The North Carolina State Fair is back — for the 154th time.
On Friday, Oct. 14 at 11 a.m., N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler celebrated the first full day of the annual event by cutting a ribbon alongside fair officials and other state agriculture leaders. The fair will be open until Oct. 23.
Giant watermelons and pumpkins, a staple each year, will be on display for the entire 11-day event. The largest pumpkin, grown by Chris Rodebaugh of West Virginia, weighed in at nearly 1,500 pounds.
The largest watermelon, grown by Andrew Vial of Liberty, is 306 pounds — making it the third largest watermelon in the world this year, according to a press release from the fair.
The fair also held its second annual accessABILITY Day on Oct. 16, which makes attending more accessible for people with disabilities by having vendors and rides turn off lights and sounds and offering areas with low lighting and soft music.
This year's fair features dozens of new foods, five new rides and the N.C. State Fair Bacon Trail, which highlights the 42 vendors serving some form of bacon.
Second-time fairgoer Sam Eaton said he loves the rides, especially the ones that are high off the ground.
"I'm terrified of heights, but it's awesome," Eaton said.
Morgan Crotty, who went to the fair with Eaton, said she was not a fan of the rides, but she enjoys the candy apples and stuffed animals around the fairgrounds.