RALEIGH (WTVD) -- As the NC State Fair returns to Raleigh on Thursday, we're counting down the top ten things we love most about the annual event!
We want to see your adventures at the fair, so share your experiences on social media using the hashtag #ABC11
10) The FOOD
You can't even say the words "NC State Fair" without immediately picturing what delectable treat (or, let's face it, treats) you're going to enjoy.
9) Fall weather
We can't think of a better time of year to celebrate our state. The weather is absolutely gorgeous this time of year, and it looks like it's going to be particularly Fall-y (that's a word, trust us) for the fair this year!
If it gets chilly while walking the Midway, we suggest warming up with some hot apple cider!
8) The food
From the classics, like corndogs, to the more bizarre newcomers (looking at you, deep-fried peanut butter pickle) there's guaranteed to be something to please everyone's palette.
7) Giant crops
"There are three things that I've learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin." -- Linus, "It's a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."
We're going to make an exception to Linus' golden rule and discuss this year's Great Pumpkin (and watermelon.)
The first place giant pumpkin weighs 1,095.5 pounds and the first place giant watermelon weighs 318.5 pounds.
The produce this year outweighed last year's 948-pound pumpkin grown by Gail Newsom in Pinnacle and 302-pound watermelon grown by Chris "Superman" Kent from Sevierville, Tenn. They took the top prizes in the 2015 Great Pumpkin and Watermelon Weigh-Off at the NC State Fair.
When you're done gaping at the monstrosities in the produce section, you can meander over to the livestock area.
5) Carnival games
According to an in-depth ABC11 investigation by our own Stephanie Lopez, fair games are thoroughly inspected for fairness.
We will do a follow-up investigation if, for the umpteenth year in a row, we cannot land a tiny plastic ring around a colossal glass bottleneck.
4) Did we mention the food?
How can we do a top ten list about the fair without mentioning the sole reason the state flocks to Raleigh in October? The FOOD! We're talking giant turkey legs, corn on the cob, funnel cakes, and more!
Let's all be honest with ourselves, the wide array of artery clogging choices is the real reason we go the fair.
3) Live performances
The fair has had some pretty impressive musical acts come and perform in years past, and the 2016 lineup is no different.
In addition to live music, there's also stunt shows, livestock shows, and whatever this is:
2) The rides
The NC State has a unique variety of rides, offering something for the daredevil in all of us.
1) Drumroll.......the food!
The food. The food. The food. Every year, the NC State Fair manages to shock, delight, and even appall with their Frankenstein-esque concoctions. Well, fair officials, you can consider this challenge accepted.
If you can fry it, we will try it!