Hyping the fair, part 1: Choosing a theme

We do a number of interviews before the State Fair begins, and a frequent question is “How did you choose the theme?” If I had taken more — um, I mean any — marketing classes in college, I would be able to give some pithy answer about analyzing market research to find exactly the right words and phrases that would resonate with the public and persuade them to drop everything and come to the fair. That’s all well and good, but market research doesn’t always meet with success. Can you say “New Coke“?

So at State Fair Theme HQ, we usually get together, consume lots of caffeine, and toss out a bunch of ideas. Then our graphic designers play around with some of the phrases and create logo designs for us to ponder. Some of them are hilarious, others downright bizarre. We whittle down the ideas to a few potential keepers, then we keep tossing them on the wall until something sticks (or we run out of caffeine).

Several past themes have revolved around fun (“Blue Ribbon Fun,” “Farm Fresh Fun,” “Seriously Twisted Fun”). This year we took a slightly different direction with “Take Time for a Great Time.” In ad-speak, it’s a call to action that evokes positive emotion. But mostly it just sounds good.

Regardless of our theme, we always want the underlying message to be that the State Fair is a great event worth going to. We hope you agree. And of course, we hope you’ll take time for a great time by visiting the 2008 State Fair.

About Flying Bob

Most folks know me as Brian Long, but when it comes to the State Fair blog, I'm Flying Bob. Why Flying Bob? It's one of my favorite carnival rides. Plus, once the fair kicks off, I feel like I'm flying in circles at high speed. (All that's missing is a ride attendant shouting, "Do you wanna go fasterrrrr!") Here at the State Fair Press Office, it's our job to give you as much information about this massive event as possible. That's one of the reasons I enjoy contributing to this blog. I hope you'll enjoy reading it.


  1. haha! I think our meetings involve just as much sugar (aka Krispy Kreme donuts) as caffeine! But they are always fun and our designers always make it hard on us to choose just one design. They’re the best!

  2. Lynne Hawley NC

    I love the theme, I think y’all are doing a wonderful job! And I thank you for doing such a wonderful job and bringing us the NC State Fair that has been the best fair ever, I’ve been going since I was 5 and now I am 33 and I love it just as much now as I did when I was a kid! The fair is awesome so thank you!

  3. I think the theme has been better in previous years. But one thing I really really love is that you have included an image of the wonderful and historic Dorton Arena. That is one of Raleigh’s best modern structures.

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