Local News

From Highway to Midway, Lots of Folks at Fair

Posted Updated

RALEIGH — It has become an annual battle -- between folks going to the North Carolina State Fair and the N.C. State football fans heading to the same area for a football game.

All the road action was in west Raleigh, near Carter-Finley Stadium and the state fairgrounds. Today, the Virginia at N.C. State game brought 50,000 fans together with 100,000 or so heading to the fair.

And that wasn't all, of course. Plenty of Raleigh residents were trying to get to shopping, kids' soccer games -- and vacationers making their way through the city were also using the beltline.

So it was heavy-duty competition for space on the roads along the state fairgrounds.

Frustration built as traffic was stop and go before the game's kick-off.

Highway Patrol trooper Danny Jenkins said it was a matter of "pull up, stop and wait, then pull up, stop and wait." But Jenkins was optimistic. "Eventually, you get here!"

Cecil Bradsaw and his wife have been fairgoers for decades, but this year was a real challenge. Two hours to drive to the fairgrounds from Pender County -- followed by another two hours' driving around looking for a parking space.

Navigating through the traffic may have been quite a chore, but the effort was probably worth it.

Throngs jammed the midway, enjoying the fun, food and rides.

And today's wonderful autumn weather no doubt was an additional enticement to head to the fair.

For everyone who has yet to check out the Mason jars filled with perfectly canned green beans and peaches, has yet to scratch a sheep's ears or coo over a flop-earred rabbit, cheer some entertainers or watch a tractor pull -- take heart.

This day's traffic problems, created by the conjunction of fair and football, won't be repeated. It should be significantly easier to get into the fair by day or night for the rest of its run.

The fun at the fair starts early Sunday, when a horse show gets everything going at 8 a.m.

Sunday night there is a free concert at Dorton Area featuring The Florida Boys.

Now, where's the cotton candy booth?