying to bust barely inflated balloons that wouldn’t break with a .38 trained on them.
But that’s the fair, or part of it, anyway. Inside some of the exhibit buildings is the heart and soul, with little kids and their animals, and big kids, too. For this all started as an agricultural fair, celebrating a significant part of North Carolina’s heritage. On walls from executive suites in New York to the home of a former governor named Hunt in Rock Ridge hang blue ribbons from the North Carolina State Fair.
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Entertainment fare in Dorton Arena has moved with the times, going from pure country to rock ‘n’ roll. And there are causes, too, from peace to hunger to charities that rightly take advantage of hundreds of thousands of people gathered in one place.
In one building, the political parties will be set up, but most folks will be looking at prize-winning pies and cakes and melons. We’ll resist the temptation to compare the politicians unfavorably with the melons.
And, hey, down on the midway ... over there ... you can win a fish!