The N.C. State Fair is 100 acres of fun activities, food, exhibits, shows and displays, which may seem daunting for anyone with mobility issues, but it doesn’t have to deter plans for a visit.
The fair offers plenty of options for individuals with accessibility needs, from getting to and from the fair, to moving around the fairgrounds and enjoying the diverse exhibits and entertainment. Nearly all of the grounds are paved, making it easier to move around. Start making your plans to attend the 2016 N.C. State Fair, Thursday, Oct. 13, through Sunday, Oct. 23.
Following is a partial list of activities suitable for everyone:
• Homegrown Music Fest
o Spread across three stages — Dorton Arena, Kitchen Craft Waterfall Stage and the Heritage Circle Bluegrass Stage — fairgoers can enjoy 11 days of local music offered through the Homegrown Music Fest. All concerts are free. Check the schedule for daily show times.
o Dorton Arena offers ramps on both the north and south sides that give visitors access to the floor of the arena to enjoy the shows. Visitors who intend to see a concert in Dorton Arena must pick up tickets at the Glass Ticket Booth on the Waterfall side of the arena on the day of the respective show. Ushers will direct visitors with accessibility needs to the floor of the arena for the show.
o The outdoor Kitchen Craft Waterfall and Heritage Circle Bluegrass stages are open spaces for ease of access.
• Grandstand shows
o There is handicap seating available at the Rand Grandstand. The King Action Sports Stunt Show is free to all visitors. Tickets to the Tractor Pull and Demo Derby are $10. Visitor can visit the State Fair website for Grandstand show times and to purchase tickets.
• Folk Festival
o The Folk Festival is held daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Dorton Arena, featuring dance and musical performances. (The lone exception is Oct. 18, when the festival starts at 4 p.m.) Handicap ramps and seating are available in the arena. Ushers will direct fairgoers with accessibility needs to the floor of the arena for the show.
• Other entertainment
o Other entertainment available throughout the fairgrounds includes roving acts Rock-it the Robot, Roberto the Magnificent and the Dream City Unicorns. Stationary entertainment includes the Wolves of the World show (behind the Kerr Scott Building), The Red Trouser Show (near Gate 1) and the International All-Star Circus (between Gates 9 and 10). Click here to see more of the free entertainment available at this year’s fair.
• For many people, a trip to the N.C. State Fair likely involves food, and there are plenty of options whether you’re looking for fair food classics like cotton candy and sweet corn, or for the latest deep-fried concoction.
• Many of the Great American Midway games are accessible for all fairgoers. Individuals with accessibility needs will be able to play games such as the Basketball Toss, Ring Toss, Baseball Toss and Whack-a-mole.
• State Fair Ark
o The Exposition Center is home to more than 60 animals on display at the State Fair Ark, showcasing the state’s diverse livestock breeds. You will also find the largest watermelons and pumpkins on display here, along with other horticultural crops.
• Flower & Garden Show
o For a little slower pace, check out the gardens and flowers in the Flower and Garden Show exhibit. There will also be numerous gardening demonstrations presented at the exhibit.
• Art & Photography in the Scott Building
o Student, amateur and professional art is on display in the Scott Building, which conforms to ADA standards.
• Commercial and Education Building
o The decorated cake display is a highlight to many visitors to the State Fair. Mirrored cases allow better viewing for visitors coming through the building.
• Wildlife Resources Commission Exhibit
o The Wildlife Resources Commission exhibit is an activity everyone can enjoy, whether you want to practice your aim at the Pellet Gun Range and learn about firearm safety, or wander along the Wildlife trail to get a close look at common raptors.
• Village of Yesteryear
o The Village of Yesteryear allows fairgoers to travel back in time and see more than 75 artists and crafters creating, displaying and selling traditional handmade crafts ranging from wooden carvings to stuffed toys. A helpful tip is to plan to visit indoor exhibits or displays earlier in the day or after 7 p.m. when it tends to be less crowded.
Check out http://www.ncstatefair.org/2016/Visitor/Accessibility.htm for more information.