The North Carolina State Fair kicks off Thursday, and the fairgrounds were a wet, slippery place Monday as organizers hosted a media sneak peek of all the action.
Crews battled daylong rain showers and unseasonably cold temperatures as they worked to put the fair together.
"We want the fair to run, so we will do what we have to do," said food vendor Christine Putman. "(But) it is not fun, it is cold."
The Triangle is expected to dry out Tuesday, and warm steadily through mid-week before settling into the upper 60s to mid-70s for a dry opening weekend at the fair.
The State Fair boasts the largest midway in North America, which, come Thursday, will be bustling with rides, games, food, crafts, agriculture and animals – in other words, a "bumper crop of fun," this year's fair theme.
So, what is a bumper crop?
"It means a very large yield or, as I like to say, a whole bunch of something," said State Fair spokesman Brian Long.
A whole bunch of rides, games, blinking lights, musical instruments and waving flags will be set up at the fairgrounds in Raleigh over the next few days, Long said, and a whole bunch of new activities will debut for fun-loving North Carolinians.
"The joy of the State Fair, to me, is being able to walk the grounds and see people having fun," said state Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
A beer brewing competition and vegetable petting zoo, along with tasty deep-fried Girl Scout cookies, cupcakes and cinnamon buns, are just a few of the new attractions in 2012.
Organizers say they hope to reach the 1 million mark for attendance for the third year in a row. If entries for various competitions are any indicator, this year's fair could be the biggest yet.
"It's been a good year for growing things in North Carolina," Troxler said. "We have more than 9,000 entries in the flower and garden show alone."