Be sure to add the N.C. Forest Service exhibit to your list of things to do while visiting the N.C. State Fair

The N.C. State Fair is just days away from opening and is sure to be a treat for all ages. Whether you’re here for the thrilling rides, educational exhibits or to indulge yourself with a wide variety of delectable food options, this year’s fair will feature many of its traditional favorites while also showcasing several new attractions.

Smokey Bear and a ranger with the N.C. Forest Service greet fairgoers at the N.C. State Fair.

The N.C. Forest Service has had an annual footprint at the N.C. State Fair since 1983 and will continue to interact and entertain fairgoers in 2022. With the debut of the newly installed Gate 7 entryway, fairgoers will not only have an additional entrance, but this new gate will provide easy and direct access to the NCFS exhibit. Located up the hill from Heritage Circle between Gates 6 and 7 and along the edge of the pond, visitors will be greeted by wildfire prevention icon Smokey Bear as he continues his efforts to teach all of us about protecting our forests and natural resources. The forest service exhibit will highlight the many careers in forestry to coincide with the division’s 2022 annual theme, “A Day in the Life”. Fairgoers will have the opportunity to interact with county rangers, assistant county rangers, pilots, mechanics, heavy equipment operators, North Carolina’s state forester and other Forest Service personnel, getting a glimpse of what it’s like to work with the N.C. Forest Service.

Fair visitors enjoy the interactive helicopter while a pilot with the N.C. Forest Service explains aviation’s role in wildfire suppression.

Along with this year’s annual theme, the forest service is bringing new elements to their exhibit for fairgoers in 2022. A new “campfire round” on the pond’s edge near the fire tower will feature a line-up of educational opportunities led by NCFS rangers. Educational programs such as “The Story of Smokey Bear,” “Living with Fire,” “Longleaf Pine and Good Fire,” “Tree Growth 101” and “New Forests for Wildlife” will be offered daily beginning Friday, Oct. 14. For a complete schedule of educational programs, visit and scroll down to the “New Attractions, Exhibits and Educational Opportunities” section.

Visitors explore the cab of of the Type 4 engine. The new Touch-a-Truck experience debuting at the N.C. Forest Service exhibit will feature a Type 4 engine.

The NCFS will also offer new touch-a-truck experiences where fairgoers can touch, take pictures with and learn about the heavy equipment from the professionals who operate them daily. The touch-a-truck experience will include a tractor plow unit, a flex-tract or go-tract, a Type 6 engine and a Type 4 engine. Touch-a-truck sessions will be available daily from 10 a.m. – noon and 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. beginning Friday, Oct. 14. These sessions are subject to change based on staff availability.

The Firewise building is ready to receive fairgoers as NCFS personnel will teach visitors about about the history of wildland firefighting, current techniques and strategies applied to fighting wildfires and how to minimize the risk of wildfire impacts at home.

Traditional attractions such as NCFS aircraft, the Firewise building and Big Smokey Bear are staples in the exhibit. Visitors will be able to learn more about the NCFS aviation program and its role in fighting wildfire while flying interactive Helicopter 5. Visitors can take a walk through Firewise to learn about the history of wildland firefighting, current techniques and strategies applied to fighting wildfires and how to minimize the risk of wildfire impacts at home. Big Smokey Bear is hard to miss, and if you don’t have your picture taken at the feet of Big Smokey Bear, did you really experience the N.C. State Fair?

Whether you plan to enjoy one of the new ranger-led educational programs, step into the shoes of an equipment operator with the touch-a-truck experience or get reacquainted with your favorite wildfire prevention bear, the N.C. Forest Service is certain to have something for every age group. Come spend time interacting with your forest service personnel who take pleasure in serving the people of North Carolina.

The N.C. State Fair runs from Oct. 13 through Oct. 23. Outside exhibits and the Firewise building in the Forest Service area are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Inside exhibits in the James Robert “Bob” Stanfield Natural Resources Center are open daily from 9 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. Note that exhibits don’t open until noon on Thursday, Oct. 13.

To learn more about this year’s N.C. State Fair and to plan your visit, go to

About Funhouse

On the blog I go by Fun House (AKA Heather Overton). At the Fair you'll find me checking out the blue ribbon winners or hanging out in Heritage Circle. It would be hard for me to pick a favorite part of the Fair, but I can tell you one thing I hate - leaving it on the last day. I can't wait for opening day!

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