Headed to the NC State Fair next week with kids? 8 ways to make your trip fun and educational

Raleigh, N.C. — The rides and fair food are fun, but there are plenty of opportunities to mix in a bit of education during your trip to the NC State Fair. Here are eight ways to make a trip to the fair a bit more educational, :

Bring along a scavenger hunt

The fair offers a couple of scavenger hunts for young fairgoers who come with their families or school groups. And, once they‘re completed, you can turn in your scavenger hunt for your own State Fair Adventurer ribbon.

This year, as usual, there are two scavenger hunts, according to the fair‘s blog. The first focuses on the exhibits and locations around the fair. The second is STEM-based and requires some math skills You can . Or, you can pick up one at the Expo Center when you get there.

Check out all the various fruit and vegetable entries

That includes 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.

Attend one of the milk demonstrations

You can find them 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.

Visit with the 21-foot-tall Smokey Bear display

just up the hill from Heritage Circle, learn about healthy forests and how to prevent forest fires.

See the working steam-powered sawmill

It‘s also near the Heritage Circle. Volunteers are on hand to explain how the engine works and show how it was used to transform timber into boards.

Stroll through the Old Farm Machinery exhibit near the Children’s Barnyard

You‘ll 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.

The fair runs Oct. 11 to Oct. 21 at the State Fairgrounds in west Raleigh.