September and October are the hot season for the majority of agricultural fairs in North Carolina. County and regional agricultural fairs across the state and the State Fair in Raleigh — Oct. 15 to 25 — will host about 3 million visitors during fair season. (The entry deadline for recipe competitions for pork, peanut butter and jelly, grits, pies and apples is Oct. 2.
Many of the county fairs depend heavily on county Extension centers for everything from leadership to elbow grease as they showcase agriculture and support local 4-H. SAES faculty, staff and students who find themselves among the 3 million visitors at one of North Carolina’s agricultural fairs in the next few weeks are encouraged to make time for a tour of the educational exhibits. If you come across an exhibit or demonstration that’s the handiwork of a member of The Cooperative Extension Program at A&T’s field staff and get a chance to compliment them on their work, please take advantage of the opportunity.
The first agricultural fairs, in the early 1800s, played a major role in publicizing advances in farm equipment. There was also a strong educational component to agricultural fairs from the outset, as they often gave many visitors their first-ever experience in a gallery or museum. That tradition has evolved but remains staunchly at the core of these fairs, as educational exhibits and demonstrations that demystify technology or enrich life skills are as much a part of the fairs as Ferris wheels and cotton candy.