N.C. State Fair gates open Thursday
Posted October 17, 2019 6:45 a.m. EDT
Updated October 17, 2019 12:05 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Thousands are expected to crowd the fairgrounds on Thursday when the North Carolina State Fair opens its gates at noon.
While ride ticket redemption stations and ticket booths open at noon, the Midway rides won't open until 1 p.m.
As of 10:30 a.m., 101 of the fair's 104 rides had been inspected and approved by the state Department of Labor
Among this year's new rides it the 155-foot-tall SkyGazer Ferris wheel. The tallest ride ever brought to the fair, the SkyGazer features more than a half million individual LED lights and holds more than 200 people at a time. A separate ticket is required to ride the SkyGazer. Tickets are $7.
Other new rides this year include the new Alien Abduction, SkyHawk, Sizzler and Dream Wheel.
Lots of pumpkin featured in new fair foods
The State Fair on Monday offered media a chance to taste-test some of the new fair food , including the Campfire on a Stick from Hot Chix Hotcakes and Chicken. For the new item, mini pancakes are layered with toasted marshmallows covered in chocolate with a graham cracker topping. Tropical Delights' Dole Whip, a pineapple soft serve creation, was the selected by the media as the best new fair food.
Other new foods this year include a pumpkin spice hush puppy topped with a pumpkin spice glaze, served by Old North State Kitchen. That isn't the only new hush puppy on the menu this year. The folks at the Ragin Cajun booth are serving a candied apple hush puppy topped with a Cheerwine glaze. Another new item is Douglas Farms' pumpkin spice corn. The roasted corn is dipped in butter before being rolled in brown sugar and pumpkin spice.
La Farm Bakery is offering a new Stuffed Cubano Baguette filled with pulled pork, mozzarella cheese, bread and butter pickles and a sweet ham with a spinach garlic, cilantro and lime Cubano sauce. The N.C. Pecan and Toffee S'mores are also a new addition to their fair menu.
The Department of Labor spent Tuesday and Wednesday inspecting fair rides, while health officials checked out food vendors.
Health has been a big concern for fairgoers in light of a recent outbreak of Legionnaires' disease linked to a hot tub display at the Mountain State Fair last month in Fletcher. Three people died from the outbreak.
There have been 140 cases of Legionnaires' disease connected to the western North Carolina fair. Officials say people who became ill may have been exposed to contaminated water droplets when they walked by the exhibit.
Ahead of the State Fair, the fairgrounds’ water distribution system has been flushed for extra precaution.
The Wake County Sheriff's Office inspected carnival games on Wednesday to determine whether they are, in fact, winnable.
Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker was joined by a group of children with the Miracle League of the Triangle to ensure that carnival games like balloon dart throw and ring toss are games of skill and not chance.
In addition to inspecting games, the Wake County Sheriff's Office is also the lead agency for security and law enforcement at the fair. There will be deputies on duty, undercover officers and members from the Drug and Vice and Special Response teams at the fairgrounds daily.