Think you’ve seen one fair, you’ve seen them all?

Wrong. Fairs are not like fireworks — but the North Carolina State Fair has those, too. Here’s six reasons why you should visit the Raleigh fairgrounds this year:


1. The State Fair Flyer.

There’s no way to be graceful getting in and out of this glorified ski lift, and there’s a separate admission on top of ride tickets ($5 one-way). HOWEVER, taking it from Gate 1 or Gate 11 all the way across the grounds is a great way to get to the more low-key (and shaded) farm and forestry exhibits, while building hype for the thrills you’ll get on the midway once the sun goes down. Want to see a full list of rides? It’s here.


2. The Frozen Apple Cider.

Sure, there’s waffle cones filled with mac and cheese, topped with barbecue, coleslaw and barbecue sauce. But if you want to feel less disgusting, go for this simple and ridiculously refreshing treat, made with NC apples. It’ll become the reason you’ll make a beeline for the Village of Yesteryear each year. Rather marvel at the fried wonders of the modern world? Check them out here.


3. Entertainment Around Every Corner.

From stilt-walkers costumed as ladybugs, from the Circle C Racing Pigs to a laser light show over a pond, there’s free things to see happening all day, every day. See the list here. 

Also, you might be expecting a music lineup consisting only of bluegrass and gospel, but the fair continues to step up its game. We bet the reaction to Rhett and Link was interesting, but we can’t wait to see unsuspecting fairgoers be subjected to the screams of North Carolina metal band Between the Buried and Me. See a full schedule of acts here.


4. Stuff For Your Inner Grandma.

Watch artists in primitive dress hand-carve furniture, weave rugs on a loom, cut silhouettes on the fly, forge iron, make candles, and do other stuff that’s now made by robots. And for those of you who think plant lady is the new cat lady, there’s a whole separate flower and garden show for you. See more here.


5. A Taste of the Herd Life.

Remind your kids how good they have it by letting them take a shot at milking a cow who may or may not be grumpy. There’s a plethora of farm animals, farm equipment, and exhibits dedicated to the agricultural past and present.


6. The View from the Ferris Wheel.

Need we say more?


The Sway Team loves the fair — and the fair’s website, with all the info and maps you could ever want. Find it here.


Here’s a quick look at prices:


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