Teacup

Hey there! I'm Teacup, otherwise known as Molly. I'm a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill majoring in media & journalism and I'm so excited to work as the public relations intern at the fair this year! I believe there's nothing better than the sense of community the State Fair so effortlessly brings to all its attendees, though the teacup ride and caramel apples come as close runner-ups.

Gaston teen prom dress designer wins first place at the fair

Forget Giovanni and Vera Wang – 18-year old April Moore spent 10 days designing her own dress to sport at the Forestview High School prom in Gastonia. Moore is now a freshman at the University of Florida studying costume design. But just a few months before moving into her dorm room down south, she was stitching the finishing touches on her handmade dress. “I wanted to challenge myself,” she said. “I would say I probably spent about 20 to 30 hours on this dress.” Little did she know that it would go on to win first place in the fancy dress…

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Basnight’s is back with more local seafood

Basnight’s Lone Cedar Café made its fair debut with a bang in 2017 featuring menu items such as jumbo lump crab dip, bacon-wrapped scallops and shrimp and grits. But for Caroline Basnight, the spotlight shines on local fishermen. “We try to use ingredients grown in North Carolina for everything we serve,” Basnight said, “but there’s never been a day we’ve served anything but local seafood. Her parents opened the Nags Head restaurant in 1995, and since her mother came from a background of commercial fishing, there was never a doubt that the family would use local seafood. At Basnight’s fair…

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Science is in motion on this year’s N.C. State Fair rides

Imagine you’re on a fair ride. Do you notice how you pick up speed during slopes on the Fun Slide? What about the decreasing height of the hills on the Mighty Mouse Coaster? Do you feel like you’re being pushed outward on the Merry-Go-Round? Believe it or not, this can all be explained by scientific forces. How does this work? Laura Bottomley, the director of North Carolina State University’s K-12 engineering outreach unit, The Engineering Place, said the same concepts are behind almost every ride you go on at the fair. “It’s momentum, friction and forces in motion,” she said,…

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It’s “farm-to-fair” at Al’s Fries

Al’s French Fries has been around since 1959 as one of the oldest and longest-standing vendors at the fair. Its menu is simple: a heaping portion of hot, delicious french fries with condiments of your choosing. But what you might not expect from this fry stand is that Al’s features locally sourced ingredients straight from North Carolina farmers. For Debbie Anderson, it’s all about honoring her father’s legacy. “We’ve never strayed from what Daddy did,” Anderson said. “We still buy potatoes from Ford’s Produce, we always fry in peanut oil and we still serve Coke products.” Anderson’s father, Al Beckwith,…

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The art of the N.C. State Fair fireworks

David Davis may not consider himself an artist, but he spends his work days matching up colors and using the sky as a muse. Davis is the facility manager at Zambelli Fireworks, a company the State Fair uses each year to put on the nightly firework displays we all know and love. Designers and technicians carefully plan each show to include an artistic use of colors and sound, and the N.C. State Fair is one of their special events. “The fair is different because we do a fake finale where we shoot multiple shells at a rapid pace, let it…

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Comedic duo Rhett & Link bring their N.C. history to the fairgrounds Oct. 12

Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal may shoot their million-hit YouTube videos in Burbank, California, but the comedians got their humble beginnings just an hour’s drive from the N.C. State Fairgrounds. The pair host a whimsical daily morning talk show on YouTube called Good Mythical Morning, or GMM, which has over 14 million subscribers. Their four channels have a whopping 7 billion subscribers total. GMM has featured notable actors such as Daniel Radcliffe and Amy Schumer, other YouTube stars like Colleen Ballinger of the web series Miranda Sings and even popular young adult novelist John Green. Their one-night-only live fair performance,…

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Five things to know about N.C. apples

Thinking about caramel apples already? If you’re wondering about the popularity of the juicy fruit and how North Carolina ranks seventh nationally in apple production, look to Henderson County extension director Terry Kelley for five facts at the core of the craze. There’s competition in the apple world among varieties. The Red Delicious – one of the most popular and easily recognizable apples in the country – is going out of style, according to Kelley. The Gala variety is surpassing it in common use, but at least the Red Delicious still has its pride. The apple industry in North Carolina…

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Growing up in the Village of Yesteryear

Instead of having visions of sugar plums, Emily Fleenor and Sara Gatilogo dreamed of making corn shuck dolls and painting eggshells throughout their childhood. Fleenor and Gatilogo are the granddaughters of Jim Trantham, an instrument maker in the Village of Yesteryear who served as director for many years. At a young age, the kids and their father, Doug, formed a family band using Trantham’s handmade banjos, guitars and ancient instruments such as dulcimers. Their booth in the Village featured these items for sale, along with CDs they had made of their music. When the girls were seven or eight years…

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Conservators are ‘hooked’ on Blackbeard’s pirate ship

This year marks the 300th anniversary of the infamous pirate Blackbeard’s shipwreck and beheading at sea, but conservators at the Queen Anne’s Revenge lab in Greenville are still uncovering preserved artifacts like it was just yesterday. This weekend, the N.C. Museum of History hosts City of Oaks Pirate Fest. Read below about our pirate exhibit at last year’s fair. And check out the Pirates of the Colombian Caribbean near Gate 11 at the Fair this year! At the 150th State Fair in 2017, the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources used the upcoming anniversary to create a traveling exhibit…

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The bear, the myth, the legend: An interview with Smokey Bear

Smokey, how did you become an icon for wildfire prevention? The idea for wildfire prevention started in the spring of 1942 during World War II. People were afraid they would start wildfires, and with so many off fighting the war, there were only a few folks left to battle the fires at home. The idea was to prevent as many wildfires as possible, so the Forest Service started the campaign with posters that read, “Forest Fires Aid the Enemy” and “Our Carelessness, Their Secret Weapon.’’ In 1944, Disney gave them permission to use characters from the film “Bambi” for one…

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