Friday, October 23, 2009

NC State Fair - "A Whole Lotta Happy!"

Our family takes a day off to visit the NC State Fair every year. We might have missed a year or two in the 16 years that we've lived in North Carolina, but that still qualifies as a family tradition, wouldn't you say? Why then does my husband still protest that it is not a tradition? Ah, sometimes I think his middle name is Scrooge. But although he protested and claimed to have to go to WORK, in the end he joined us for "A Whole Lotta Happy"!

It was a beautiful, sunny day with temps in the high 70's - perfect for weaving through the maze of colorful concession stands selling such classic and neo-classic fare as corn dogs, fried dough, gyros, ice cream, caramel apples, cotton candy, turkey legs, fruit smoothies, and deep-fried-everything-under-the-sun; the over-priced yet still irrationally popular carnival games and rides; the livestock barns housing strutting chickens, cuddly rabbits, sleepy pigs, cud-chewing cows, carefully groomed goats, and skittish sheep; the education buildings showcasing hours of painstaking work in the 4H, home ec., horticultural, and agricultural exhibits; the commercial vendors demonstrating food choppers, steam mops, waterless cookware, and brightly colored chamois cloths; the folk festival tent, Heritage Circle, and Village of Yesteryear highlighting gifted crafters, artists and performers.

I highly recommend a weekday morning or early afternoon visit, as it is much less crowded than late afternoons and evenings. And for heaven sake, avoid the weekends if at all possible. We went on a Saturday once - and will not make that mistake ever again!

Since we arrived at lunch time, food was foremost on our minds - so first was a stop at the Bloomin' Onion stand. Jason also needed a corn dog for sustenance. Once fortified with some good fried food, we took advantage of the lack of lines and visited the NC Wildlife Exhibit, where Jason and Amanda took several turns at the BB Gun target shooting range. Then we headed to the far corner of the fairgrounds and began to work our way back toward the exit. We made our way through the 4H & Home Ec. building first, stopping to admire some beautiful quilts and sewing projects, then went on to the Commercial building, where we enjoyed a 50 cent dill pickle, followed by an extremely yummy chocolate covered caramel apple from Miss Debbie's! Next we explored the school art & photography exhibits, and then headed off toward the animal and agriculture barns, to see the blue ribbon heifers and 300+ lb pumpkin, the bees and the baby chicks, a "pig pile" of piglets and the capture of a renegade goose who had escaped and was trying to cause a revolt in the duck pond! whew! such drama!

It was obviously time for more food, so Amanda bought herself a grilled chicken pita ( I think it might actually be healthy fair food!), and then we had to have some NC State ice cream - the biggest, creamiest cup of ice cream you'll ever eat!

Mark opted to lie out on the grass while the kids and I visited the Village of Yesteryear - which he long ago dubbed the Circle of Death. This is probably my favorite exhibit - wonderfully skilled crafters and artisans displaying and demonstrating all kinds of crafts - woodworking, pottery throwing, silhouette paper cutting, weaving, glass blowing, Pysanky egg decorating, tin smithing, basket weaving, guitar making, rug hooking, and more. Thankfully, my children have all inherited my appreciation for things beautiful and artistic, so they are happy to pause and talk to the crafters, watching them create.

Amanda decided to join Mark on the grass while Jason and I wandered through the flower & garden exhibits. I particularly enjoyed the "Where the Wild Things Are" and the "Italian Herb Garden" themes.

One last snack before we left - fried dough. Since we shared, each person only got a few bites... a good thing.

I did take some pics, but my camera and computer arent' communicating right now...

No comments: