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The duck races start at noon on Friday. For some of us, that's all we need to know about the North Carolina State Fair. But if you're more than a duck racing enthusiast, if you're into pig races, horse shows, biscuits, sheep judging, Ferris wheels, going faster on the Himalaya, wax museum kitsch, the history of the tobacco plant, fish paintings, strange rabbits, deep-fried Snickers, did we mention biscuits?, silage, roses, '70s rock, country crooners, Fantasia, Kenny Rogers, plunking, pitching, dunking and, of course, biscuits, then get ready for the Oct. 14-23 run of all that is the State Fair. Unless you've got to hit every ride, the State Fairgrounds hosts one of the cheapest, greatest, Carolina people-watching events of the year. All the info is at www.ncstatefair.org. And remember--never bet on the mallards.

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