Hi friends. I’m sitting outside with my laptop on a gorgeous fall afternoon – the leaves are starting to change, the air is cool enough to have a light sweatshirt on and the bugs aren’t biting me – it’s blissful. I just made a cup of turmeric ginger tea and I am looking forward to catching up with you guys.
As I’ve briefly mentioned in some of my recent posts, there is a lot going on with my family. My parents have now temporarily relocated to Durham, North Carolina where my mom is receiving medical care at Duke. We are grateful for the thorough, compassionate and excellent care that she is receiving but it’s been a stressful time for all of us.
WEEKEND VISIT TO DURHAM
Finn and I drove up to Durham last weekend to visit and it was a great boost for everyone’s spirits! We arrived around lunchtime on Saturday and spent the afternoon hanging out with my parents, checking out a playground a few blocks away from their place and walking around the Duke East Campus with my dad.
We picked up pizza from Pizzeria Toro for dinner and it was really delicious. We shared a kale salad, a prosciutto and green olive pizza and a sausage and pepper pizza. It was the best restaurant pizza that I’ve had in a long time. Dinner ended with a slice of pie from Whole Foods. We have a deep family love for pie. 😉
After dinner, Finn and I headed back to our hotel. He was tickled to be having a hotel sleepover. It was the cutest thing, he kept calling the hotel the “show and tell.” It took me a while to figure out what he was saying but I was cracking up once I figured it out.
SUNDAY AT THE NORTH CAROLINA STATE FAIR
We were up and at ’em on Sunday morning for a family trip to the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh. I grew up going to the Georgia National Fair every fall in Perry, Georgia and it was a highlight of my childhood. We always looked forward to our annual fair visits and I have so many fond memories of them. When I learned that the N.C. State Fair was happening during our visit to Durham, I knew I had to take Finn to his first fair!
The original plan was that I would take Finn to the fair solo after we parted ways from my parents on Sunday. My dad decided to go with us and we were thrilled when my mom felt up for it too! We hit the jackpot with the weather on Sunday. A cold front moved through on Saturday evening so it was in the 60s, sunny and low-humidity at the fair.
It was SO.MUCH.FUN. to see Finn take it all in. We started the day with rides which ended up being a smart decision because the lines were much shorter on Sunday morning than they were later in the afternoon.
Finn was pretty fearless and couldn’t get enough of the rides. I was relieved that he was just tall enough to meet the 36 inch height requirement for most of the rides but I did have to ride with him on all but a couple. It is a sight to see parents stuffed into the kid-sized attractions. Haha.
The Ferris wheel. <3
There were literal tears when it was time to take a break from the rides to eat lunch. Finn gobbled down chicken nuggets and french fries.
And my parents and I all had gyros. They have always been a fair favorite for us and these did not disappoint.
After rides and lunch, we wandered over to some the agriculture buildings where we saw things like giant watermelons and pumpkins. This pumpkin was only 34 pounds or so shy of one ton! Can you imagine moving that thing from the field to the fair?
We also saw lots of chickens, piglets, cows, turkeys, bunnies and more.
They had one area where you could watch chicks hatching and that was really cool to see.
There was a mid-afternoon snack break for donuts as big as Finn’s face. They were warm, soft, yeasty and mouthwatering. Finn loved them so much that he was doing a “donut dance” while he ate his half.
We made one final stop at the carousel before heading back to the car.
TIPS FOR VISITING THE N.C. STATE FAIR WITH A TODDLER
- GET THERE EARLY! This will make parking easier and you will wait in less lines. When we arrived we walked straight up to the ticket counter and into the fair. By noon the line to even get into the gate was lonnnnng. We also didn’t have to wait in line to buy tickets for the rides or to ride the rides. Again, by noon the lines were lonnnnnng! Especially not ideal if you have small children.
- Bring a stroller. I brought the BOB and it was so worth it. You do a lot of walking at the fair so it was great to give Finn the option to ride instead of carrying him when he was tired. I also liked being able to have him contained in the stroller when it was very crowded. It was also nice to have a place to put our water, snacks, jackets, etc. My dad watched the stroller while we were on the rides.
- There is a clear bag policy but you can bring a diaper bag. Any purses, fanny packs or backpacks for adults have to be clear but you can bring a regular diaper bag for baby or toddler.
- Get the unlimited ride wristband. I recommend going with the unlimited ride wristband if you know you’re going to be riding a lot of rides and especially if you’ll have to ride along with your child. It was nice not to worry about running out of tickets and to just flash the wristband to get on.
- Go on a weekday. If you want to avoid the crazy crowds/lines, consider going on a weekday. Next time, I am for sure going on a Monday or a Tuesday. That said, some people like going at night and on weekends and that’s cool too! With small kiddos, I just think a weekday would be easier.
I am really happy that we made the decision to go to the N.C. State Fair and having my parents there with us made the day so much sweeter. We arrived home in Charlotte around 7p on Sunday. Finn gave up naps back in the summer but took a two-hour nap on Monday afternoon that I had to wake him up from at 4p! I great time was definitely had by all! 🙂
Did you grow up going to the fair? Do you enjoy fairs?
What’s your favorite fair food?