Getting hog wild at the Mountain State Fair

The Mountain State Fair offers Appalachian-tinged merriment right here at home. Sure, there will still be an abundance of thrill rides, farm animals and game vendors looking to guess your weight in exchange for inflatable plastic mallets, but there’s much more. From clogging and bluegrass to chainsaw sport and doughnut sandwiches, Western North Carolina’s unique charms and eccentricities are highlighted in this weeklong extravaganza which promises fun for people of every stripe.

The Mountain State Fair runs from Sept. 6-15. For information on ticket prices and special deals for families, groups and more, visit mountainfair.org.

Schedule:

Friday through Sunday, Sept. 6-8
Dixie Starlight Express at 7 and 8 p.m.
Sea Lion Splash at at 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m.
Kachunga’s Alligator Show at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m.
Kenya Safari Acrobats at 11 a.m. and 1, 4 and 7 p.m.
Rocket Man at 3, 6 and 8 p.m.
Timber Sports Competiton, Sept. 7 ONLY at 1:30 p.m.
Joey Rowe Chainsaw Sculptures at 1:30, 3, 6 and 9:15 p.m.
Hogway Speedway at 11 a.m. and 3, 6 and 8:30 p.m.

Monday through Thursday, Sept. 9-12
Dixie Starlight Express at 7 and 8 p.m.
Sea Lion Splash at 6 and 8 p.m.
Kachunga’s Alligator Show at 5, 7 and 9 p.m.
Kenya Safari Acrobats at 4 and 7 p.m.
Rocket Man at 6 and 8 p.m.
Joey Rowe Chainsaw Sculptures at 4, 6 and 9:15 p.m.
Hogway Speedway at 4, 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

Friday through Sunday, Sept. 13-15
Dixie Starlight Express at 7 and 8 p.m.
Sea Lion Splash at 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m.
Kachunga’s Alligator Show at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m.
Kenya Safari Acrobats at 11 a.m. and 1, 4 and 7 p.m.
Rocket Man at 3, 6 and 8 p.m.
Joey Rowe Chainsaw Sculptures at 1:30, 3, 6 and 9:15 p.m.
Hogway Speedway at 11 a.m. and 3, 6 and 8:30 p.m.

Visit http://www.mountainfair.org/bojangles-music-stage-lineup.html and http://www.mountainfair.org/heritage-music-stage-lineup.html for full music stage schedules.

To view or download in a pdf version click here.

Dixie Starlight Express, Llama Shows and Livestock Expos

Livestock lovers rejoice! In addition to the usual farmland fare of beef cattle, sheep, goats and hogs, the Mountain State Fair will showcase live llamas. Mind the spit, though. And after a day well spent with four-legged friends, visit the Dixie Starlight Express, a nightly horse show run by the region’s most talented cowgirls.

Fair-weather food

The fair is always a good place to enjoy over-the-top treats like cotton candy, funnel cake and deep-fried candy bars. This year brings two new formidable concoctions. The Krispy Kreme burger, a head-turner at fairs across the state, is sure to tantalize, but if that isn’t extreme enough for you, the Krispy Kreme sloppy Joe, scrumptious chili crammed between two halves of a doughnut, might scratch that gourmand itch.

Sea Lion Splash

Sea lions are the cuddlier counterparts to their land-dwelling brethren. This showcase, the only one in the nation featuring both California and South African sea lions, finds them pleasing crowds with ball-balancing tricks and dances. But there’s a humanitarian angle too. All of these sea lions were beached and have now been rescued and given a permanent home.

Kachunga

If you’re coming off the rides bursting with adrenaline, you might just feel like you could wrestle a 300 pound alligator. But maybe you’d better leave that to Kachunga, a reptile expert from Florida whose gator show promises excitement. If he’s not gator lunch afterward, he also brings along less unruly reptiles for kids to interact with.

Stomach-churning rides

Unless you were actually counting on holding on to all that fair food, the Mountain State Fair has tons of rides to turn your stomach upside-down. The Cyclops, the Pirate and many others will sate the most fevered adrenaline junkie. Should you seek a calmer experience, check out a great view of the whole fair from the Seattle Wheel.

Kenya Safari Acrobats

This talented troupe of Kenyan acrobats has been a staple of the Mountain State Fair for the past couple years. They’ve garnered a reputation of thrilling audiences with their mind-boggling feats of strength, agility and balance, all while offering a glimpse into the culture of Kenya.

Rocket Man — the Human Cannonball

You might have seen Chachi Valencia, aka the Rocket Man, during the Olympics Closing Ceremony in London last summer. Now’s your chance to see him in person as he is shot out of a cannon over the rides at the Mountain State Fair midway. Don’t let him burn out his fuse out there alone.

Timber Sports and Chainsaw Sculptures

The chainsaw is a far more diverse tool than most people know. Just ask the chainsaw artist who sculpts logs into wildlife before your very eyes, or timber-sports teams from regional colleges like N.C. State and Warren Wilson compete to see who best handles their saws with speed and accuracy.

Bojangles’ and Heritage Music Stages

Instead of washed-up hair metal bands, the Mountain State Fair promises a diverse bill of musical acts. The Bojangles’ Music Stage will feature the country rock of Jody Medford, the funk of Lyric, and the latin rock of UltimaNota, among many other local and regional acts. And for real mountain spirit, check out the Heritage Music Stage for a variety of cloggers and bluegrass acts.

Pig Races

Who among us has never thought of the thrill of NASCAR and the adorable disposition of pigs and said, “Why not bring it all together?” Until the government declassifies specs for pig-sized race cars, the pig races at the Mountain State Fair will have to do. Cue up the theme from Chariots of Fire and watch as these little porkers compete for glory.

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