RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – On Thursday’s opening day of the North Carolina State Fair, thousands of people packed into the grounds.
Last year on opening day about 46,000 people poured into the fair grounds.
The biggest opening day on record was in 2010 with more than 47,000.
It’s such a big celebration for North Carolina because agriculture is such a key industry in the state, directly and indirectly employing 660,000 people.
For local vendors, it’s the big time.
“I don’t know it’s like hitting the big time or something. I feel like now it’s justified now that we’re an actual company now and we’re at the state fair. I really four years ago wouldn’t dream we would be here,” said Lorraine Holloway, owner of Brittle Bits by Rain.
With so many people coming and going over the next ten days, law enforcement will be doing its best to keep everyone safe.
Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said if anyone isn’t supposed to be there, they’ll find them.
The Probation and Parole Department has been working to get in touch with any offenders that aren’t allowed to be there, reminding them not to come.
Officers will also have a three to five mile perimeter set up around the fair grounds and will be monitoring for anyone with tracking devices like an ankle bracelet.
“If one of the violators come in that perimeter, it alerts them, they alert us, we get a picture of that person, we pass it on to our gates and we try to make sure that person does not enter,” said Harrison.
All together there will close to ten different agencies working the fair.
Harrison said they’ll have anywhere from 130-150 officers patrolling during the week and 150-180 during the weekends.
Harrison is also urging parents to take a picture of your kids the day you go to the fair, so in case you get separated police will know what they look like, and what they were wearing.
As far as fun goes, there will be 80 bands performing here over the next ten days spread out across the fair grounds.
There are food competitions with people going against each other to see who can whip up the best pound cake, grits, or spam dish. And there are hundreds of food vendors from all over the place serving things like deep fried barbecue on a stick.
There are 96 rides and five of them are new this year, including the super cyclone roller coaster and the fiesta balloon. Some safety tips for those, if you have long hair, keep it pulled back so it doesn’t get caught on anything. The same tip applies for any loose clothing.
You can also download the State Fair app, and if you’re here for the food, you can follow the Deepfried blog.