Don’t forget the fair

The 17th annual N.C. Mountain State Fair has officially returned to the WNC Ag Center in Fletcher this year. It runs through Sunday, Sept. 19, so there are two full weekends (and a week in between) left to enjoy it.

Fun on the midway, Kiddieland and fried foods galore
The midway is bringing back some its most favorite stomach-dropping rides. The Enterprise spins and swings its passengers at 85-degree angles. The Seattle Wheel, created for the World’s Fair in Seattle, lifts you 90 feet into the air. And, of course, the Chairlift returns, stretching from one end of the midway to the other, providing a bird’s eye view of the fair, daring you to look and see if you know someone walking down below.

You can also expect the return of the ever popular Kiddieland, so the wee ones can ride in flying cups or elephants while mom, dad, grandma, grandpa and every other relative tries to capture the moment on digital to be cherished forever. Games of chance will draw you in, luring you in with the opportunity to knock over milk bottles, or toss bean bags in clowns’ mouths, hoping to win stuffed Tweetie Birds, some other sort of furry creature or inflatable dragons and such.

Of course, the foods won’t disappoint and you’ll find every thing from the expected greasy corn dogs, funnel cakes and lemonade to fresh squeezed orange juice and roasted corn. Maybe even a surprise or two.

Duct-tape art, giant pumpkins, livestock and more
But the fair really takes place to celebrate the finest crafts, handmade goods, artwork and horticulture products that Western North Carolina has to offer. These will all be offered in the newly added Virginia C. Boone Mountain Heritage Center. The Livestock Exhibition Building will continue to house In addition, residents from across the region will arrive with their best livestock in tow in the hopes of winning a coveted blue ribbon in one of the numerous livestock competitions.

And, there’s on exhibit you just need to find if for no other reason than to just be able and say you saw a 700-plus pound pumpkin. A pumpkin, from a real live pumpkin patch in Fletcher, that weighs 736 pounds. It’s not your average pie-making or Halloween carving job for the yard. It had to be carefully raised from its growing patch with a special lifting ring, then loaded onto a wooden pallet and gently set down in its showing spot in the newly added Virginia C. Boone Mountain Heritage Center and the Livestock Exhibition Building. 

It’s not the biggest pumpkin that’s ever been brought to the Mountain State Fair, but Susie Zuerner, the award-winning gardener who grew it, says it’s still one of the largest ever seen in WNC.

The music
New to the NC Mountain State Fair this year is live music on the Bojangles Music Stage, hosting local and regional bands daily for a total of more than 30 groups during the entire fair’s run. Three different bands will perform nightly featuring either rock, country, beach, big band, oldies, singer/songwriter or Southern rock. The stage is outdoors and centrally located on the fairgrounds. All performances are free for fairgoers with paid admission.

McGough Arena will host Country Music star Chuck Wicks on Wednesday, September 15. Wicks appeared on the short-lived reality series Nashville and has two albums behind him He also appeared in season 8 of Dancing with the Stars as partner with his (then) girlfriend Julianne Hough. They were voted off in week 8.

Christian Music groups The Oxendines from Shannon, N.C. and This Hope, a five-member male group originally from south central Alaska (now living in Atlanta) headline on Thursday, September 16. Tickets for the Wednesday and Thursday shows are specially priced at $15 for adults and $8 for children and seniors, and will include admission to the fair.

The Heritage Stage plays host to Mountain Music and Bluegrass each night as the Mountain Music Competition continues. The competition gives local bands the chance to open for Contemporary Bluegrass musician John Cowan. Cowan, the former lead singer of the New Grass Revival, a band he formed with contemporary bluegrass and folk music greats, Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, and Pat Flynn, will perform on the Bojangles Music Stage on Sunday September 19. Cowan’s performance is also free with paid fair admission.

what: The N.C. Mountain State Fair
where: WNC Ag Center, Fletcher
when: Through Sunday, Sept. 19. Friday & Saturday: 9 a.m. – midnight, Sunday: 9 a.m. – 11 p.m., Monday – Thursday: 3 p.m. – 11 p.m. $7 Adult, $3 Children 6 – 12 years of age, $3 Seniors 65 years and older. More info: 828-687-1414 or

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