If you are bringing your elementary and preschool age children to the fair then be sure to swing by the Field of Dreams exhibit sponsored by the North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. Here you will find the State Fair farm, featuring 30-plus commodities that are grown in North Carolina.
At the exhibit, young fairgoers can “harvest” crops, sell them at the produce shed and use the money to purchase a bag of items at the Field of Dreams store.
Also at the exhibit is a school house where children can participate in an agricultural-themed coloring contest where the winner will receive a backpack. The competition is divided into three age categories and winners are chosen three times daily. The winners of the NC Farm to School Calendar Art Competition are also on display in the Field of Dream’s schoolhouse.
Carl Tart has been the exhibit superintendent for Field of Dreams for more than 14 years. He thinks that having an exhibit that teaches children where their food comes from is as relevant as ever.
“As our state becomes more urban, there are many children and adults that have no firsthand knowledge of farming,” Tart said. “We now get just as many adults that might not be aware that potatoes and peanuts are grown underground. Or what other crops look like in the ground before they make it to the grocery store shelves. We want to use this exhibit to show children that before food makes it to the grocery store, it starts in a farmer’s field.”
In addition to harvesting crops, young fairgoers can take a ride on a small electric tractor, visit with the bunnies and a turkey, and smile for their parents in the many photo-op worthy areas of this exhibit.
This year the exhibit is being sponsored by North Carolina Electric Cooperatives, which melds nicely with the mission of the Field of Dreams exhibit to educate youth on North Carolina agriculture. “Our electric cooperatives serve rural communities,” said Louis Duke, NC Electric Cooperatives spokesperson, “We are really excited to be a part of an exhibit that shows where food comes from and how our rural communities produce that food.” Duke is also excited that the young farmers will take home a goodie bag of North Carolina products from “selling” their harvest. “The exhibit focuses not only on commodities in the field, but North Carolina products produced from those commodities.”
The North Carolina’s electric cooperatives are building a brighter future for 2.5 million North Carolinians. Beyond providing electricity, each of the 26 not-for-profit cooperatives is investing in their communities and delivering new energy solutions to improve quality of life for co-op members in 93 of North Carolina’s 100 counties.
The Field of Dreams exhibit is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., except on Thursday, Oct. 14 when the exhibit opens at noon, and is free with fair admission.