The folks over at the State Library of North Carolina are getting into the State Fair spirit with a new online exhibit, “Blue Ribbon Memories: Your History of the N.C. State Fair.”
According to a news release, the exhibit is intended as a celebration of the fair as a venue “not only for showcasing agricultural achievements, but also for wild rides, races, games and, of course, a fantastic variety of fried foods.”
The site includes a timeline that allows visitors to browse almost all the premium books from past fairs. These books describe the various competitions and prizes. “The stories tell a lot about North Carolina’s history, from the spread of electricity to the decline of tobacco farming,” the release says.
The site also includes historic newspaper articles, photographs, films, memorabilia, and other resources about the State Fair, many of which were contributed by generous partners.
Other features include stories submitted by fairgoers. For instance, there’s a story about Mrs. Mary Brigman, a biscuit maker at the Cary United Methodist Church restaurant, getting a surprise visit — and a cake — from Agriculture Commissioner Jim Graham on her 90th birthday.
Another visitor told of riding on her grandfather’s shoulders throughout the fairgrounds as a child in the early 1960s. “I do not recall my feet ever touching the ground the entire time that we were there!” she wrote.
You can help record the fair’s history by submitting your personal stories or photographs. “Describe the first time you took a child to the fair, the best (or worst) fried foods you’ve ever eaten there, favorite memory, or just your first memory of the fair,” said Lisa Gregory, digital projects liaison with the State Library. Gregory says the memories don’t have to be “fancy” – just true to get everyone in the mood for sights, sounds and scents that October will bring. “We hope that others will enjoy these memories — and all of the fair’s history — all year round, now and in the future.”
We do, too, Lisa.