Green NC

Greening the Fair


As the largest annual 11-day event in North Carolina, we have a responsibility to do our part to keep North Carolina’s environment clean and sustainable. Admittedly, the N.C. State Fair has some work to do before we can be a truly “green” event, but everyone has to start somewhere. Here are some of the eco-friendly things we are working on:
Recycling While staff and vendors have been recycling cardboard and animal manure behind the scenes for a number of years, 2008 was the first fair in more than ten years where recycling bins were available for the public to use.

The N.C. State Fair partnered with the N.C. Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance, Waste Industries and Sonoco Recycling to offer four recycling stations throughout the fairgrounds that collected plastic bottles and aluminum cans. We purchased 20 recycling bins that are each 6-feet-tall, made of heavy-duty twin-walled plastic with small, round openings on

three sides just large enough for a bottle or can to pass through, and have recycling messages painted in bright green and yellow.

The recycling stations were monitored by an army of more than 200 volunteers to ensure that the material did not become contaminated, and to educate and thank the public for recycling. We collected nearly one ton of material, and found that visitors really did their part to keep trash out of the bins. Iin 2009, we spread out the recycling bins, and offered more than 25 locations on the fairgrounds to recycle. We collected .77 tons (1,540 lbs) of comingled plastc products, including plastic bottles, aluminum cans and steel.

In 2009, we also collected and recycled 12.68 tons (25,360 lbs) of cardboard, and 33.75 tons (67,495 lbs or 9,245 gallons) of cooking oil!

For the 2010 State Fair, we have purchased 40 more large, green and yellow bons, giving us a total of 60 recycling bins, in addition to about 30 smaller bins for use inside the buildings.

In a different recycling effort, we reused the old asphalt and underlying stone from the Dorton Triangle construction project as a base under the new pavement in this area, keeping the material from being hauled to a landfill. Part of the Dorton Triangle project reduced the need for a number of generators during the fair because we installed underground electrical, water and sewer connections. This project also added more green space and seating near the food concessionaires. A number of benches made from recycled material were also installed around the fairgrounds.

Collected Cooking Oil
Food is one of the top reasons people attend the N.C. State Fair, and deep-fried fare is very popular. In 2008, with an endeavor we called “Funnel Cakes for Fuel,” 8,500 gallons of cooking oil was collected, processed into B100 biodiesel and sent to the 18 Agricultural Research Stations operated by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for use in farm equipment, as well as in tractor-trailers that deliver commodities to schools throughout the state.

In 2009, we collected 9,245 gallons of cooking oil!

In 2010, Fair vendors will continue to recycle their used cooking oil.
Biodiesel on the Midway
The Kerr Scott building is powered using B10 biodiesel.
NEV Vehicles added to maintenance and security fleet
E-ride vehicleIn April, 2008 the N.C. State Fair received a Clean Fuel Advanced Technology grant, awarded by the N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University, to purchase two Neighborhood Electric Vehicles. The E-Ride EXV2 vehicles can haul more than 1,000 pounds, and run as far as 55 miles on one charge. When plugged into a 220-volt outlet, it takes only three hours to reach a full charge, or six hours on a 110-volt outlet. They produce no tail pipe emissions, and are street-legal in 35-mile-per-hour zones. 
Energy efficient lighting

Dorton Arena has been outfitted in more than 1,200 feet of red LED rope lighting, which replaces the old 400-watt per fixture fiber-optic lights. The new LED lights use about one-tenth of the energy of fiber optics, not to mention the red color quality is much brighter and can be seen all over the fairgrounds.

Staff members are also in the process of replacing incandescent lighting throughout the fairgrounds with Energy Star self-ballasted fluorescent lighting. Inefficient site lighting has been replaced with more efficient 100% cut-off lighting.

Attention to storm water

As an educational outreach project, the N.C. State Fair partnered with the N.C. Division of Water Quality to stencil all of the storm drains on site with a brightly-colored water protection message that read, “Keep it Clean! Drains to River.” This message was meant to remind visitors that all of the trash and debris that falls down a storm drain eventually ends up in our waterways. A small group of community volunteers spent a few hours stenciling more than 200 storm drains around the fairgrounds.

Storm Drain stenciling

State Fair staff also re-routed some of the storm water running off of our streets and directed it to our sediment pond to help filter the water.


A working “Water Wise Rain Garden,” maintained by the Wake County Master Gardeners is one of the highlights of the Flower and Garden Show area.





2009 NC State Fair
A Division of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services