The North Carolina State Fair is in full swing in Raleigh and even includes a special train stop at the fairgrounds for extra easy travel aboard the Carolinian.
Between the Scotty McCreery performances and Krispy Kreme sloppy joes, we caught up with the state's Director of Marketing and Tourism, Wit Tuttell. He's an NC State Fair pro and shares his expert tips on what to see and how to get there. Check out his recommendations for this year's festivities!
What are the top highlights from this year’s state fair in Raleigh?
The Cirque Mechanics performance is incredible. Think: jugglers and acrobats on a moving stage called the Gantry Bike that looks like something Buckminster Fuller might have dreamed up. On the midway, a new stand-up ride called Surf’s Up creates the sensation of surfing or skateboarding. And to remind us that agriculture is the heart of the fair, there’s a 10-foot-tall soybean fountain plus a double-decker caramel apple dipped in chocolate, covered in candy and topped with a Ding Dong—and yes, it’s served on a stick.
There's an extra train stop at the fair grounds just for the fair. What will that offer people?
The train will relieve people of the stress of traffic and parking, so they should arrive at the fair in great spirits, ready to enjoy the rides, the food, the exhibits or whatever excites them. The train ride also adds quality time by giving fairgoers the perfect opportunity to map out their visit. It’s a win-win all the way around, and no worries about where they left the car when it’s time to leave.
Why should people from other states come to the N.C. State Fair?
For Scotty McCreery! But even without the two performances by our hometown ‘American Idol’ star, the North Carolina State Fair is a destination event. North Carolina is the only Southeastern state among the country’s top 10 agricultural producers, so it follows that our State Fair is one of the largest in the nation. Anyone who visits can expect to see things—and taste things—that they can’t find anywhere else.
What’s your favorite state fair snack?
I’m partial to barbecue, and this year there’s a new take on North Carolina’s most famous heritage food: a pork barbecue and slaw egg roll. Of course, we’re also the home of Krispy Kreme, and the state fair is the only place in the world where you can get a Krispy Kreme sloppy joe. That plus the egg roll covers all of the major junk food groups except chocolate, but the caramel apple dipped in chocolate takes care of that.
The North Carolina State Fair runs through Oct. 27.