My Day at the 2021 NC State Fair


After not going for two years, I attended the 2021 State Fair on October 17, 2021. I had high hopes for the Fair as I do every year. 

The Fair slightly held up to those expectations.

I always have a routine when I attend the Fair. I only go on three rides: the Skylift, Ferris Wheel, and Alien Invasion. For the rest of my time, I eat—a candy apple, turkey leg, funnel cake, fried mushrooms, and drink lemonade.

An Afternoon at the Fair

Waiting in Line



The line to get into the State Fair at Gate 8. The Fair operators separated the crowd into two lines: those who bought tickets online and those who did not. (Photo courtesy of Dayna Wilkerson)

My father, mother, sister, and I arrived at the Fair around 11:45 am. The line for the prepaid tickets was longer than the line that did not, which I did not expect. 

We had our tickets scanned and went through metal detectors, and since my mom was carrying a clear bag according to the clear bag policy, her bag wasn’t searched. 

When you enter Gate 8, there’s not a lot of vendors near the Gate, but as you go deeper into the Fair, you hit the main attractions.

Overcooked Turkey Leg

The first thing I did was find McBride’s Concessions, where I always get my turkey leg. There are two McBride’s Concession stands around the Fair. (Photo courtesy of Dayna Wilkerson)

The turkey leg tasted different this year; not a pleasant difference. The turkey leg is usually tender and juicy, but it was too burnt and barky to enjoy this year. 

The turkey leg is one of the foods I enjoy the most and look forward to, so that was a disappointing start to the Fair.

Undercooked Funnel Cake 


The stand where I get my funnel cake. It isn’t as notable and flashy as other vendors, but they usually serve delicious funnel cake. (Photo courtesy of Dayna Wilkerson)

After Oak City Seafood, we sought out our funnel cake stand. The funnel cake is usually baked to perfection and has a precise amount of cinnamon sugar over it.

This year, the funnel cake was a bit undercooked, and there wasn’t enough cinnamon sugar even though I asked them to put more on. 

It was disheartening to taste the foods I only get once a year that taste lackluster. 

Starting a New Tradition

The caricature drawn of me at the 2021 State Fair. A caricature in color is $25, a caricature in black and white is $15. (Photo courtesy of Dayna Wilkerson)

Before I got back to eating more food, I had a colored caricature of myself drawn. It can be a bit pricey, but I fell in love with my previous caricature and had to get another.

It took me a few hours to like this caricature, though. It’s a bit different from the one I’ve been staring at for two years by another artist. Still, ultimately it’s a cute drawing I’ll cherish forever. 

Delicious Candy Apples

Some of the candy apples on sale at Miss Debbie’s Specialty Apples stand. The stand is located in the commercial building near Gate 12. (Photo courtesy of Dayna Wilkerson)

We walked around aimlessly for a few minutes until we reached the education and commercial buildings. We stop there every year to get Miss Debbie’s Specialty Apples.

I always get a new apple each year. The flavors range from Creme Brulee to Cotton Candy. I love coffee, so I got the Dark Chocolate Caramel Macchiato. 

The apple was delicious. I loved the dash of caffeine I got in each bite and how the toppings and apple complemented each other. 

Last Stop

The ticket for the NC State Fair Skylift. From one side of the Fair to another is $6, and a round trip ticket is $9. (Photo courtesy of Dayna Wilkerson)

The last stop of the Fair this year is the Skylift. I started going on the Skylift in 2019, and while I’m afraid of heights, I love it. It’s very peaceful and pleasant to sit up there and watch the joy of the Fair below you.

Despite being disappointed in some areas, the Fair was an enjoyable experience, and I missed it so much last year; I recommend going to the Fair if you feel safe enough. 

Since there was no mask mandate, vaccination policy, or negative test requirement, it is a risk for COVID-19. But, if you go at the right time where there are not that many people, you aren’t very close to others long enough to catch the virus.

The Fair will be from October 14-24, 2021, at the State Fairgrounds on 4285 Trinity Road in Raleigh. 


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