N.C. State Fair Celebrates Food, Wine And Beer

By Jessica Maurer, posted Oct 11, 2017

It’s that time of year again: the 150th N.C. State Fair opens this week at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh. And while the state fair offers a wide variety of attractions, the food always takes center stage. 

Or perhaps we should say, fried foods take center stage. New savory items that guests might enjoy trying this year include deep fried cheese curds with crab and shrimp, deep fried bacon, cheese and collard bites, Thanksgiving egg rolls and deep fried dirty rice. If you prefer your fried foods on the sweeter side, you’ll want to check out the deep fried pies – everything from fall favorites such as pumpkin and apple to key lime and chocolate, or perhaps the Cheerwine funnel cake (pictured above).

But say fried food just isn’t your thing and maybe you’re looking for something with a bit of international flair? New to the fair this year are arepas, envueltos and empanadas featuring veggies, beef, chicken and pork; Jamaican jerk barbecue ribs; and Mediterranean lamb burgers. 

Love to cook? The fair offers more than 10 cooking contests sponsored by state associations such as the N.C. Peanut Growers Association, the N.C. Apple Growers Association and the N.C. Pork Council, most with prize money ranging from $50 to $200. 

For a full list of contests and rules visit the fair's webpage devoted to special cooking.

For the first time, visitors to the fair will be able to purchase flights of beer and wine. The new attraction is a partnership with the N.C. Craft Brewers Guild and the N.C. Wine and Grape Council. The guild will use a portion of the proceeds for research and marketing benefiting North Carolina’s craft beer industry. 

The beverages will be available in the new Our State Public House in Heritage Circle. Sponsored by Our State magazine, the Public House will showcase 40 breweries and 40 wineries from across the state. Daily offerings will include several different styles of craft beer and wine, including samples of each.

The N.C. Brewer's Cup competition held by the N.C. Craft Brewers Guild in conjunction with the state fair was held Oct. 6, with the Port City bringing home nine medals between five local breweries. 

Front Street Brewery was one of only a few breweries in the state to win gold medals in multiple categories. Additionally, Wrightsville Beach Brewery collected three medals within their first year of opening, a feat only achieved by four breweries in the state.

Broomtail Craft Brewery, in collaboration with Wrightsville Beach Brewery, brought home a silver medal for "horses on the half shell." Waterline Brewing Company earned a silver medal in the Specialty Brew category for "coffee & cream" and Bill's Front Porch received a silver medal for Schwarzbier in the Dark European Lager category.

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