North Carolina

On our way to the North Carolina State Fair (touted by my southern Virginian family as the best in the country) we stopped to drive through Duke so Alan could see the campus. I had come down to look at it when I was in high school, but had forgotten just how impressive a campus it is. After Duke, we popped over to UNC Chapel Hill and drove around the campus there for a few minutes before stopping for lunch at the Top of the Hill. I tried a mushroom grit cake with shrimp and Alan got a barbecue pulled pork sandwich with beer cheese sauce. Both were tasty but not mind blowing.

Next was the state fair! It was $10 to park and $9 a person for entry which we thought was pretty reasonable for such a huge fair. Of course, they get you with all the alluring purchases (read: so many carnival games) inside. We checked out the Village of Yesteryear before popping into a Bread Making Show, which was more of a comedy show for the brief time we were there. I won a free cupcake by guessing correctly that 200,000 people are born a day (woohoo! I never win things!).

::ice cream machines made out of some heavy duty machinery::
::ice cream machines made out of some heavy duty machinery::

After that we headed over to see a pig race! Oh my god, so adorable. These little piglets, goats, ducks, and Vietnamese potbelly piggies took turns racing around a little track while a very packed crowd cheered them on.

::pig racing::
::pig racing::

We played a ton of games ourselves. Like, we totally blew the budget and frustrated ourselves trying to win a giant teddy bear, then a medium sized teddy bear and eventually anything, dear god just give us a stupid toy! (See, the cupcake was a fluke). We were surprised by how aggressive the game operators were. And maybe that’s part of what kept us going… all the “don’t you want to win something for the pretty lady?”’s took their toll on Alan’s confidence I guess.

They had just about anything you could ever desire deep fried – the usual twinkies, oreos etc, but for the more aggressive, you could opt for a deep fried uncrustable PB&J sandwich, a deep fried cinnamon roll, or even a deep fried slice of pecan pie or cheesecake. Not your style? How about a deep fried PICKLE? A burger served on a Krispy Kreme Donut? No? Anyone? We opted for a classic, and shared a fried dough. We struggled to finish it, and I was amused that Alan got yelled at by a random woman for throwing away some fried dough.

Later on, I was very excited to learn how to milk a cow for the first time, though a bit embarrassed that my hands were too cold and her poor nipple – err udder – shriveled up upon touch. Sorry girl. I also learned that the black and white cows, like the ones in the Chick-Fil-A ads are dairy cows, not beef cows.

There was an impressive agricultural display, including a 5 lb potato, 241 lb watermelon, and the cutest display of vegetables decorated like animals by the North Carolinan children. In addition, there was a vegetable petting zoo. While these things are probably designed to appeal to the under ten crowd, I was like a kid at, well, this place.

My favorite part might have been the bunny room. Granted they’re all in cages and you’re not allowed to touch, but they had a massive room of rabbits of every breed imaginable on display. Oh the cuteness overload. I hadn’t the faintest idea there were so many kinds of bunnies. Especially the English Angouras (?). they looked like something out of a horror movie, like a Frankenbunny that’s part-bunny, part-IT, with eyes like burning embers.

All in all – really fun. So glad we stopped to check it out. who doesn’t feel like a kid again at a fair?

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