Local News

N.C. State Fair kicks off a 'whole lotta fun'

Posted October 16, 2009 11:03 a.m. EDT
Updated October 16, 2009 7:56 p.m. EDT

— A "whole lotta happy" got kicked off at a ceremony Friday morning marking the official start of the 2009 State Fair Friday morning.

"I consider this to be the state of North Carolina's official family reunion," state Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said at the 11 a.m. ceremony in the Heritage Circle.

"I'm going to be a whole lotta happy when you have a whole lotta fun," he added, referring to the theme of this year's fair.

Troxler touted some new technology at the fair: a video game arcade where "Guitar Hero" competitions will be held.

 "We've come a long way from chicken incubators to the computer age," he said.

Still, Troxler said the main focus of the fair remains the same: agriculture, which is North Carolina's No. 1 industry, worth $70 billion annually.

"As we continue to recover from these tough economic times, we are going to celebrate the abundant agriculture that this state has," he said.

Indeed, Troxler said, the computer age makes the State Fair's role even more vital.

"This role we play in educating about agriculture is even more important now, if you think about the number of people that have never seen a farm, have never really visited a farm and really don’t know where their food supply comes from," he said.

The fair is also about North Carolina's heritage, "the things that have built this state," Troxler said.

He urged people to take place in a tobacco-stringing display after the ceremony. Fairgoers can learn how to string tobacco and load it into the log burn, where it will cure during the fair. A tobacco-stringing contest takes place at 2 p.m.

Thursday was a preview day for the fair. Officials said 37,932 people attended. Despite drizzle and chilly temperatures, the preview day drew about 2,700 more people than the year before.

The fair runs until Oct. 25.