Fairs, Festivals and Funnel Cakes, Oh My!

Fall festivals

Fall officially began Sept. 22, ushering in the season of fairs, festivals and funnel cakes. It may feel too warm for candy apples, but that’s not stopping Charlotte Mecklenburg Library from offering a full slate of fall festivals and recommendations. Best of all? Everything we offer is free!  Tap the links below for more information, including times and age ranges.

You might not find any funnel cakes at this fair, but if you’re looking for a job or are new to the Charlotte area, we’ve got you covered, too. Our Sugar Creek branch will host a Mini-Job Fair Thursday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Our University City branch welcomes new residents to Mecklenburg County with a #WelcomeCLT Resource Fair Oct. 20 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. 

Visit the Robinson-Spangler Room at Main Library or Cmstory.org for pictures of the two former county fairgrounds. Discover the history of the North Carolina State Fair in Melton McLaurin’s North Carolina State Fair or read about general state fair history in Derek Nelson’s The American State Fair. Local amusement park (and Library Summer Break partner) Carowinds opened in 1973 and offers fair-style food and amusements from May through September. Read about its history in Scott Rutherford’s Carowinds

If you can’t make it to a festival or fair, bring the fair to you! Indulge in deep-fried Oreos or giant turkey legs from recipes in George Geary’s Fair Foods. You can also copy winning recipes in Amy Rogers’ Red Pepper Fudge and Blue Ribbon Biscuits (available for in-library use only in the Robinson-Spangler Room). 

Roller coaster fans may stream Physics of Amusement Park Rides and Modern Marvels’ Roller Coasters:  Search for the Ultimate Thrill for an entertaining yet educational experience. Educators can use Ian Mahaney’s Math at the Amusement Park and Wendy Conklin’s Fun and Games:  Clockwork Carnival for teaching fair-related lessons and activities. Check out our librarian’s suggested list for more kid-friendly fall suggestions.

If you prefer the darker side of the fairgrounds, we recommend Stephen King’s Joyland, Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn and the short story collection Carniepunk.

Kids of all ages will enjoy classics like E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web (also available to stream or on DVD) and films Rodgers and Hammerstein's State Fair and Meet Me in St. Louis

Fans of tamer fiction will enjoy Mitch Albom’s The Next Person You Meet in Heaven or Deeanne Gist’s Fair Play

Fall in love with fall with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library!