Stilt walkers will bring unexpected fun, including a high-five

One of the new attractions at this year’s N.C. State Fair may not be something you put on your to-do list at the fair, but it could certainly bring you a few surprise moments of enjoyment.

“We like to call it walking visual art,” said Star Child, one of the stilt walkers you’ll see when Stilt Circus makes its first appearance at the fair this year.

She and Richard Dalton will be roaming the fairgrounds in some spectacular costumes, so running in to them will likely be an unexpected but welcomed encounter. Of course, you’ll have to look up to take them all in.

The costumes are quite elaborate with bright colors, various layers and intricate details. Child spends the off season making new costumes, and this year she had 18 new ones ready. In total, Stilt Circus now has about 250 costumes for its 64 performers who can be found at various other events throughout the country.

The duo at this year’s N.C. State Fair will be wearing different costumes each day. Along with different costumes comes different props and different characters or personas to help them truly embody the theme of their costumes.

“I love to make people happy,” Child said when asked what she enjoys about her work. “It opens up a child’s imagination – showing people that if you can dream it you can do it.”

Child is based in Los Angeles and took her first step on stilts 20 years ago at the Burning Man event in Nevada. She never expected to make a living out of it, but she kept getting work performing on stilts, and in 2006 she started Stilt Circus.

Child and Dalton have lots of experience at fairs, and they said they love taking some down time to really enjoy each when they’re not performing too.

“Each one is so different,” Child said. “So we’re really looking forward to seeing a new one.”

Dalton said he’ll be seeking out a traditional turkey leg or BBQ. (I think we North Carolinians can definitely help him with the barbecue.) Child tries to stick to the veggies, and she seeks out options most people may not think of at a fair – Greek salads, for example, or perhaps a peach cobbler or apple pie.

Of course, you’ll want to take a photo with Stilt Circus when you see them, and they’re happy to chat with you and interact with children too. Getting a selfie with the stilt walkers is even part of the State Fair Selfie Challenge and Deep Fried Bingo. Child said it’s the first time they’ve been part of a challenge where an event encourages people to seek them out. So she expects that to add to the fun.

Finally, they will be expecting a high-five from you when you come up to say hello. They’d be happy to make the tallest person in your group jump up for the high-five or even crouch all the way down to high-five the kiddos. Just let that sink in – a stilt walker high-fiving your toddler. 

About Tractor Pull

Tractor Pull is the fair-themed alias for Brandon Herring, a public information officer in the Public Affairs Division of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He's no stranger to the fair or the farm. A North Carolina native, he grew up helping on the family farm just east of Lumberton. After more than 15 years in TV news, he's sharing news of a different kind these days. He loves the rides on the fair's midway, but also loves that the fair has so many other things to see and do that are grounded in agriculture. His favorite fair food is a funnel cake with just powdered sugar - a classic!

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