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Secret Garden at the NC State Fair

Each year headlines about the latest in deep-fried foods, big name music entertainment and carnival rides draw crowds to the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh. This year, I found the deep-fried cinnamon rolls tempting enough to venture out in overcast weather one morning. Plus, I always enjoy seeing the livestock (especially the mini donkeys). But I think found my “new favorite” at this year’s state fair, the Flower & Garden Show exhibit area.

As I walked along the winding paths and boardwalks, past fields of pink (and plastic) flamingos, I looked up to see faces in the trees looking back at me.

I found Seuss-themed garden exhibits high on hills…

inviting me to look closely…

and to try new culinary adventures.

I became quite enamored with the colorful garden art and bird feeders created from upcycled lamp parts lining one of the paths.

I was interested in seeing more from this Garner artist, Mary Jo Stephenson, so I found her Facebook page and might contact her about seeing the works in her home studio (and maybe buying one of them for my parent’s garden – never too early to start holiday gift shopping).

I didn’t expect to find a train display at a flower show. Yet, there it was, featuring a miniature state fair in the center, brightening the faces of many visitors as they watched two trains travel the scenic tracks. While watching, I learned about the New Hope Valley Railway, just ten miles south of downtown Apex, in New Hill. They have a special “Halloween Express” train ride that operates this coming Saturday and next (see the website for full details) that might be a fun family outing.

Though there are flower shows and garden displays (as the exhibit name implies), I found delight in the whimsical faces of carved pumpkins and repurposed road construction barrels.

When you’re ready to take a break from the flashing lights and fried foods of the fairway, I recommend you make your way to the “secret garden” (near the Village of Yesteryear) and take refuge in the oasis of the Flower and Garden exhibit at the NC State Fair.


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