North Carolina State Fair ranks 9th in the United States

North Carolina State Fair.File

The North Carolina State Fair is No. 9 among all other fairs in the country.

That is, if you believe MSN’s ranking.

The fair that attracts about 1 million people to Raleigh for 11 days each year is the largest agriculture event in the nation, MSN reported, adding that the fair features “a horse show, livestock show and a Krispy Kreme cheeseburger” — and that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the Tar Heel state’s annual fair.

But which fairs topped it?

Here are MSN’s top 10 fairs in the United States:

1. The Minnesota State Fair: The second-largest fair in the U.S., it had nearly 2 million visitors last year and covers 320 acres. The “pizzarito” and “Miracle of Life barn” are highlights, according to MSN.

2. The State Fair of Texas: It’s twice as long as North Carolina’s fair and the largest fair in the country. It features deep-fried Froot Loops and funnel cake bacon queso burgers. Say that five times fast.

3. The San Diego County Fair: With about 1.6 million visitors each year, it’s one of the largest county fairs in the U.S. with corn husking contests, gem and mineral shows and turkey legs wrapped in bacon.

4. The Eastern States Exposition: “New England’s great state fair” features a wine and cheese barn and a signature dessert, “the Big E Cream Puff.”

5. The Deerfield Fair: It’s known as “New England’s oldest family fair.”

6. The OC Fair in Costa Mesa: Wine seminars (whatever those are), plus chocolate-covered bacon, deep-fried butter and, of course, fried zucchini — because it’s California.

7. The Wisconsin State Fair: Known for its cream puffs — and it sells more than 350,000 of them each year.

8. The Iowa State Fair: It features a cow sculpture made of butter and 82 different foods on a stick. It’s inspired books, three movies and a Broadway musical, according to MSN.

9. The North Carolina State Fair: This year’s fair is Oct. 11-21. Get your tickets here.

10. The Fryeburg Fair in Maine: The largest steer and oxen show, plus wreath-making demonstrations and the “cast-iron skillet throw.”

The North Carolina State Fair was founded in 1853. It was canceled in 1861-68 during the Civil War and Reconstruction. And, President Theodore Roosevelt spoke at the fair in 1905. Here’s more state fair history:

▪ Cary United Methodist Church served the first — now iconic — ham biscuit at the fair in 1916.

▪ In 1958, State College scientists operated an atomic reactor during the fair.

▪ In 1965, black and white 4-H groups were allowed to compete together at the fair for the first time.

▪ President Gerald Ford spoke at the fair in 1976.

▪ President Bill Clinton held a meeting at the fair in September 1996 to speak to workers using the fairgrounds as an emergency staging area for disaster response after Hurricane Fran.

▪ In 2005, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and fairgoers filled an old barn with tobacco and let it cure throughout the fair.

▪ The fair hosted its first Military Appreciation Day in 2006.

▪ A beer brewing competition was introduced in 2012.

▪ In 2016, the fair introduced the first permanent ride on the fairgrounds — the State Fair Flyer.

For more information on this year’s upcoming North Carolina State Fair, go to


Want to keep up with what's up in the Triangle?
Sign up for our newsletter.