Coming Home to the NC State Fair

In recent years, the multitude and magnitude of hurricanes that have hit our state have been maddening. They always seem to hit right around N.C. State Fair time, too. I guess that’s why they call it hurricane season. While overall, our state dodged major impacts from Hurricane Dorian, sans the Outer Banks, we are all still keeping a wary eye out for another named storm. Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t just being worry warts over here. We still have much hope and excitement, especially when our thoughts go to the N.C. State Fair. There is something about the State…

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Dazzling lights and spectacular heights: State Fair SkyGazer promises to be a crowd pleaser.

Bigger and better – this year the N.C. State Fair is delivering on that promise. Fairgoers will see the fair’s newest addition, the State Fair SkyGazer, as they approach the fairgrounds – as it stands more than 60 feet taller than Dorton Arena. The SkyGazer is North America’s largest traveling Ferris wheel. “North Carolinians who visit the State Fair every year have their traditions, but we never stop trying to “wow” you. We’ve been working to bring this Ferris wheel to Raleigh since it debuted in Florida in 2017,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “ It’s not often we get…

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Piedmont Laureate David Menconi brings decades of music knowledge to State Fair

David Menconi, 2019 Piedmont Laureate, knows a little about what makes a good show. As a reporter and music critic with the Raleigh News and Observer for 28 years, Menconi chronicled North Carolina music from the local to the national, highlighting everything from the biggest acts to visit the state to the up-and-coming talent grown at home. This year, guests at the N.C. State Fair will get to share in a bit of Menconi’s love for music, as he and Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green will curate and emcee the Laureate Stage in coordination with Deep South Productions. Green is…

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Youthful bluegrass band One Fret Over takes the bluegrass stage

A meeting at summer camp has led to success for a pair of siblings from Salisbury and Kernersville. Their band, One Fret Over, will perform at the N.C. State Fair in Heritage Circle on Saturday, Oct. 19. Based out of central North Carolina, One Fret Over is comprised of two sets of siblings; Gabe Bemus (guitar and vocals), Grace Bemus (fiddle and vocals), Elijah Moore (mandolin) and Lincoln Moore (bass). The band members met at youth bluegrass camp in 2016. They formed One Fret Over in early 2017 and have filled their schedule performing at local venues and festivals ever…

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The One-Man Band: Bandaloni makes North Carolina debut at the N.C. State Fair

Paul David, the man behind the one-man band Bandaloni has traveled to many places from Alberta, Canada to Iowa performing at events and fairs. This year he will bring his singular show to the N.C. State Fair. David has performed at fairs for the past 20 years, the equivalent of spending over four full years at a fair. He was also on the very first season of “America’s Got Talent. David’s affinity for music began as a child a small village in Ontario, Canada. He grew up with three brothers and an older sister. His first musical influence was his…

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Beef Cattle, Family, Teaching–Combining Passions & Pursuing a Ph.D.

The N.C. State Fair Youth Livestock Scholarship helps dozens of youth chase after a college education every year. Recipients all share the commonality of showing livestock at the N.C. State Fair, but their goals are different. Some pursue degrees in nursing while others focus on animal science. Some recipients attend community college and others travel across the country to get their degree. Some stop at a bachelors while others continue on to grad school. And, this scholarship covers all the types. While most of our scholarship recipients are undergrads, we do have some graduate students. Meet Jordan Cox O’Neill. She’s…

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Meet the Superintendent: Donna Kiger

For Donna Kiger, arts and photography superintendent for the 2019 NC State Fair, the show must go on. Of course, in order to go on, the show must start in the first place. As superintendent of the arts and photography competition – one of the fair’s largest – Kiger’s primary job is making sure that happens. This is the first year that Kiger will take over as arts and photography superintendent, but she is not brand new to the competition, having volunteered for several years prior to taking the lead. Becoming superintendent was not necessarily her plan, she said, but…

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State Fair Adventurer Scavenger Hunts make it easy to have fun and learn something

The fair makes it easy to turn a class field trip into a learning experience. This year, three different scavenger hunts are available on the website – geared towards elementary, middle and high school students. The scavenger hunts are also encouraged for parents and homeschoolers coming to the fair. They are designed so everybody can learn a little about our state while at the fair. Sample Questions: Elementary: Agriculture is North Carolina’s No. 1 industry. This exhibit highlights some of the products grown, raised, caught or made in North Carolina. If you want the best, look for the Got to…

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Are You Smarter than a Livestock Kid?

Hundreds of North Carolina youth gather in Raleigh for three contests. These competitions test their knowledge of all things livestock. They practice. They study. They bring their game face. There’s nothing quite like it, and so many come back year after year to compete. Trust me. I was one of them several years ago. Here is a glimpse into each of these livestock competitions: Skillathon—A contest of knowledge, identification, and evaluation Tables are lined in rows. On each table is spread items waiting to be identified. There are four categories—feed, meat, breeds, and equipment. Youth are assigned groups are directed…

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Junior Beef Roundup—An Event for All Ages

Junior Beef Roundup doesn’t have an age limit…well, okay, maybe technically it does, but that isn’t the point. If you step onto the NC State Fairgrounds and look around the cattle barn, you’ll quickly see that while only ages six to 21 (by Jan. 1) are allowed to show and compete, there are people at the event of all ages. Those attending the Junior Beef Roundup may vary in many different ways, but there is one thing they all have in common—a love for beef cattle. Even though not everyone at the Junior Beef Roundup is able to show, they…

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