Is the State Fair Really That Special?

By: Adam Perkinson

Every October, over a million North Carolinians gather at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh in celebration of everything great about our state. With rides, food, and rigged carnival games, there’s something for the entire family to enjoy. Personally, I love the food and *some* of the rides (anything that goes upside down isn’t my thing). When I went on the 20th, my favorite thing I ate was the garlic cheese curds from a small food truck just inside the gates. My tip is to use the Park and Ride system ($5 round trip) at Triangle Town Center instead of paying extra for parking and having to fight the traffic leaving. 

After thinking about what makes it special to me, I asked our student body on the Herald Instagram and Twitter, in addition to an anonymous poll I posted in the Wake Forest Community Information Facebook page. 

Immediately, there were a few responses of love for the Fair. Haven Bowers summed up what it means to her: “It perfectly packages every bit of North Carolina that is memorable and meaningful,” she wrote. Every October, over a million North Carolinians gather at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh in celebration of everything great about our state. With rides, food, and rigged carnival games, there’s something for the entire family to enjoy. Personally, I love the food and *some* of the rides (anything that goes upside down isn’t my thing). When I went on the 20th, my favorite thing I ate was the garlic cheese curds from a small food truck just inside the gates. My tip is to use the Park and Ride system ($5 round trip) at Triangle Town Center instead of paying extra for parking and having to fight the traffic leaving. 

“Food = killer, rides = questionably safe, experience = baller,” Bowers concluded.

Izzy Fowlkes, another HHS senior, agreed. “I’ve been going ever since I could walk, so it’s always been special to me. It also comes right before my birthday so it serves as a birthday party. I love it so much because it’s just fun in general. I can eat or ride whatever or milk a cow if I want. The Fair also supports local products.” 

I also created a poll on the Herald Twitter page and out of 31 votes, 75% of people said the fair was “Amazing!”. On Instagram, 85% of voters also said it was amazing.

However, one former Heritage student, Tristan Menezes, disagreed. 

“[It’s] horrible cause [sic] you have to pay for each ride you go on,” he argued, adding that where he lives in California, you pay $15 and you can ride any ride as many times as you want.

Senior Amanda Olson concurred, complaining about the unhealthy and dangerous conditions anything as big as the State Fair is suffers from. “It’s very dirty, there is food all over the place, the trash cans are overflowing with trash, and there are flies everywhere. The rides are unsafe and dirty as well. The crowd is too much and it’s weird people. Should be a safety hazard honestly.”

I can see why people don’t think the fair is fun, but almost all of the problems that were brought up to are easily fixable or avoidable. 

  • “The rides are unsafe and dirty!”
    • Aside from an accident in 2013 (which was due to operator error and not any failure of the ride itself), there hasn’t been an accident since 1998. Also, almost everything you touch is dirty, especially at school, but you still see people laying their heads down on desks, etc.
  • “The crowds are horrible”
    • They are if you go on the weekend. If you wait one or two days longer and go after school on Monday, the crowds are no worse than a high school football game comparatively. 
    • In addition, complaining about the crowds at the *State* Fair doesn’t make sense. 
  • “The food is nasty”
    • If you’re arguing that the food is nasty, your argument is invalid. How can you say garlic cheese curds are nasty and expect to be taken seriously?
  • “It’s too expensive”
    • I will admit, it can be pretty expensive, if you don’t control yourself. However, a few years back they introduced wristbands for rides for $35 ($25 if you buy them online). They take the place of tickets and let you ride any ride as many times as you want. Also, admission is $10, the Park and Ride is $5 round-trip, and, if you budget yourself $25 for food, that’s only $75 at the most. 

The NC State Fair is special to me, even if it has its problems. I grew up going to the Fair and aside from a few years here and there, I’ve gone to it every year since I was a toddler. The food is, in fact, “baller,” the rides are actually pretty safe, and the crowds really aren’t that bad. If anything, the crowds are just as much a part of the experience as everything else. Going to the State Fair is an integral part of being a North Carolinian, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

 

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