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!

Weekend Update: Nov. 29 – Dec. 1

With the holiday shopping season under way, don’t forget to visit the N.C. State Fairgrounds to check things off your list. Read on for more details about the events happening this weekend. A Christmas Carousel Holiday Festival It’s a complete holiday experience for the entire family in the Graham Building Friday to Sunday. The event will feature live holiday music, Santa and cooking demonstrations, as well as original artwork and crafts. Join in the fun Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors…

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Blue Ribbon desserts for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, but there is still time to add a blue-ribbon-winning dessert to the table. “We had hundreds of entries in this year’s cooking contests at the State Fair, and the three listed here all placed first in their competitions,” said Lisa Prince, State Fair cooking contest coordinator. “If you are going to try one of these desserts for a holiday get-together this year, I recommend using fresh ingredients and follow the directions carefully.” More winning recipes can be found on the State Fair’s website under cooking competitions. Peanut Butter Cake ¾ cup butter ½ cup…

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Weekend Update: Nov. 22-24

Variety and excitement abound at the N.C. State Fairgrounds this weekend as the buildings and grounds host events such as the Dixie Gun and Knife Classic, the Southern Horse Festival, the Repticon Reptile and Exotic Animal Show and the Carolina Roller Derby. Also, those wanting to skip the mall and look for more unique holiday gift offerings will find the Raleigh Flea Market open Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Information about this weekend’s events follows: The Southern Horse Festival will be held Friday through Sunday at the Hunt Horse Complex. Events include the Miss Southern Horse…

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Weekend Update: Nov. 15-17

Cars, coins and culture will be plentiful this weekend as the Fairgrounds hosts the Carolina Collector Auto Fest, the Carolina Coin and Stamp Show and the African Festival. Information on this weekend’s shows is listed below: Carolina Collector Auto Fest will be held in Dorton Arena, the Graham Building and on the outside grounds. This event runs Friday through Sunday and features a swap meet with more than 125 vendors, a car corral for buying or selling, and car and truck shows.  Saturday’s car show features pre-1973 vehicles and Sunday’s car show is open to all makes, models and years. …

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Pickles, peanuts and fair traditions

Most fairgoers like their traditions. Some only want the steak sandwich found at that one food booth that they eat at every single year. Others must always start their fair day at the same gate and visit their favorite fair attractions in the same order. One family we know always starts their day at the fair at the grist mill near Heritage Circle, with a hot, free hush puppy. For others, it’s a trip to the Commercial and Education Building for a pickle, a peanut sample and then a bag of peanuts to take home. Since the 1950s, Mt. Olive…

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Church at the Fair

Nestled just outside Heritage Circle is a 156-year-old chapel that the N.C. Campers on Mission ministry uses to meet the needs of fair workers and to evangelize to fairgoers. On Sunday mornings during the fair, they hold worship services at 8:30 and 11 inside the historic chapel. If you want to attend, be on time — the service started promptly at 8:30. Speaking as someone who usually slides in during the first song at my own church’s early service,  I wouldn’t have wanted to be late at a service in this small chapel. The service began with a welcome and…

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Behind the scenes: Judging the Peanut Dessert Contest

Opening day brought the very first special cooking contest, the N.C. Peanut Growers Association Peanut Dessert Contest. As a fan of peanuts and desserts I was up for the challenge when the call came into the press office for a last minute judge. Twenty-six desserts, with a half-cup or more of peanuts included in the ingredients, were entered into the competition. Our team of three judges tried 13 desserts and picked our top three. Another team of three judges tried the other 13 and picked their top three as well. Then we all judged the top six to pick the…

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Behind the scenes: The sweet taste of competition at the State Fair

Judging took place Wednesday afternoon in the honey competition at the fair. Bob Wellemeyer, an apiary inspector for the Virgina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, talked with us about what goes into judging a jar of honey. Honey is judged on moisture content, absence of crystals, cleanliness, flavor, uniformity and container appearance. In fact, honey is disqualified if it’s moisture content is more than 18.6 percent. “High moisture will cause honey to ferment,” said Wellemeyer.  “It will be runny, watery and might have a sour smell.” A refractometer is used to measure the moisture content of the honey. Honey…

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Canstruction is Complete

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, in this case,  imitation serves a greater purpose. The Canstruction team finished building a 10-foot tall and 20-foot wide replica of Dorton Arena in the Exposition Center Lobby. The project, sponsored by GEICO and Harris Teeter, used about 13,000 total food goods, including Jello boxes, canned goods and water bottles in construction. After the fair, the food will be donated to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. The International Association of Fairs and Expos challenged members to collect food for people in need in their communities as part…

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It’s the Giant Pumpkin!

Earlier this morning the giant pumpkin arrived at the Exposition Center for its 11-day reign over the  N.C. State Fair horticultural exhibits. This 799.6-pound pumpkin belongs to  Jack and  Pat Bacheler of Clayton.  Jack planted the pumpkin in June and spent about and hour and a half a day six days a week training the vines to form the root system needed to support a pumpkin of this size. The pumpkin was certified two weeks ago at the Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival in Elkin.  If no other larger pumpkins come in, the Bacheler’s will take home the $300 prize money…

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