NC State Fair and Cooke St Carnival: Fall Fun for All!

October is a favorite time of the year for many in North Carolina – besides the natural beauty of cooler weather and fantastically colored leaves, October marks the return of the annual NC State Fair and Cooke Street Carnival, two fun-filled events.

NC State Fair 2014

NC State Fair

The Annual NC State Fair returns Oct 16 – 26 this year, with a plethora of activities in addition to the usual exhibits of animals, oddly-shaped vegetables, yummy baked goods, and farm equipment. Dorton Arena concert tickets are already on sale – featuring artists such as Vanilla Ice, Tamela Mann, Clay Walker, Newsboys, Trace Adkins, and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, among others.

There are also full line-ups of bands on the Waterfall stage and Bluegrass stage. This year is the ‘Year of the Horse’ and multiple performances are scheduled such as horsemanship events, vaulting, parade of breeds, and five minute lessons for novices. Tickets are available online or at the gate. And of course there will be yummy treats again this year – a new foods map is online and features such things as the Twinx (Twix bar stuffed into a Twinkie, wrapped in bacon, deep fried) and Deep Fried Bananas Foster.

Cooke Street Carnival 2014

Cooke Street Carnival

This Saturday October 18th marks the return of another great food and activity festival – Cooke Street Carnival. A neighborhood festival happening each Fall on Cooke Street in the Idlewild neighborhood, just a few blocks East of Historic Oakwood in downtown Raleigh. This year’s theme, Idlewild West, was inspired by the Wild West and local urban agriculture. Local food growers will be there to give demonstrations on how to create compost bins, raised beds, and other ways to grow food in your yard.

The event will be set up like an old western ranch with a saloon, mess hall, and a farm – featuring art vendors; food trucks; local brews, juices, and coffee; and local bands throughout the day. The event is free and open to all, though they will be raising funds for Learning Together, a local inclusive preschool, as part of the event.