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.

Weekend Update: Aug. 30-Sept. 2

Happy Labor Day Weekend! We hope you have a relaxing weekend planned, and if you’re in Raleigh, come visit the fairgrounds for some exciting events. The Equestrian Exchange Consignment Sale will run through Monday, Sept. 2, in the Holshouser Building. The sale has equestrian tack, saddles, show clothing, barn supplies, horsewear and riding needs. Sale hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday and noon to 6 p.m. Monday. Admission is free. The Tarheel Labor Day Cluster Dog Shows will be in the Graham Building. Each day, American Kennel Club registered dogs from local kennel clubs will compete. The…

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Artist Spotlight: Joe Nichols

Dorton Arena will be a little bit country as Joe Nichols brings his chart topping hits to the N.C. State Fair on Saturday, Oct. 19. Nichols started his career as a musician in the fast lane with back-to-back No. 1 hit singles, “The Impossible” and “Brokenheartsville,” in 2002. Those songs earned the young artist a Grammy nomination and a slew of other awards. In the midst of his insta-success, Nichols remained level-headed, never once forgetting that the music industry is about creating art, not just commercial sales. His raw and authentic talent for creating music has earned him an impressive…

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Weekend Update: Aug. 23-25

Enjoy a weekend of family-friendly activities at the fairgrounds, complete with a horse show, free inflatables and a Body Mind Spirit Expo; it will be something you won’t want to miss. The Triangle Farms Summer Classic horse show will run this weekend in the Hunt Horse Complex. The show is Friday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. The event is an N.C. Hunter Jumper Association C Indoor show, and will feature a majority of competitors from North Carolina. Admission for spectators is free. The Child Evangelism Fellowship of Greater Raleigh is sponsoring the 9th Annual Children’s Good News Spectacular on Saturday in the Graham…

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Artist Spotlight: Francesca Battistelli and Building 429

Francesca Battistelli and Building 429 will help to kick off the opening weekend of the fair with their pop-rock Christian tunes. The acts will perform Friday, Oct. 18. Dove Award winner and Grammy nominee Battistelli seemed destined to be a perfomer. In 2004, at the age of 18, she released an independent album, “Just a Breath.” More success followed, and she signed to Fervent Records to release the chart-topping album, “My Paper Heart.” She recieved her first Grammy Award in 2009 for Best Gospel Performance with a single from the album titled “Free to Be Me.” Batistelli’s third album, “Hundred…

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Artist Spotlight: Sister Hazel

Sister Hazel will kick off the 2013 State Fair concert series on Thursday, Oct. 17. The alternative rock band has been making music since 1993, and is best known for the song “All For You,” which topped the charts in 1997. The band’s music has gotten better with age and grown stronger over time. Their dedication to creating good music with honest lyrics has required a close bond between members, and Sister Hazel is proud of their band family. The tightness of this crew has evolved throughout their career, and they have never stopped short in their Southern pop-rock tunes….

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Weekend Update: August 2-4

The Dixie Gun & Knife Classic will be held in the Graham Building this weekend. Exhibitors will show modern and collectible firearms, custom-made knives, hunting and fishing equipment, ammunition, gun accessories and reloading supplies. Admission is $8 for adults, and free for children 12 and under accompanied by a paying adult. Visit the show’s website for a $1 discount admission coupon. Event hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Come see a great selection of beads and bead-related items from vendors across the country at the Bead Mercantile Show in the Scott Building. Exhibitors…

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Tips from the expert

“If you can grow it, you can show it at the N.C. State Fair.” This motto sums up the State Fair’s horticulture competition, although there are some very specific rules you must follow. April Blazich, N.C. State Fair horticulture superintendent, offers her expertise on how to start growing good vegetables now in hopes of bringing home a prize in October. Categories For first-time exhibitors, it’s important to consider which category to enter. The hot peppers category is a longtime popular choice for exhibitors because peppers are easy to grow in North Carolina. To compensate for the influx of entries, the…

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Ready, Set, Buy! Advance ticket sales open Thursday

Advance tickets for the 2013 N.C. State Fair go on sale Aug. 1 at 10 a.m. Buying early is the best way to save if you want to stretch your dollar as far as you can on admission and ride tickets. And, if you’re looking for a front-row seat to one of the Dorton Arena concerts, you’re definitely going to want to be in front of a computer when tickets go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m. We want your ticket-buying experience to be as smooth as possible, so here are some tips to have a stress-free experience: BE PATIENT! Things…

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Everything’s coming up roses

In Harold White’s garden, everything is coming up roses. White has perfected the art of rose gardening, and he has a slew of blue ribbons to prove it. The Durham gardener, 84, began growing roses as a child and has entered his prize-winning flowers for the past 15 years at the N.C. State Fair. Despite his lifelong experience, winning at the fair hasn’t always been easy. “The first time I exhibited, I won precisely nothing. I had no idea what I was doing,” he said. Bringing home a ribbon takes more than just luck, especially with roses. The rose can…

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Weekend Update: July 26-28

It’s time for another weekend at the fairgrounds, complete with a consignment sale, sportscard show and horse show double-feature. In the Graham Building and Expo Center, the Kids Exchange Consignment Sale will run Friday through Sunday. The sale will offer like-new clothes, toys and other children’s items at discounted prices. Most items will be sold at nearly one-third of their original value. Items will be marked half-price on Sunday. Admission is free and open to the public. Hours are: Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. More than 80 exhibitors will gather in the Scott…

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