On Saturday I spent about half the day at the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh. It had been a long time since I had gone to any state fair, and I had never been to NC's before. Here are my thoughts:
THE GOOD: The North Carolina Fair still had the traditional agricultural displays and livestock judging. I really enjoyed seeing the largest (and heaviest) pumpkin and watermelon! The winners were over 900 pounds! Crazy. You know they could not have tasted good though. We saw lots of potatoes, squash, pumpkins, nuts, some baked goods, honey, etc. I also really enjoyed watching the young people (4 H - ers) show their prized cows and sheep. It was quite amusing to watch them try and keep the animals under control...some animals being MUCH bigger than the kids. Since it was Saturday it was "youth day" so the children and teenagers were spotlighted. I took a few pictures which are on my Facebook page.
I saw some really cute little baby piglets all smooshed together sleeping by their very LARGE mama! And, I saw baby goats and calves too. A few donkeys, chicks, more LARGE cows and steer... and sheep.
The fair was reasonably priced to get in - and the night-time concert was just an additional $10. We saw country singer Jake Owen. He's definitely easy on the eyes and has some great songs!!
I think 5 or so songs have been pretty big country radio hits. The biggest hit so far is "Barefoot Bluejean Night." Love it! Instead of "like lighters at a rock show" (words in the song) the hall filled up with cellphone lights for a very cool effect. Jake filled the rest of the show with some lesser known songs off his albums, and then ended the night with his song "8 Second Ride" and the Van Halen classic "Jump"! A good, high energy song that everyone knows and loves! I've seen Jake Owen five times now and he's always great to see perform! As we were leaving the fairgrounds we caught a really nice fireworks display!
THE BAD: As I said it was my first time at the NC State Fair and I was there on a very busy Saturday - but I really felt the walkways between all the food booths and trailors were too tight, dangerously so. There were times we were shoulder to shoulder with people just moving en masse. I felt sorry for families there with kids in strollers. I'm not sure how they got around, and there were a few times I almost fell right over on one! At one point I wondered why strollers were even allowed. It was frustrating! Also, I was surprised by the number of motorized scooters for people with health problems. The fair is pretty dirty. It doesn't seem like the place to go with medical limitations. But, yes, it's a free world... and there were hand washing stations outside the livestock exhibition halls.
We realized after the night was through that we missed about 1/3 of the things to see there. I felt the fair layout was rather disorganized and places were not well marked. A few general signs were posted occasionally but it wsn't clear to us. We got stuck in the food area too long. If Americans wonder why we have a weight problem go to a state fair! Fried everything!!
I was going to put the smells of the fair under "the bad" category, and although the smells were strong - especially in the pig and hog building - eeeee-yoooo! - it IS part of what the fair is all about! Right? Fair odors are a unique mix of livestock in stalls, and queasy food being cooked.
The half day was enough. Perhaps had it not been so, so crowded - and dirty - I could have enjoyed it longer. But, I think it's safe to say, I've pretty much had my share of state fair "fun" for awhile!