Funhouse

On the blog I go by Fun House (AKA Heather Overton). At the Fair you'll find me checking out the blue ribbon winners or hanging out in Heritage Circle. It would be hard for me to pick a favorite part of the Fair, but I can tell you one thing I hate - leaving it on the last day. I can't wait for opening day!

ARCY is a State Fair work in progress

If you have been able to come to the fair more than once, or like a handful of us really lucky people get to be here every day, you may have watched the progress on the 120-foot long piece of art being created by Ryan Christenson of Wallingford, Conn. outside of the Exposition Center. Christenson, also known as ARCY, has been doing graffiti art since high school and has been touring for about three years. He creates about 100 8×12 walls in the eight months he spends on the road each year. “Public graffiti art is more respected than it…

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Get your official weight at the fair — if you dare

Glen Farmer is a heavy-scales inspector with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For a few shifts during the N.C. State Fair, he weighs something a little more fun — fair-goers. For the last 20 years, he has worked the Standards Division booth inside the Education Building near the House-Autry hush puppies. “We have your official weight according the to State of North Carolina,” said Farmer. “A lot of folks just shake their heads when given their printout and try to tell us it’s not right. But it is!” In North Carolina, anytime a scale is used to…

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Old Time Photo equals good-time family fun

For the past three years, Old Time Photo has set up on the midway at the N.C. State Fair. This year, April and Matt Stewart have set up another location on the south side of Dorton Arena. Old Time Photo has had studios in Gatlinburg, Tenn., and Myrtle Beach, S.C., since the mid-1990s. They bring their brand of family fun and unique souvenirs to eight or so fairs and festivals per year. “When we were 18 years old and living in Florida, a friend asked us to come up and help during the summer,” April said. “We’ve been doing it…

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Livestock Special Awards Show celebrates 20 years

It’s impossible to talk about the N.C. State Fair Livestock Special Awards Show without talking about longtime participant Mike Smith. Smith started attending livestock shows with his nieces in the 1980s as they exhibited livestock in the youth shows. But as he traveled with his family to livestock events across the state, Smith, who has Down Syndrome, never had the opportunity to participate in a show. He helped behind the scenes by keeping the stalls clean. At the 1996 N.C. State Fair, Smith was given the opportunity to walk a goat through the show ring before the shows started. A…

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Joe Van Gogh wins Battle of the Roasters

Friday the 13th proved lucky for Hillsborough coffee roaster Joe Van Gogh Coffee. That’s the day the roaster placed first and won $100 in the second year of the Battle of the Roasters competition at the N.C. State Fair. The contest is sponsored by Dilworth Coffee. Mello Coffee Roasters of Davidson was named reserve champion and earned $75.  Honorable Mention and $25 went to Larry’s Coffee of Raleigh. The 12 competitors were judged on aroma, flavor, aftertaste, acidity, body, balance and overall quality. Exhibitors provided a written description of their coffee entry. The exhibitors were also responsible for roasted coffee beans…

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Cooper’s miniature Herefords are BIG winners

John Cooper’s wife, Yvonne, was the true spark behind the ribbon-winning herd of miniature Herefords at Spring Trail Ranch in Hillsborough. “My wife saw a story on Fox News in June of 2009,” Cooper said. “We ended up going to Nebraska and bought four heifers and bull the next month. We now have 70 cows.” Miniature Herefords are often more like pets than cows. And, unlike standard cows where the recommended acreage is one acre per head of cattle, miniature cows can be kept two per acre. “Their moo is like how a dog barks and they’ll complain if you…

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The Giant Parthenon Wheel, wristbands and new rides make up the N.C. State Fair Midway

If you had a chance to go to the N.C. State Fair last year, chances are you took a ride on the Giant Parthenon Wheel. According to Mark Janus of Powers Great American Midways, the wheel was the most-ridden ride at the 2016 N.C. State Fair. It returns this year with more LED lights that will make it stand out even more in Kiddieland and features a new LED screen showcasing photos from the fair. “Last year, at 108 feet tall, this was the tallest ride at the fair,” said Janus. “This year, we have set up a new spectacular…

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Strongman John Beatty is a real life super hero

The N.C. State Fair has it’s own version of Superman. Strongman John Beatty can bend steel, flip over cars and lift motorcycles. When he’s not performing at fair, he also helps save lives as a registered nurse at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Ill. As a nurse, he’s been able to bend plates and turn screws implanted in patients. His strength is also useful for moving larger patients in need of care. “We have had several bariatric patients that weight up 500-600 pounds that are difficult for most people to move,” Beatty said. Beatty’s fair shows range from tearing a…

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900 miles of toilet paper and other numbers

150. That’s how many times the N.C. State Fair has been held since 1853. Which means there has been 150 opening days, 150 times there’s been blue-ribbon winners and 150 times that folks have gathered from all over the state in Raleigh to celebrate agriculture and North Carolina. While we were thinking about the significance of 150. We began to think of some other numbers (some of them a little weird) that define the N.C. State Fair.   2,400: Supersized rolls of toilet paper (or 900 miles) 100: Carnival rides 34: Number of year’s Big Smokey has been at the…

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What’s New at the Village of Yesteryear

  Last year the Village of Yesteryear celebrated it’s 65th birthday at the N.C. State Fair.  And, like many of us, the Village of Yesteryear just gets better with age. It’s a great place to shop for unique, one-of-kind gifts for yourself, or Christmas presents, and to learn a little about heritage crafts and their importance. More than 100 working artists will demonstrate their crafts in the Holshouser Building near Heritage Circle. Crafters include potters, quilters, bowl makers, painters and more.  This year the village welcomes five new craftsmen including a wood turner who makes beautiful hollow Christmas ornaments, a…

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