There’s finally a nip in the air this week, so what better time to head back to the state fair? The biggest celebration of the year is opening this weekend with traditional treats, rollicking rides, and best-in-the-state showcases. If you want to avoid the crowds, though, there are plenty of other fun fall events in Raleigh and Durham. Roll down your windows and enjoy the breeze on your way to an outdoor adventure. 

N.C. State Fair

N.C. State Fairgrounds

As any North Carolina native knows, the state fair has something for everyone. Whether you’re after an adrenaline rush on the Midway or a peaceful afternoon browsing handmade crafts in the Village of Yesteryear, there’s plenty to do. In addition to the usual flower and garden show, you can spot animals and giant vegetables at the Expo Center, watch monster trucks at the grandstand, and cheer at the pig races. 

Music lovers can find some of the best bands in the state, with this year’s lineup featuring funk group The Pseudo Cowboys, rock band Collapsis, and country singer Brooke McBride. 

New to the menu this year are even more deep-fried delicacies, including deep-fried cookie dough and deep-fried egg rolls with a variety of Southern fillings such as mac-and-cheese, brisket, and shrimp.

The fair runs October 14-24 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., except on Fridays and Saturdays when it is open until midnight. Tickets are $13 for adults and $7 for ages 6-12. Discounts are available for students, seniors, and members of the military. Find more information here

Preservation Durham’s Annual Historic Home Tour

Pinecrest Carriage House

Take a walk through some of Durham’s oldest neighborhoods on this year’s historic home tour, hosted by the Historic Preservation Society of Durham. Participants will explore the Tudor Revival by visiting some of the city’s most beautiful medieval-style mansions, including the Pinecrest Estate. 

Early bird tickets are $25 and day-of tickets are $30. The tour is noon-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Learn more here

Pumpkin Patch Express

With only two weeks to Halloween, it’s time to pick a pumpkin. A family-friendly fair at the Museum of Life and Science includes a pumpkin patch, hay maze, mini-golf, and nature bingo. The star of the show, however, is a train ride on the Ellerbe Creek Railway. 

Tickets are $15 per person. The fair is 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Visit the website to learn more

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