Raleigh, NC — It’s no secret that, in North Carolina, we’re famous for our state fair. Armed with photographer Brooke Meyer, we set out to the 2015 NC State Fair to capture the spirit of the rides, the games, the animals, the exhibits and, of course, the fried food.
The North Carolina State Fair
The Village of Yesteryear. The Flower & Garden Show. The pig races. The lit-up, glowing midway. The bright, colorful signs listing an overwhelming number of food choices. Photographer Brooke Meyer captured the essence of the fair with a series of striking photos.
See his entire collection of photos from the 2015 NC State Fair.
Check out this neat timeline of the fair’s history from 1850-1960.
- 1853 – State Agricultural Society holds the first fair. It was four days long with 4,000 people.
- 1869 – Fair re-opens after the Civil War and Reconstruction period.
- 1884 – Electricity is used at the fair for the first time.
- 1891 – The first Midway ride is constructed on the fairgrounds (a site across from NCSU).
- 1905 – Theodore Roosevelt speaks to fairgoers.
- 1928 – Fair moves to its present site. Educational buildings are built on the grounds.
- 1938 – The fair features 40 shows and rides and is no longer just a “carnival.”
- 1942 – Fair closes due to World War II.
- 1946 – Fair re-opens.
- 1950 – The Village of Yesteryear opens.
- 1952 – State Fair Livestock Pavilion (later named the Dorton Arena) is built.
- 1953 – Fair hosts a Centennial Celebration.
- 1960 – Adult admission is $.75.
This year, the fair had record attendance for its first two days, with 50,327 fair-goers on Thursday, October 15 and 90,954 on Friday, October 16.
140,886 people attended the fair on Saturday, October 24, its busiest day. The total attendance at the fair this year was 1,019,738 people.
Fry Me Over the Moon
I remember when funnel cake was the staple snack of the fair – but now, fried food has been taken to a whole new level. I’m quite fond of fried Oreos and fried cookie dough, but, this year, I tried a new invention called “Fry Me Over the Moon.” It’s a Moon Pie, three Oreos, a Hostess Cupcake and a Reese’s Cup put together, deep fried and served with a cream cheese frosting.
Also new this year was sour ice cream, coconut shrimp, corn in a cup, deep friend BBQ balls, seasoned chickpea fries, gourmet variations on your classic caramel and candy apples and much, much more.
Cary at the Fair
Cary was well-represented at the fair this year.
Mellissa Ubbens, a Cary resident, won first place and $250 for her Sweet Potato Pie Doughnuts in the 52 Ways to Love Sweet Potatoes Contest. And, though Hunter Randolph lives in Sanford, he won a blue ribbon for his photo of a red-shouldered hawk he saw on a fence in Cary.
Did you know that the very first food booths popped up at the fair in the early 1900’s? Many of these were fundraisers for organizations and churches, and one of the first was our own Cary United Methodist Church, who sold their very first ham biscuit in 1916.
This year, they were celebrating 100 years at the fair.
Share Your Fair Memories
What memories do you have from the fair? Share them in our comments section below.
Story by Jessica Patrick. Photos by Brooke Meyer.