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Alright; so the State Fair.

I've been to the state fair number of times in the past but I keep finding myself going back every year. It seems like everything is always slightly different but I can't really tell how; everything is always in the same places and same food vendors are usually there, but nevertheless it draws me back.

This year Ralph wanted to go on Friday, mostly because they were having a monster truck demolition derby on Friday. I was very apprehensive to be honest, I assumed that it would be extremely busy because of the event. However it worked out well, it was busy but not unreasonably so; and the monster trucks were definitely worth seeing even if Buckshot did prove to be unreliable (more on that later).

When we first arrived we did what we always do, made a lap of the fairgrounds to see if there was anything new and interesting. They had a flower competition, probably a regular event, but its the first time I had seen it. This being the 150th anniversary of the North Carolina State Fair I kind of expected... well you know, I don't really know what I expected. I just expected something more than normal.

In fairness The demolition derby is something more than normal.

As is customary for me I picked up my turkey leg first as soon as I got in, I know they're overpriced but it doesn't really matter. The state fair and turkey legs go hand-in-hand and I just can't seem to shake myself of that.

It seems like every year I forget just how messy a turkey leg can be it gets all over your hands and all over your face, you get to walk around looking like a caveman trying to finish his first meal in months; it's great. Honestly it's probably the best part of going to the fair.

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So what I like to do at the fair, aside from photography, is people watch; the fair seems to bring them out of the woodwork.  Of course to protect the innocent I can only post some images. There are always plenty of people that I just can't in all good conscience photograph no matter how good of a photo it would be.

Look at this lady, she's just eaten a "steak on a stick" and you would think that it was the best filet mignon she's ever had in her life. I'm sure she was just being funny, doesn't matter, I got my photo.

I've always liked finding people watching rides, you get the motion of the ride and most of the time they're standing still, they've got a friend on the ride and they're laughing having a good time. It's an interesting dichotomy of motion that I always find it fun to photograph.  

The spinning top as I like to call it (I don't think I actually know what it's real name is funny enough) is probably my favorite ride at the fair. I like it at night and in the daytime, in fact it may be one of the only rides I actually like to photograph during the day. There is a lot of motion, a lot of color, and a lot of gold paint on it that the sun reflects off of beautifully. I mean, don't get me wrong, I would never ride it.  I'm too chicken for that, but I love photographing it.

You wouldn't believe the kind of crowd the fair draws, well actually if you've ever been there I'm sure you would believe it; cause you've seen it. But I'm always astonished at the number of people that show up and considering that most of these people are only there for a few hours, it means that the population of fairgoers is rolling over 2 or 3 times a day. What an insane amount of people through those Gates.

I think for most people it's the same as it is for me. It's something different, somewhere to go, something exciting; it breaks the mold of your normal day-to-day life.

So, monster trucks.

Buckshot was instantly my favorite from the moment I saw it. A black Hummer bodied monster truck with a hemi orange tube chassis. I was certain that it was going to be immensely impressive.

And it was for about 3 minutes, unfortunately fairly early into it's run it broke its axle, or at least that's what I thought at the time. So they limped it back around back so they could attempt to repair it.

In place of Buckshot we got Hot Tamale, which is an equally impressive truck, it's a red Chevy bodied monster truck and the driver is an absolute maniac. He did some massive jumps; in part I think to make up for Buckshot breaking down, I'm sure that was an embarrassment for everybody involved. But after a short period of time they moved into the demolition derby.

Now I've never actually seen a demolition derby. I know what one is, I've seen pictures and little video clips; but it doesn't really do it justice. There's a certain amount of unknown, I guess it's an intangible quality that you can't really put your finger on. A sense that anything could happen at any time, and you're always sure you're looking in the wrong direction.

It was great, I did seem to notice a trend though; I'm almost certain the most beat-up car always wins. I think the guy who cares the least has the most to gain. Not in any way suggesting that it's rigged, but rather some people just care more and it shows.

Funny enough, I think the best group of vehicles in the demolition derby; and I never would have thought this would be the case; we're actually the vans. I think because the Vans are so big they can take so much more damage, these three poor vans literally fought to the death.

They just kept ramming each other over, and over, and over till they were smoking and one was Spitting Fire from underneath the chassis. It was genuinely a fight to the bitter end. I don't even remember who won actually, I want to say two of them broke down at the same time at the very end. There are a lot of false breakdowns, you know where a vehicle would get stuck or shut off. Eventually though they would start back up then the driver was able to compete again. I'm pretty confident that at the end two of them broke down simultaneously while smoking profusely from under the hood.

They did eventually get buck shot running again, unfortunately the joy was short-lived. About three passes later he broke down again, the exact same way. I was later able to walk out onto the track and find out why.

Amazingly it seems that he was actually stripping the bolts from the knuckle that attaches the wheel assembly to the hub. Even more stunning though, was the giant cable they attach the wheel to the axle assembly with. In the event that when this exact thing happens it would not throw the wheel into the crowd.

That of course means that this happens regularly.

Mind blown.

I was also able to take some photos underneath the monster trucks, it's really interesting to see how they're put together.

After the monster trucks we only had about an hour and a half left before closing. So we went out to photograph some of the lights on the rides, now I do this regularly at the state fair and I've got a pretty good idea which ones are going to look best. I think there are a couple of standouts, So with the tripod locked down, camera in manual, I'm able to get some really interesting exposures from some of these rides in about the 1 1/2 to 3 second range. I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

I did run into a rather nice couple that requested me to take a picture of them, so I did. I hope they had as great a time at the fair as we did. They seemed like a sweet couple and I wish them the best of fortune in the future. (Sorry it took so long to get the post up, been super busy!)

Of course there's also the obligatory photo of a food vendor, the spooky corn dog stand. I love this photo, it's an excellent image and an excellent way to end this post about the fair. I had a great time there and I'm sure you would too.

-B. Greene

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