October 17, 2008

The NC State Fair - October 16-26

If it's fall, it's Fair time! The North Carolina State Fair is just fun! The Fair is open October 16-26.

First, let's talk "Fair Food" that includes all things you ordinarily avoid. You start off with elephant ears. These aren't your garden's colocasia! These elephant ears are basically big, flat pads of fried dough with a topping. If you want to eat something lighter, then you want a funnel cake that is basically fried dough drizzled into the oil so that it has a pretty, lacy look. Dump plenty of powder sugar on there and you're good to go. Don't wear black. My dark jeans were covered by the sugar. Share this with a friend or spouse so that you can enjoy some of the other concoctions at the Fair.

After sharing our funnel cake, my husband and I took a break from the food to check out the flowers. Our Fair has a gardening section that includes competitions for individual flowers and themed gardens. While I was taking photos, my husband wandered off to hear bluegrass music and came back with hand churned ice cream from the folks outside the Village of Yesteryear. I tried a few bites of the ice cream and it was so good!

Back to the flowers...we were unable to see the individual flowers as the building was closed for judging. However, we met lots of nice gardeners who had participated in the themed gardens. We had so much fun hearing about the creation of the gardens and a bit of history from one particular gardener.

Yes, there are lots of photos and articles coming in the next week! Stay tuned.

We wandered through the Village of Yesteryear where weavers, potters, carvers, broom makers and all other kinds of craftsmen and women were demonstrating and selling their wares. This is where you see the best handicrafts around.

When it was time for dinner (vegans stop reading now) we headed for the NC Pork Association's restaurant tent to get real NC chopped BBQ sandwiches. We sat down at the long tables and enjoyed our sandwiches, got our drink refills and headed for Al's French Fries. Al's little trailer is always at the NC State Fair. The large fries come right out of the oil for enjoyment. Satisfied that we'd filled our fried food requirement for this Fair trip, we walked past the deep fried Twinkies®, Oreos® Snickers® and such. Yes, they fry every food imaginable at the Fair. They can make artery-cloggers out of healthy green beans!

By this time, we headed for the livestock barns to see the cattle, goats, pigs, chickens...but, we couldn't find the rabbits. In the livestock area, we encountered a famous celebrity, Smithfield, The Painting Pig! Unfortunately, we had just missed Smithfield's final performance of the day. This painting pig has been on TV shows and you can buy his art.

After seeing a exhibits with honeybees and honey, prize winning 612 pound pumpkins, gorgeous gourds, plenty of potatoes and loads of apples, we decided to catch a bit more bluegrass music before heading home.

We don't ride the ferris wheel, roller coasters or anything else. We go for the old-fashioned stuff...and the food!

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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