Editorial: Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe is available

Oct. 16, 2013 @ 05:51 PM

More than 1 million will file through the gates of the State Fair beginning tomorrow.

Many will spend the day looking down. They’re mostly Generation Z, attached to cellphones and texting and tweeting and insta-this and that throughout the day because, well, that’s all they’ve ever known.

The music will be lively and varied, heard in all parts of more than 300 acres collectively celebrating our heritage around agriculture. And when the skies turn to dusk, the lights of the midway will be bright. They’ll blink and spin in all colors of the rainbow.

Food will be plentiful. We’ll be all in, whether it’s the revered ham biscuits of a church, the proper taste of barbecue as defined by region between Manteo and Murphy, or the kind of food we only find in such festive occasions, like the new Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe.

It’s difficult to imagine the first fair 160 years ago, back in 1853. Refrigeration, telephones, phonographs and light bulbs were yet to even be invented. For that matter, neither had the state’s Department of Agriculture, which now oversees the whole shebang.

In 1853, the fair was four days and a robust 4,000 attended on one of them. Franklin Pierce was our 14th president and he didn’t come, but eventually four White House residents did — Theodore Roosevelt in 1905, Harry S. Truman in 1948, Gerald Ford in 1976, George H.W. Bush in 1992 and Bill Clinton in 1996.

The State Agriculture Society had a good idea. The people of North Carolina embraced it over the years, limping through a few, but always enjoying a good show. Only war and operator changes stopped it.

It even survived the criminal blemish of former agriculture commissioner Meg Scott Phipps.

Annual pilgrimages to places like Disney, a beach or mountain getaway, or even New York City are nice. But for those rooted where our state’s goodness has grown, we long for the day to see the exhibits and competitions at the state fairgrounds.

It strikes a chord of our memory, to a different time and place, if only for a few moments.

Regardless of why we go, the celebration of our state’s agriculture, agribusiness, arts, crafts and culture is tremendous. Bucket list or annual tradition, it is highly recommended.