The North Carolina State Fair is ready to pack in crowds looking to enjoy rides, concerts and mouthwatering food as the event's 144th staging begins.
The fair begins Thursday in Raleigh and runs through Oct. 23.
Intended as a showcase for North Carolina's agriculture, arts and crafts, it's also become a yearly destination for hundreds of thousands of people looking to play games and enjoy some eyebrow-raising food, like cheeseburgers sandwiched between two doughnuts.
The first state fair was held in 1853, and since then events like the Civil War and World War II imposed temporary hiatuses. But in recent years it's become more popular than ever. Last year, crowds broke attendance records, as more than a million people visited the fair for the first time.