Pumpkin

I'm Charlotte Spence, also known as Pumpkin. I'm a UNC-Chapel Hill student, Raleigh native and life long fairgoer. I'm so excited to take part in the researching, writing and planning process of one of my favorite traditions in the Tar Heel state as a summer intern!

Nearly a year after Hurricane Matthew, students thankful for more normal routine to prepare for State Fair

On Oct. 8, 2016, Hurricane Matthew struck North Carolina and left homes, roads, schools and land damaged in its wake. For Gray’s Creek High School FFA students, the storm caused more than just physical harm — they were left questioning if they could show the livestock they spent months preparing for competition at the N.C. State Fair. “We have worked six months nonstop for this, and this is the only chance we have,” Tara King, FFA adviser and agriculture teacher at Gray’s Creek, told the school board in the days leading up to the fair. Despite all Cumberland County schools being temporarily…

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Weekend Update: Preparations underway for N.C. State fair

The calendar turns to October this weekend which means the 2017 N.C. State Fair is just days away. To ensure the safety of workers and others on the grounds in the busy final days of preparation, access to the fairgrounds will be restricted from Friday night, Sept. 29, until 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, when the fair opens. Access to the grounds will be limited to those with special-access passes issued by the State Fair. Employees, vendors, exhibitors and members of the news media are among those who will be allowed with proper credentials. “In recent years, we have seen…

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Country rocks Dorton Arena with Parmalee and OSMR

Parmalee is a country rock band, composed of brothers Matt and Scott Thomas, their cousin Barry Knox and friend Josh McSwain, that originated in Parmele in Martin County. The group was formed in 2001 when the members began practicing every Tuesday and Thursday night in a barn they dubbed “Studio B.” Since then, Parmalee has gone on to produce five albums and has been featured on Billboard, AOL.com and Clear Channel. It wasn’t long before the band members realized they needed to broaden their horizons outside of the barn in Parmele if they wanted to jump-start their music career. After…

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Weekend Update: Sept. 22-24

There are plenty of events happening at the fairgrounds this weekend, so there’s sure to be something for everyone. Mark your calendars: The Southern Ideal Home Show is Friday through Sunday in the Graham Building and Exposition Center. The show will feature hundreds of building, remodeling, kitchen and bath, landscaping, outdoor living and interior design companies. Homeowners can shop and seek expert advice from housing professionals. Hours are Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $10 at the door. Children under age 15…

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Celebrating historian Paul Blankinship’s last State Fair

While 2017 marks the 150th N.C. State Fair, it is also fair historian Paul Blakinship’s 25th and final year educating fairgoers about the event’s history. Blankinship grew up in Brevard in Transylvania County. After graduating high school, he went to college in Florida to pursue a degree in physics. In 1971, he moved to Raleigh to earn a graduate degree in oceanography at N.C. State University, and shortly after he met his wife. They married in 1977. It wasn’t until they settled into their first home that Blankinship developed an interest in the history of the fair. “We bought a house…

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Weekend Update: Sept. 15-17

The Triangle Gujarati Association Navaratri is Friday and Saturday in Dorton Arena. The TGA was created in 1988 to serve the Gujarati community in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. The organization aims to promote and preserve Gujarati Culture. The event is a pre-Navaratri celebration and will feature traditional cultural line dancing from Gujarat, India. Hours are 8 to 11 p.m. both days. Admission is $12 for TGA members and $15 for non-members. The Old North State Antique Gun and Military Collector Show is Saturday and Sunday in the Scott Building. U.S. and foreign military arms, antique guns and memorabilia from…

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Old West meets State Fair with newest building addition in Heritage Circle

Heritage Circle is adding another log cabin to its footprint, reworking the wood from a former stagecoach office from the 1800s into the new Public House. According to Bob Stanfield, the construction manager for the project, the stagecoach office was located in Rockingham County. So, what is a stagecoach office? Stagecoaches are a popular symbol of the Old West. They were carriage-like vehicles pulled by horses or mules, and they were used to transport people, packages, mail and money. Although they originated in England in the early 1600s, stagecoaches did not appear in the United States until the late 1700s. Stagecoaches earned…

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Weekend Update: Sept. 8-10

Opa! It’s one of the tastiest weekends of the year. The popular Greek Festival returns Friday through Sunday in the Graham Building. The event will offer authentic Greek food, a marketplace, live music, dancing and more. A portion of the proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity. Hours are Friday from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults. Admission for ages 13 to 19 and seniors is $2, and children ages 12 and under are admitted for free. Attention bargain shoppers: The J. Crew Fall…

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Weekend Update: Sept. 1-3

The Equestrian Exchange Consignment Sale will run Friday, Sept. 1, through Sunday, Sept. 3, with free admission throughout the weekend. The event is North Carolina’s largest equine-item consignment sale. It gives attendees the opportunity to buy and sell tack, saddles, show clothing, barn supplies, horse wear and other riding gear. Event hours Friday through Sunday are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The sale is in the Holshouser Building. Other events: The Kennel Club Dog Shows are Friday through Monday in the Graham Building. The American Kennel Club registered dogs will compete each day for points that will lead to…

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State Fair concert lineup at Dorton Arena

One of the staples of North Carolina’s culture is our diversity of music — from country to folk to beach — and the 2017 State Fair will give fairgoers ample opportunity to experience it all. With 118 concerts spanning over 11 days, music lovers can top off an afternoon of rides and fried food with the musical styling of their choice. Not to mention, all the performances are free with paid State Fair admission. Dorton Arena will host some of North Carolina’s most popular musical acts each night at 7:30 from Oct. 12-22. The lineup begins with a statewide Battle of the…

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