RALEIGH –As the season changes from summer to fall, the North Carolina State Fair is one of the biggest attractions that people travel from all ends of the state to visit. A fair-favorite is always the plethora of food vendors on site at the fair.
One of Richmond County’s own, the Carter family, is one of the most beloved vendors at the fair and have been since 1969. Droves of people make their way to the fairgrounds each year to get a taste of the roasted corn topped with a variety of choices of condiments and seasoning the Carters cook up.
Hill’s Roasted Corn has consistently appeared at the fair ever since a rainy day when Richard Hill Carter and his two brothers, Larry and Dwight, bought their corn booth unexpectedly.
Dr. Julian Carter, son of Hill Carter-the original owner, told the story in great detail.
“In 1968 the fairgrounds were coated in red clay, and when it rained the clay covered the shoes of all those in attendance,” Carter said. “One particular day when the ground was muddy and the fair wasn’t doing much business, the Carter brothers decided to go to the fair. It was then that Hill Carter struck up a conversation with a corn vendor who seemed quite miserable in the rain.”
The vendor and Hill’s conversation seemed to drag on, so Larry and Dwight wandered off. When they came back forty-five minutes later, Hill told them, “You each owe me $100. We just bought the place.’”
The following year was Hill’s Roasted Corn’s first appearance at the State Fair, but definitely not its last.
Since that rainy day in 1968, Hill’s Corn has been passed on through the family and is now owned by three sons of the original three owners. The business I still going strong entering its 48th year at the fair.
Carter, one of the current owners and Director of Human Resources for Richmond County Schools, has nothing but fond memories of his days at the fair and his experience at the corn booth.
“I have always loved the fair, ever since I was five or six years old,” Carter recalled. “I guess you can say I’m a ‘carnie.’ “When it comes to the business, though, I love working with my hands and working with all of the great people.”
The N.C. State Fair opens up to the public on October 12 at 3 p.m., and runs through October 22.
If you’re going, don’t forget to look for the big corn on the cob sticking up over top the other vendors and stop by to support a local family.