State Fair fun: Check out these not-to-miss events

By Lily Pope
Times-News correspondent

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The State Fair SkyGazer is new to this year's fair and is $7 per person. [N.C. State Fair

   RALEIGH — The North Carolina State Fair may conjure up images of fried food and roller coasters, but what about milking a cow and growing bonsai trees?
Here is a list of not-to-miss, not-so-mainstream things to do at the fair:
The Flower and Garden Show — See beautiful gardens grown by local organizations, a mum tower, vote on your favorite bonsai tree or study the many funny and elaborate scarecrows. Head inside to view various different kinds of flowers, natural crafts, terrariums, potted plants, herbs and much more. Over the course of the fair, more than 30 demonstrations are held at the Flower and Garden Show, such as growing your own bonsai, how to care for roses, or live fruit carving.
After eating an ear of pumpkin spice corn, or a stick of deep-fried butter, visit Neomonde for some more conventional options, such as homemade pastries and wood-fired pizzas. They also offer cooking demonstrations where visitors can watch bread or different kinds of treats being made.
For another traditional fair food alternative, head over to the Scott Building and pick up a bag of spun honey. This treat mimics cotton candy’s texture, but is made entirely out of honey.
Next is the Grist Mill — Overlooking the water, you can enjoy free hush puppy samples and pick up some mix to make at home while you tour the mill.
If you want a more in-depth tour of the fair, on the website you can print out a scavenger hunt that will takes you to many places off the beaten path.
Head over to the Expo Center for a change of entertainment — Milking a cow with help from the N.C. State University Animal Science Club. Because, where else would you milk a cow besides the fair? Included in the $5 fee to milk the cow, you get a carton of chocolate milk, too.
While you’re still in the Expo Center, also check out the largest pumpkin and watermelon in North Carolina. This year’s largest pumpkin broke the current record, weighing in at a whopping 1,551.5 pounds.
Before you leave the Expo Center, don’t forget to stop by the decorated pumpkins and vegetables table. With narwhal sweet potatoes and (literally) granny apples, this attraction promises lots of laughs and is not to be missed.
Last but not least, a ride on the State Fair SkyGazer while watching the fireworks show, which is every night at 9:45 p.m. Cost is $7 per person.
The fair has something for everyone, whether it’s fun, food or agriculture, this event will provide a day full of entertainment for all ages.
The N.C. State Fair is today through Oct. 27 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds, 1025 Blue Ridge Rd., Raleigh. Tickets are $13 for adults; $8 for military adults 13 to 64 years old; $7 for children 6 to 12 years old; free for children 5 and under and free for senior citizens 65 years old and up and can be purchased at the gate or at ncstatefair.org/.

Lily Pope is a junior home-schooler and a Teens & 20s writer.

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