Workers or guests, people are the fair’s most compelling exhibit
By Martha Quillin, Staff Writer : Found Here
Of all that is on exhibit at the N.C. State Fair, the most dynamic display is the daily parade of people. Some have come to work, parking their motor homes on the edge of a city they will never get to know, working long hours to entertain people they will never see again. This fair is among the last stops for most of the full-time carnival workers, and, as the season winds down, some wear the miles on their faces.
The people who pay to pass through the gate are tired sometimes, too, but they have come into a sensory experience so intense it makes them forget everything else for a while. So many cottony-candy, oniony, popcorny, horsey smells, so many colors of lights, such a choir of voices, such a whoosh of freedom in the flight of the Ferris wheel.
It’s so American, the fair — the entrepreneurial spirit of the salesman, the ingenuity of the craftsman, the grit of the traveling life, the earnestness of the child who has raised a calf to a ribbon-winning beef cow only to watch it be sold and led away.
The faces of the fair are at the same time familiar and exotic, like a favorite candy bar dipped in batter and deep fried. It’s us, with extra sugar sprinkles.