WRAL.com at the State Fair

Mini-Golf and Praying Mantises

Posted October 24, 2013


At the Fair, there's uphill and there's downhill. Uphill there's the Dorton Arena, the Scott Building, tons of food vendors, exhibition halls, and Kiddieland. Downhill there's the new midway and (a different way) the old midway. Downhill and moving away from the main part of the Fair you have the Village of Yesteryear, Heritage Circle, and the flower and garden area.

All three of these areas tend to get short shrift. They're practically on your way out if you're leaving by Gate 8, they're a long way from the bright lights and the rides, and they're not noisy or flashy. But they're worth exploring. The garden area in particular has surprises every year.

One of the first things you'll notice when you enter the garden area this year is a little mini-golf course. This tiny three-hole course is a partnership between the Penn State Pesticide Education Program and the NC State Pesticide Safety Education Program. Play a little golf and learn about pesticides and insecticides as well as their impact on critters and you!

Down the slope toward the bridge you'll see a very cool giant praying mantis, created by NC State student Joe Carnevale. It is next to a path marked with white lights. If you follow that path you'll end up on one of the wooden bridges going across the pond. (There are also a couple of nice benches in this area if you'd like a few minutes of peace and quiet.) If you turn left instead you'll end up going across a shorter bridge toward a variety of other exhibits. No matter which one you take you won't miss the flock of plastic pink flamingos that graze on both sides of the pond.

No, there are no rides here and nobody's selling sloppy joe Krispy Kreme burgers. But this peaceful, always-changing area is one of my favorite parts of the Fair.


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