WRAL.com at the State Fair

How far are you walking at the Fair?

Posted October 25, 2008

I bought a pair of inserts for my shoes this week. I have good sneakers but after ten hours or so of walking around the fairgrounds, my feet wake up and start asking what's the big idea.

As I was trimming the inserts to fit I started wondering: how far exactly was I walking? Was it as far as I thought it was, or was it just the fact that there was a lot of backtracking and weaving through crowds involved? I knew that some mapping applications let you measure distances along roads, but I didn't know if such measurement was possible for the official-road-less Fairgrounds.

After some experimenting I discovered that the application Google Earth (which is free and available at http://earth.google.com/) has a "ruler" feature. You can set two points on a map and have Google Earth give you the distance between them in yards, kilometers, miles, etc.

It's not perfect; you have to draw straight lines so figuring out some routes on the fairgrounds requires measuring several straight lines. And because there aren't official streets, the starting and ending points are approximate. But I know a lot more about distances around the fairgrounds now.

For example, walking from the front of the Kerr Scott building to the Waterfall is approximately 2/10ths of a mile. Going from the top of the Fair at the Kerr Scott building to the back at the Village of Yesteryear is approximately .38 of a mile, while going ahead and walking down to Heritage Circle is 4/10ths of a mile. If you want to go side to side, walking from the Waterfall where the Ferris Wheel is on the Big Midway is about one-quarter of a mile.

Try it yourself! Grab a copy of Google Earth, go to the fairgrounds (the official address is 1025 Blue Ridge Blvd, Raleigh NC) and start measuring. You might be surprised at how much ground you covered!

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