Annual North Carolina state fair invades Raleigh

The state fair is a NC tradition that dates back to 1853 (www.ncstatefair.org)

The state fair is a NC tradition that dates back to 1853 (www.ncstatefair.org)

The North Carolina State Fair is one of the most popular events in the state. It’s a 10-day event (Oct. 17-26, 2003), and has been held in Raleigh every October since 1853. This year the fair brought in 764,747 people, the most since 2000 when the 800,000 mark was reached.
Tickets were $6 for people over 13, $2 for kids 6-12 and free for those under six or over 65. Ride tickets were 75 cents each, or 40 tickets for $30. I was hoping it was bracelet night (buy a bracelet and go on as many rides as desired), but no such luck. The rides were open from 10 a.m. until midnight.
I rode three rides (each ride required 3-6 tickets). The coolest one was like a hang glider. You had to lie down on your stomach; it felt as if I was Superman hovering over the horizon. It hurt my neck, but was worth it.
Other rides included the Tilt-A-Whirl, swings that you go around in circles and bumper boats. The biggest attraction was a rollercoaster about 100 feet high at its peak, but it was closed for maintenance.
The usual fair food was there. Elephant ears, caramel apples, Italian sausage – pretty much anything you can fry and clog your arteries with. Prices of the items made me feel as if I were at a football game. Hot dogs were over $3 and bottled water was $2.50. I did indulge in a mint chocolate chip milkshake, made by North Carolina State’s Food Science Department. It was $4 for a large (20 oz.).
Like a fool, I played three carny games. I hit the back of the rim on the free throw challenge, only broke 2 beer bottles (you need to break three in three chances to win) and my ball bounced out of the blue bucket in the “make this ball into the blue bucket and you win” game. Blast those deceptively bouncy balls!
If you were fortunate enough to win a game you’d come home with anything from a helium balloon to a six-foot stuffed animal.
I blew too much money (about $40 overall) and went home empty-handed, kind of. It was fun to act like a 12-year- old for a night, but once you’ve been there is no reason to go again.