My name is Rebecca, but around here, you can call me Jane Deere. My love for the State Fair and all that it brings - John Deere tractors, the barbecue sundae and Midway lights at night - is what landed me here. After interning in 2013, I'm back with the Deep Fried crew to enjoy the fair for a few days.

Artist Spotlight: Eli Young Band

When Mike Eli and James Young were “living the dream” in college their freshman year, I wonder if they ever envisioned turning those dreams into such a big reality on the country music scene. Whether they thought it would ever happen or not, the pair has gradually built a strong following, touring with country stars such as Miranda Lambert and gaining national attention on CMT and GMT.  All the while, the band continued to focus on songwriting, which paid off with the No. 1 hit, “Crazy Girl,” in 2011 and the 2012 Academy of Country Music Award’s Song of the…

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Weekend Update: Oct. 4-6

With the N.C. State Fair right around the corner, there will not be any outside events happening on the fairgrounds through October. The buildings and grounds are being prepped for the fair, which runs Oct 17-27. This weekend, the N.C. State Fair Horse Shows begin with the Hunter Jumper show. The State Fair Horse Shows are one of the largest all-breed shows in the country, requiring more than 11 days to get all the shows in. The shows are in the Hunt Horse Complex and start daily at 8 a.m. Spectator admission is free. Savings-minded fairgoers can purchase admission and…

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Artist Spotlight: Randy Houser

If you have listened to country music for any time, you’ve probably heard some of Randy Houser’s lyrics or music. Before releasing his own album, Houser made a name for himself as a songwriter. Trace Adkins’ 2005 hit, “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” was co-written by Houser. But with his sights set on becoming a recording artist, Houser kept some songs for himself, and is now known for his recently popular single “How Country Feels.” Being musically gifted wasn’t something that Houser had to work hard for; from a young age, he showed promise for performing and songwriting. His father was a…

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Weekend Update: Sept. 27-29

This weekend features seven special events for dog and horse lovers, cultural enthusiasts and toy collectors. The Southern Ideal Home Show will fill the Graham Building and Expo Center this weekend. The home and garden event will feature hundreds of exhibitors who can answer questions about remodeling, decorating and landscaping projects. Attendees can also shop for home and garden resources. Event hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $9 for adults ages 15 and up and free for children 14 and under. Seniors ages…

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Artist Spotlight: MercyMe

Christian music powerhouse MercyMe will be returning to the N.C.  State Fair on Oct. 25. MercyMe has been a longtime favorite among Christian music fans, but has also gathered widespread mainstream recognition with its 2002 hit “I Can Only Imagine.” The catchy lyrics illustrate what it might be like to finally meet God: “Will I stand in your presence, or to my knees will I fall? Will I sing hallelujah; will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine.” The group was founded in 1994 and signed with a record label in 2001. Since then, MercyMe has…

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Weekend Update: Sept. 20-22

Events at the fairgrounds this weekend will offer fun for the whole family, including your pets. The 32nd Annual Greek Festival will take place this weekend in the Expo Center. The festival will feature authentic food, live music, dance and more to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Event hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for teens ages 13-19 and senior citizens. Children 12 and under are admitted free. Free admission tickets can be found online. More than 125 athletes will…

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Weekend Update: Sept. 13-15

The 56th annual N.C. State Championship Horse Show began Wednesday in the Hunt Horse Complex. The competition is a charity event sponsored by the Raleigh Host Lions Club. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and the show will run through Saturday. Whether you’re a runner, walker or just someone who enjoys an exciting night, the Electric Run is an event you won’t want to miss. Participants will complete the 5k course, which features special lighting effects synced to electronic music. The race will benefit Special Olympics North Carolina. Registration is still open and will be $60 for individuals…

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Artist Spotlight: Dailey & Vincent

I must admit, I’ve never been much of a bluegrass fan, but it’s safe to say that after listening to Dailey & Vincent, I’ve been converted. The band is clearly after more than popular, mainstream recognition; it seeks true artistry and authenticity in its music. Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent founded the group in 2007 and have been entertaining with a unique blend of harmonic vocals and instrumentals ever since. The pair is joined by four other band members to create an authentically bluegrass experience. This band is undoubtedly talented; each member is a gifted musician with a slew of…

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Weekend Update: Sept. 6-8

What do horses, RVs and roller skates have in common this weekend? The N.C. State Fairgrounds, of course. The N.C. State Charity Classic Horse Show will be Friday and Saturday in the Hunt Horse Complex. The event will feature competitors in Saddlebred, Roadster and Morgan classes as part of the Lion’s Club annual fundraiser event. Competitions will be held from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. each day; admission is free for spectators. The North Carolina RV Dealers’ Association presents its RV Sale and Show this weekend in the Graham Building and Expo Center. The show is the largest of its…

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Artist Spotlight: Scotty McCreery

Country superstar and Garner native Scotty McCreery is no stranger to the N.C. State Fair. He played two sold-out concerts during the 2012 fair, and we are lucky to have him performing again this year on Oct. 21 and 22. McCreery’s nationwide popularity started when he burst onto the country music scene after winning “American Idol” in 2011. Perhaps it was his dazzling smile and country-tinged vocals that America fell in love with while watching the show, but I know I was won over by his Southern charm. While on the show, McCreery performed songs by country legends Garth Brooks…

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