It’s that time of year again! The time for anything (and everything) deep fried! This year marks the 144th North Carolina State Fair. Hundreds of thousands of people will flood the gates as they do every year to sample this year’s food, rides and fun. In honor of the Fair spirit, we’ve decided to take a look at the N.C. State Fair’s design history! Every year since 1955, the Fair has chosen a theme to highlight that year’s focus. Take a look at the progression that the Fair has made the past 10 years in their design and themes!
One thing that you’ll notice in the more current design is that the N.C. State Fair started developing logos each year with the theme of that year’s Fair integrated into it. Prior to that, the themes weren’t commonly integrated into the logo itself. While the designs have evolved over the years, the N.C. State Fair stays true to their original logo font that has been used for over the past 10 years. For the past nine years, they have kept it surrounded by an oval shape where they put “Raleigh, NC” in the bottom. And, beginning in 2007, they added the year of the Fair in the top of the oval.
2013- “North Carolina’s Homecoming”
This year’s theme is was meant to reflect the fact that people from all areas of the state and all walks of life come home to the N.C. State Fair to see friends and eat lots of great food.
2012 “Bumper Crop of Fun”
When a farmer says he has a bumper crop of blueberries, it means his harvest is unusually large and exceptional. The Fair’s theme “Bumper Crop of Fun” described the exceptional time that fairgoers were going to have when they attended the 2012 N.C. State Fair.
2011 “Love a Fair”
This theme was meant to capture the way fairgoers feel about the beloved tradition of the NC State Fair. The Fair is supposed to be a time to reunite with family and friends, try new foods, experience the entertainment and try new rides. Who doesn’t “Love a Fair”?
2010 “Celebrate What’s Great!”
This theme was meant to get fairgoers excited about what’s great about the Fair! And what makes the Fair great? The exhibits, the rides, the talented artists, the food, the gardeners and more!
2009 “A Whole Lotta Happy”
The theme “A Whole Lotta Happy” pays tribute to the array of activities and accomplishments that comes with each fair year. The State Fair is a deep-rooted tradition here in North Carolina and this theme was meant to capture how much happiness the Fair brings to fairgoers.
2008 “Take Time for a Great Time”
This year’s theme, “Take Time for a Great Time” emphasizes how important it is to take time out of our busy lives for fun and traditions.
2007 “Seriously Twisted Fun”
The theme “Seriously Twisted Fun” reflects that there is something special that can only be found at the Fair. In 2007, the N.C. State Fair wanted to showcase a renovated Midway, musical performances, new exhibits and educational opportunities.
In 2007, the Fair really starts developing a specific logo centered around the theme of the Fair for that year. Also beginning this year, the year of the Fair is added in the top of the oval.
2006 & 2005 “Feed Your Senses”
“Feed Your Senses,” was the theme for 2005 and 2006. This theme highlights the familiar tastes, smells, sights and sounds of the N.C. State Fair. In 2006, it looks like they’re concentrating more on fall tastes and smells and in 2005, they’re concentrating more on the sights and sounds of the Fair.
2004 “Farm Fresh Fun!”
The “Farm Fresh Fun” theme reflects the heart of the Fair as a place for residents to compete and showcase their skills and a great place for families to enjoy North Carolina’s agriculture.
2003 “One Hundred Fifty Years of Blue Ribbon Fun”
To honor the Fair’s 150th anniversary, special 150th anniversary ribbons were designed for category winners since entries in the arts, horticulture, hobbies, crafts, youth, livestock and poultry complete the fair experience.
It’s definitely interesting to look at the progression of the designs and themes over the past 10 years! What was your favorite design/theme and what are your thoughts on the overall branding and design for the N.C. State Fair for this year and years past? We know one thing, after exploring the design history of the Fair, we’re definitely looking forward to seeing what next year’s design and theme will be!
The North Carolina Digital Collections
http://digital.ncdcr.gov/ (2011-2003 North Carolina State Fair premium lists)
- 2011: Love a Fair
- 2010: Celebrate What’s Great
- 2009: A Whole Lotta Happy
- 2008: Take Time for a Great Time
- 2007: Seriously Twisted Fun
- 2006: Feed Your Senses
- 2005: Feed Your Senses
- 2004: Farm. Fresh. Fun.
- 2003: One Hundred Fifty Years of Blue Ribbon Fun
Tracy Maniaci is a creative professional with extensive knowledge in several industries. She is experienced in all aspects of marketing, communications and public relations with an exceptional talent for graphic design, copywriting, branding and event planning. Learn more about her at