State Fair in the Air
In case y’all haven’t noticed, it’s state fair time across the South! We’ve already written about the State Fair of Texas – how could we resist its tendency to deep fry everything? – but also starting this week are the Mississippi State Fair and Arkansas State Fair. And South Carolina’s State Fair kicks off October 13, North Carolina‘s October 14 and Louisiana’s October 21. State fairs are a great way to get back in touch with your state’s roots and its agricultural side.
In North Carolina, a 10-day competition awards the individual or group who best exemplifies the state’s musical heritage. And agricultural exhibits display food products from across the state and antique farm machinery. Louisiana’s fair dates to 1906 and features over 60 rides, an antique tractor pull, several livestock competitions and specialties like cookie dough, chicken and shrimp on a stick. In Arkansas, you’ll find competitions for needlework, baked goods, horticulture, crafts and food preservation, plus amateur and commercial wine competitions. This fair’s livestock department includes showings of cattle, swine, poultry, sheep, goats, rabbits and lambs.
Mississippi’s got an antique and classic car show, beard growing contest, biscuit making booth and a bluegrass and gospel show. In South Carolina, Southern harmonizers the Avett Brothers will play the Pepsi Grandstand Stage, and other entertainment includes the Swifty Swine Racing Pigs and a 10-foot stiltwalker. And following in the footsteps of Texas, South Carolina introduces fair foods fried pickles, fried sauerkraut balls, the donut burger and fried butter this year. The largest pumpkin and watermelon in the state will also be crowned, and the Quilters of South Carolina make a special appearance October 20.
State fairs are also known for their cooking contests, and taking home a blue ribbon is no small feat. North Carolina’s got competitions for Southern fried recipes, sweet potatoes, BBQ, apples, pork, pecans and of course pies. Arkansas’s got a Pillsbury, refrigerated pie baking contest, pumpkin pie contest, chili cookoff, and ice cream making contest. And Texas’s competitions run the gamut from all-American casseroles to Spam and cobbler.
Editor’s Note: After some comments from readers about the Georgia State Fair, we want to explain why we didn’t include it. The official state fair changed its date from October to April/May last year, so fair goers now have to wait for spring to attend this 154-year-old event. But the Georgia National Fair started yesterday and runs through the 17th. There, you’ll find flower shows, competitions for quilting, food preservation, soap carving and livestock, plus the Georgia National Schoolhouse.