I love fairs. When we were raising our three young boys in Minnesota, we could annually be found at the Winona County Fair in Rushford, and made it just about every year to the massive, historic MN State Fair in St. Paul, dubbed “The Great Minnesota Get-Together” for the way it draws people from seemingly every walk of life…and all political persuasions.
Before I moved to North Carolina this summer, I had no idea NC had not one, but TWO state fairs: the NC State Fair in Raleigh, founded in 1853, and the much younger NC Mountain State Fair, held at the Western NC Agricultural Center in Fletcher, south of Asheville.
The Fair in Raleigh boasts the US’s largest state-fair midway and headlining entertainers like most state fairs. The Mountain State Fair retains a much more agricultural emphasis, reflecting the region’s economy, topography, and more rural sociology.
In this way, it was a familiar setting to me: 4H kids tending their livestock in the barns and leading them to and from the shows; entire families, sometimes four generations, helping and cheering them and taking pictures; agricultural, domestic arts, beekeeping, photography, livestock and many other competitions—and many exhibits, including a live calf-birthing tent, daily!
All of this occurs right in the homestretch of the Election campaign, and as you’d expect, this is reflected in the political parties’ booths in the Davis Events Center and the wide variety of T-shirts, hats, and other regalia people wear (yikes!).
Oh, and chocolate-dipped cheesecake. On a stick.
Not to mention deep-fried pineapple on a stick, deep-fried pork chop on a stick, deep-fried Milky Way bar on a stick, deep-fried PBJ on stick, and deep-fried pickle on a stick.
For my Second Breakfast on my first break from the booth where I was volunteering, my co-volunteer Jeff told me about the booth on the other side of the cubicle, behind us, where I could get a great apple dumpling and coffee. I took his advice.
For my lunch break, I had really good bean burrito with more than the usual amount of veggies.
Neither deep-fried, nor on a stick.
I don’t like living apart from my family much, but I LOVE delving into local culture here in the mountains of Western NC.