WRAL.com at the State Fair

And we're off

Posted October 18, 2013

— The full moon is not actually until Friday night, but it was waxing enough Thursday that I had been looking forward to seeing a moonlit midway and the rest of the NC State Fair under moonlight.

That didn't happen because of the weather, but the cloud formations themselves (constantly threatening, but never producing rain until right as we were leaving) had their own flair as they made a background for all the lights and rides.

And that was pretty much my impression of the preview day – not entirely what I was expecting, but interesting in its own way. Sunset at the NC State Fair Fun guide: Tips to enjoy the 2013 NC State Fair

I went to the first preview day a few years ago, and between the traffic and other issues, it was a mess. This year it was much better, but things still felt a bit unfinished.

A vendor in one of the exhibit halls told me that the halls had been opened at 3 p.m. instead of 4 p.m., which explained some of the vendors still setting up shortly before 4 p.m. and one or two empty spots. I checked back towards evening and everything was going.

Speaking of the exhibit halls, if that's your main interest, preview day is a great day to go, just don't get there just as the halls are opening. The exhibits aren't crowded and everybody's energized.

There have been lots of small changes (and not so small changes – I'll talk about those in other blog posts) all over the place. There seems to have been an effort to make more room. If you come in through Gate 9 (the first gate with an entrance on Trinity Road as you turn off Blue Ridge) you have a long walk to the main concourse of the fair.

In years past, one part of that path has been clogged (toward the top of the hill, just as you're going around the curve to walk parallel to the Kerr Scott building) by games and other distractions that caused people spilling into the walkway. Now that area is one large food vendor, which I suspect will make the walk much bottle-necked on the weekends. Secretary of Agriculture Steve Troxler State Fair opening ceremony

It also felt like there was more space on the midway, with larger areas being made available (but what happened to the Wizard of Oz coin push game? I'll have to check on the old midway).

There has been an ongoing push to provide more seating everywhere. The grassy area between the Expo Center and the Jim Graham Building now has a lot of benches and picnic tables.

The plain white signs pointing to various attractions have been replaced with large, colorful signs that unfortunately are not as easy to read since the lettering is black on a-variety-of-colors. It could be my eyes.

It's interesting that the fair with the theme "North Carolina Homecoming" feels like it has had so many changes, from subtle to not-so-subtle, good to not-so-good (like not having a petting zoo!) How these come together, of course, remains to be seen over the next 10 days.

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  • dleven04 Oct 18, 2013

    Don't ride the shuttle from North Raleigh. It takes forever and its not because of traffic. They do not have enough busses running.

    Is this the stop that is the furthest from the fairgrounds?

  • dleven04 Oct 18, 2013

    Raleigh should have its own permanient amusement park ... those fair carnies gie me the willies.

    Good, let's get this started...Is there enough room on your property for an "amusement park"? Is there enough people in your family to operate this "amusement park"?

    Your post is RIDICULOUS! Carowinds and Busch Gardens are NOT at all far from Raleigh.
    You should be ASHAMED for judging another person. Is that your place to judge?

  • Honesty first Oct 18, 2013

    Don't ride the shuttle from North Raleigh. It takes forever and its not because of traffic. They do not have enough busses running.

  • nonemeant Oct 18, 2013

    Just left the fair @ 1 pm. There were not a lot of folks partaking of this entertainment this a. m.

  • bombayrunner Oct 18, 2013

    Raleigh should have its own permanient amusement park ... those fair carnies gie me the willies.

  • bombayrunner Oct 18, 2013

    everytime i go to the fair I have buyers remorse. Like, why did I do this? With the exception of the Fair Meg Scott Phipps held when she was Ag Commissioner - and ended up going to jail for.

  • Obamacare is here Oct 18, 2013

    Yeah, it's not working too well today. :(

  • Obamacare is here Oct 18, 2013

    So bizarro, what you're saying is you found the article to be highly informative?

  • bizarro Oct 18, 2013

    Not much useless info in this article.