The Fair makes it easy to have fun and learn something – and anyone can be a State Fair adventurer.
Each year the Fair offers two scavenger hunts. One scavenger hunt features questions that relate to exhibits and locations on the fairgrounds. The other is STEM-based and requires some math skills. Print out a copy from our website or stop by the Expo Center to pick one up, and then set off on your quest for answers. Both scavenger hunts take you through many of the educational exhibits on the grounds, where you will learn more about our soil, our forests, plants, agricultural crops and livestock, how fireworks get their bright colors and how important pollinators are to our food.
Teachers can request an answer key for questions. Completed scavenger hunts can be turned into the information booth in front of the Expo Center for a State Fair Adventurer ribbon.
The Fair has also developed a Newspaper in Education Supplement in conjunction with the News and Observer. The supplement is designed to enhance a fair visit or as a stand-alone educational piece about fair exhibits and agriculture.
Articles this year highlight Smokey Bear, teen engineers, apple facts, the science behind roller coasters, Blackbeard, beekeeping and fireworks. The supplement can also be used before or after a field trip to the fair to enhance the learning opportunity. The supplement can be downloaded from the fair’s website. Teachers can order supplements for their classroom at http://nie.newsobserver.com/.
The scavenger hunt is just one way teachers and parents can incorporate learning into the annual fair trip. Here are a few more suggestions for how to make the fair visit educational.
- Check out all the various fruit and vegetable entries, including the largest pumpkin and the largest watermelon in the Expo Center. There is a photo-op site near these giants. One of the most interesting categories is for unusual shaped vegetables.
- Milking Demonstrations are held between the Graham Building and Expo Center. Check out the daily schedule for times.
- Check out the “buzz” at the Bee and Honey competition area in the Expo Center. Beekeepers are on hand to talk about beekeeping and the critical role bees play in producing our food.
- Up the hill from Heritage Circle, be sure to check out the 21-foot-tall Smokey Bear display and learn about healthy forests and how to prevent forest fires.
- Also up from Heritage Circle is a working steam-powered sawmill. Volunteers are on hand to explain how the engine works and show how it was used to transform timber into boards.
- Learn about the animals that inhabit North Carolina’s forests and oceans with hands-on activities, videos and guides to answer all your questions.
- Stroll through the Old Farm Machinery exhibit near the Children’s Barnyard and see a collection of vintage tractors and horse-drawn equipment on display. Volunteers are on hand to answer questions and explain how equipment was used.
- See how tobacco leaves were cured in a traditional flue-cured tobacco barn in Heritage Circle. On Friday, Oct. 12, a tobacco-stringing contest will be held at 2 p.m. and then the working barn will be loaded with tobacco. Once the barn is loaded, a fire will be started to begin the curing process. A mock tobacco auction will be held on Friday, Oct. 19, at 2 p.m. in the Tobacco Pavilion.