The North Carolina State Fair Has it All

The North Carolina State Fair, an event whose humble origins begin with a small four day agriculture event held in 1853, has become a yearly tradition for many North Carolina natives. Much of the reason for the fairs current success is perhaps the diversity of attractions it offers. Whether you go for the fried food or displays of giant vegetables, livestock judging or pig racing, to peruse the craftsmanship in the Village of Yesteryear or to pursue the coveted prize of a giant stuffed animal at one of the many carnival games, there is a little bit of everything for everyone.

2015 has already seen record attendance numbers with its first Thursday, the 15th of October, setting an opening day record at 47,677 guests, breaking the previous record set in 2010. Many more visitors will make their way to Raleigh as the week continues and they are drawn to the many events and attractions.

Of the many events and attractions, perhaps one of the most publicized is the State Fair’s fried food that has become infamous for being as creative as it is unhealthy. As a part of the State Fair’s social media, there is a blog run by the fair called the Deep Fried Blog. Of this years many deep fried sensations, the star of the show is a newcomer called, “Fry Me Over the Moon”, a combination a Moon Pie, Hostess Cupcake, Oreos, and Reese’s Cups, all deep fried into a single creation. Not only has this been publicized on the State Fair’s blog, but many other media outlets have covered this State Fair delicacy such as WNCW, The News and Observer, and WRAL, just to name a few.

Fry me Over The Moon

While this modern fried phenomenon draws much attention, a less advertised, but long running tradition for many is the more relaxing Heritage Circle, a place where visitors can get fresh home made ice cream from the Grist Mill and listen to the line up of bluegrass musicians at the Bluegrass Stage. While bustling energy surrounds the novelty fried food vendors as people squeeze their way through the busier segments of the fair, Heritage Circle offers a completely different state fair experience. It is tucked away from the heavy foot traffic of the main paths in a much quieter wooded area where visitors can sit and enjoy the feeling of a simpler time.

Heritage Circle

Today’s fair goers are offered a wide variety of attractions that range from experimental to traditional. There is something for everyone this fall at the NC State fair grounds as the festivities continue until October 25th.

18 thoughts on “The North Carolina State Fair Has it All

  1. The title is so accurate for this post! Although I won’t get the chance to go to the State Fair this year, I was able to make a day out of it last year and I had the greatest time. My friends and I visited a local bar for lunch and then headed over to the fairgrounds. We walked through the gardens and I indulged in some of the fried food as mentioned above. The fried Snickers bar was easily the highlight of my day. My friends and I even caught the Parmalee concert in the evening, which was the perfect way to wind down after a long day of walking. It would be nice to have a fair a little closer to us than Raleigh (besides the small expo at the airport!).

  2. I had heard about the North Carolina fair even before I thought about moving to here. It’s infamous as you said even on the west coast. I have never been myself but I have plans on attending my first one this week. I figured going on the 24th would give me the most authentic experience. Not only has each fair booth been given enough time to work out each small issue but aside from opening day, I think the last saturday of the event would be when a very big crowd was drawn. Do you think it was smart of me to wait till the last weekend since you have attended before? Aside from trying all the food and going to Heritage Circle what is one more thing you could recommend that would give me the perfect well rounded North Carolina Fair experience? I look forward to going and seeing if this fair is everything people say it is.

  3. The North Carolina State Fair sounds like a lot of fun! I’m going to try to check it out either this week yet but if I can’t, next year for sure! The unique fried foods sound like an interesting thing to check out and the Heritage Circle sounds like it would be a lot of fun and somewhat relaxing. I look forward to seeing how much it will continue to grow in visitor numbers as the years go on too.

  4. I actually went to the state fair this past weekend! I have never been to a state fair before, it was amazing how many people were there!! I had a great time just walking around and enjoying those attractions and the atmosphere. Although reading this makes me so upset that I didn’t get a “Fry Me Over the Moon” 😦

  5. I just went to the State Fair this past weekend! I was super disappointed to find out that my friend and I completely missed the farm animals. We lost our map and never went to two whole sides of the fair. I would have loved to see this pig racing you speak of! I did however get to indulge in some deep fried Oreo’s! Great post.

  6. I had NO idea that there has been more people to the fair this year already when compared to past years. That goes to show people can’t wait to get the full fair experience. My personal favorite thing at the fair has got to be fried snickers. After reading your post I am really curious on these new creations, “Fry Me Over The Moon.” Knowing North Carolina, the new fried foods are probably the biggest hit! I also love the homemade ice cream that you talked about, you definitely can not miss out on that if you go. I enjoyed your post, it really makes me want to take a spontaneous trip to Raleigh.

  7. I really enjoy the state fair. The last time I went was last year, but it was a great time. Something that the fair does very well is advertise. They advertise so far in advance and they don’t even need to! They honestly have such a huge following in North Carolina that people would know about the state fair without any sort of advertisement at all.

  8. The State Fair is something I look forward to all year long. I went for the first time my freshman year of college with my best friends and now I go every year. The food is the main reason I go. Although it can be seen as unnecessarily expensive, it is the most fun a person will have. Everyone should experience the State Fair at least once in their life time.

  9. Every year the state fair seems to have something new, and more exciting. Over the last decade this snowball effect has really turned this event into a must see attraction for NC residents.

  10. As a new student down here in North Carolina, I am very eager to explore the area and try new things. Unfortunately, I actually didn’t see or hear of any advertising for the state fair until I saw some friends post on Instagram about it, and this article. I didn’t realize just how huge and popular this fair was state-wide. This article sold me on going to Raleigh to embrace the North Carolina culture. Can’t wait for this weekend!

  11. I absolutely love the NC State Fair. It literally has everything fried you could ever think of. Even fried butter. I love the state fair because it embodies a lot of NC traits. Unfortunately, I can’t go this year but I will surely miss it!

  12. I just recently went to the State Fair this past Sunday. I tried my very first fried oreo and it was better than expected! What I found interesting was the the DMV had a trailer at the State Fair that people could get help with renewing their licenses and other DMV programs. The line to get the homemade ice-cream was what I think was the longest line of the entire fair, I thought it was to get into the ride area! This was my first year ever participating in the State Fair because I usually attend the Dixie Classic in Winston-Salem, and I was very overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed by all the people, sounds, and smells especially because it was the first weekend of the event. The food was amazing, the rides were fun, but the crowds not so much.


  13. I haven’t attended too many State Fairs over the years, but this one certainly looks exciting! I’ll especially look forward to the fried food, and that fried chocolate monstrosity!

  14. This article is actually super helpful since I will actually be heading out to the state fair this upcoming weekend! I did not know about the blog for their famous fried foods but that is something I will definitely have to check out soon! I had never really paid attention to the history part of the state fair, but it’s amazing to think that the fair has been around since 1853! I’ll have to pay more attention to the fried foods section of the fair whenever I go and see which delicious treat would be best!

  15. As a New Jersey native, I am always extremely interested to hear about what goes on North Carolina’s State Fair. All of my friends from North Carolina have always talked about how great the fried food is, and how I need to make my way to the State Fair at some point during my college experience. I would eat just about anything if you stuck it in a deep fryer, so the North Carolina State Fair sounds like the place to be!!

  16. It’s amazing to see how the state fair has established itself as one of the largest events and most popular traditions in North Carolina, along with the Azalea Festival. While I already knew that the fair had a number of activities that appealed to a wide array of people, I was not aware of Heritage Circle, which appears to cater to older adults. I am sure the inclusion of the Heritage Circle helps the fair earn a larger profit since it attracts a crowd who would not normally go to a traditional loud, crowded fair.

  17. After reading this it made me want to go back to Raleigh (where I’m from) and go try this “Fry Me Over the Moon” thing. I’ve been the fair a few times and, for many, is a fall tradition. I also had no idea that the fair began as a small four day agriculture event – very cool!

  18. I’ve never been to the State Fair but I’ve always wanted to go! I’ve been to the Azalea Festival and things like that and I imagine that the State Fair would be similar but way more fun! I think it’s really cool to have an event that people all over the state will travel to go to.

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